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May 19, 2022

La Roche’s New BFA Programs Address Industry Trends in Art and Design

PITTSBURGH, May 19, 2022 – La Roche University has restructured its graphic and interior design degree programs to offer a professional education that better positions students for career success.

The existing Bachelor of Science programs are now designated as Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programs. The new offerings include a BFA in Interior Architecture & Design, and a BFA in Graphic Design.

“Both the Interior Design and the Graphic Design Departments were able to restructure their programs to offer BFA degrees to their students while maintaining the high standards and quality education that Design at La Roche is known for,” said Design Division Chair Lisa Kamphaus. “We are very excited about this step and look forward to the advancement of the Design Division. 

Revisions to the curriculum for both programs include a credit reduction in required courses for a more streamlined pathway to graduation. New major elective courses also will introduce students to fast-growing specializations.

The BFA in Interior Architecture & Design will offer a major elective focusing on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), as well as a course exploring how real estate and interior design work together.

“Interior Architecture & Design better describes what we actually do. Our Interior Design students need to understand health and safety issues, building codes, sustainability, the long-term impact of material selections, and 2D and 3D software for computer-aided designs. They also need to be aware of human behavior to create functional spaces that are both safe and beautiful,” Ms. Kamphaus said.

“Interior Designers shape how people experience and interact with interior spaces.  The profession blends strong creative and artistic abilities with technical skills,” she added.

The BFA in Graphic Design initially will include learning opportunities in user experience (UX) design and motion graphics.

“We’re constantly evaluating the outcomes of our student work against the demand of the industry. Our new BFA curriculum opened up space for us to focus on particular hot spots within industry growth,” Graphic Design Department Chair Andy Schwanbeck said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of motion graphic artists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2020 to 2030, while employment for digital designers is projected to grow 13 percent, faster than the average for all occupations.

Mr. Schwanbeck said the department also is exploring teaching more analogue techniques, such as screen printing and printmaking.

“Design is at an interesting crossroads of leaning into digital products and experiences while still holding on to certain aesthetics born from handcraft work. Essentially we’re evolving with the industry, while staying true to delivering the great design education that we’ve always provided,” he added.

The Design Division will introduce the new curriculum in Fall 2022. Existing students have the choice to continue their Bachelor of Science program or seamlessly transition to the BFA degree.

“La Roche students earn a very holistic education—one that not only promotes strong design skills, but also educates in process, thinking and professional readiness,” Mr. Schwanbeck said. “The BFA is widely considered as the highest degree achievement in undergraduate design study, so we believe this will be one more element that helps our graduates be recognized for their full potential after graduation.”

La Roche is one of only two universities in the Pittsburgh area, and one of only 322 nationally, to be fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD). NASAD sets guidelines, standards and criteria for design education programs and schools to assure the educational effectiveness and quality of each program.

In addition to NASAD, La Roche has been continuously accredited by the Council of Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) since 1985, giving the University the distinction of achieving and holding CIDA accreditation longer than any other Pittsburgh interior design program.

The La Roche Design Division is dedicated to preparing students for professional practice. By maintaining accreditations, implementing curriculum that balances theory and application while supporting interdisciplinary experiences, the Division focuses on teaching students to create rich interactions that transform human experiences. The Division supports La Roche’s global mission by emphasizing the value and exploration of social and cultural awareness.




About La Roche University: A private liberal arts university in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche University offers 66 undergraduate programs of study, six master’s degrees and one doctoral degree, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, nursing, and health and medical sciences as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential university provides a vibrant campus community for nearly 1,300 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche University embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche University educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.