The Department of Interior Architecture and Design is a learning community of caring individuals committed to furthering students’ education and the role of design in the world. That mission is a complex one and depends on smooth internal functions so that its prospective and current students experience a supportive environment that prepares them for the rigors of practice. Central to that function’s success is instructor, administrator and student advisor Amy O’Keefe, whose keen time and project management skills are brought to bear on so many of the Department’s activities.
In her role as student advisor, Ms. O’Keefe oversees critically important outreach to prospective students as well as the advisement of current students, helping ensure that students graduate on time with the courses they require. As Technology Coordinator, she also confirms that the Department’s computer and digital teaching resources are in working order so that scanning, printing, presentations and other functions go smoothly. The Department also has Ms. O’Keefe to thank for the scheduling of courses each semester, a complex task that juggles timing, course requirements, faculty availability and student time needs. It is not an overstatement that behind each faculty member and student in the Department, Ms. O’Keefe’s efforts have lent a supportive hand in their success.
With this full complement of vital Department responsibilities, one would think that would be the extent of someone’s activities. However, Ms. O’Keefe also brings a world of knowledge and expertise to her significant teaching contribution within the Department. Passionate about sustainability and residential design, Ms. O’Keefe is a Certified Aging in Place specialist with knowledge central to the built environment needs of seniors—an important topic given the dramatic increase in aging individuals that is marking United States demographics. As Amy O’Keefe describes,
One very important aspect of aging-in-place is that this type of design is focused on the accessibility of the space based on the needs of the individual. It is important to have skills that are based in universal design and accessibility initiatives, but aging-in-place design is not a “one size fits all approach.” It is never too early to start the conversation with your client about aging-in-place. Whether the client is building new construction or remodeling an existing house, steps can be taken to assist the client with installation of aging-in-place specifications before they are needed.
She leverages this knowledge in her supervision of the Studio II required course for IAD students, and also course electives in residential design and universal design, important and highly relevant topics that students’ portfolios can highlight to secure design employment. What’s more, she oversees the instruction of Design Foundations II, one of three required courses that first year students take as they enter the Department.
Amy O’Keefe’s professional experience as an interior design practitioner and participant in marketing, advertising and retail management shapes the effective and practical guidance she imparts to students. Her life passions include playing golf and spending time with her husband, family, and friends. In her goal to create a well-rounded lifestyle every day, she also loves all things related to Florida State and seeks to spend time at sporting events, college festivities, music performances, and arts events. She notes the team effort that goes into the smooth administration of the Department:
I am fortunate to work with talented people not only on the faculty but also staff colleagues, including Rebecca Cowart and Jordan Evans in the College of Fine Arts Advising Office. Also, I have worked with very skilled student technology coordinators in the past and present including Gabrielle Napoli. I cannot forget the strengths of our skilled and talented Teaching Assistants, who I work with to engage our students. I must also include our newest team member, Jeremy Cope. As our administrator, he helps make not only my job easier but also makes it more efficient for all of us in the department.
The many hats Amy O’Keefe wears is a testament to her versatility and broad range of experiences she brings to the Department and classroom. We are grateful for her presence, support and commitment.