Businesses have been important in the education of our students — from hospitals and clinics providing externships for healthcare students to restaurants serving as apprenticeship sites for our Culinary students. Collaborating with industry professionals in their work environment provides a unique setting for lifelong learning.
For example, award-winning instructor Jan Britt has partnered with Decorating Mart for nearly a decade to enhance her students’ educational experience. This collaboration allows students to put their learning into action.
Jan praised Decorating Mart owners Myron and Laura Lee Dwoskin for their longtime support. She said, “They have gone over and beyond to make sure my classes have a place to come learn about decorating and fabric. We come into their store after hours. Our class has the whole store to ourselves.”
Myron adds, “By having classes at our store, they are exposed to all types of decorating ideas, from different uses of fabric to accessorizing to the use of wallpaper. With Jan’s experience, they are able to put these ideas into reality.”
The Dwoskins have been in business since 1974 when they started a wallpaper chain. The first Decorating Mart opened in 1991 and they sold the wallpaper chain in 1992. The Dwoskins met Jan some 20 years ago when they were her clients. Students in her Decorating and Design for the Home: The Basics and Beyond the Basics classes take part in the in-store experience.
Just like fashion, decorating styles evolve. Decorating Mart has played an instrumental role in Jan’s hands-on teaching style.
“[They are] known for keeping up to date with the current decorative items like fabric, wallpaper, furniture, lamps, pictures and so much more,” Jan said. “As I teach, I must have my personal decorating knowledge current. I also have to show up-to-date decorating items to my students as I teach.”
The feedback from students over the years about the Decorating Mart experience has been so positive that it will continue to be a part of Jan’s courses for the long run. In addition to its close proximity to KSU Center, Jan feels it creates a more relaxed atmosphere than the classroom setting.
“This field trip brings decorating to life. People need to see things for themselves to comprehend decorating concepts even better. You can see the students eagerly learning and comprehending what I am teaching with very happy body language,” Jan said. “Some of the students say having the hands-on experience and learning on-site was a highlight for them for the class.”
Collaborating with CCPE is also gratifying for Myron, as well as the home interior experience: “I enjoy selling emotions. After redecorating, or just fixing up your home, you feel just great and proud of the look it has produced.”