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Home » News » FSU Interior Architecture and Design Announces Jim Dawkins as New Chair

FSU Interior Architecture and Design Announces Jim Dawkins as New Chair

Published January 11, 2023

Jim Dawkins, wearing a grey suit jacket, poses for a photo. Florida State University’s College of Fine Arts and the Department of Interior Architecture and Design are excited to announce that associate professor Jim Dawkins will assume the role of department chair at the start of the Spring 2023 semester.

Dawkins is a familiar face in the department, having served as a faculty member for 13 years, and as associate chair since January 2020.

He holds a Master’s in Architecture from Clemson University in his native South Carolina, and prior to his time at FSU he worked as an interior designer and architect in Atlanta, Georgia and Vail, Colorado.

Jill Pable, Ph. D., who Dawkins succeeds as chair, will continue in her role as a professor with the department and focus on her research related to homeless shelter design and built environments for those experiencing trauma.

Q&A with Jim Dawkins

Do you have any goals or plans as chair?

My two major goals are 1) faculty fulfilment— I want to see our faculty members look more broadly and deeply at their careers as educators— and 2) for our students, a focus on self-actualization as discussed in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or their own interpretation of that measure when it comes to their full potential .

I want students in our program to be more aware of the many opportunities available to them, and to take full advantage of their time in the program. Coming out of COVID and its uncertainty, I hope that we can all find true joy in being around each other and supporting each other.

What have been some highlights of your career, as an architect and a professor?

I have been able to do a lot of very fun and creative things in my career. The hospitality industry was very kind to me. I really enjoyed working in large hotels and, of course, being able to work and live in Vail, Colorado for nine years. That was a design context unlike any other in our country.

But for me, the best thing has been being able to work, everywhere I’ve worked, with really great people.

And here at FSU, I really enjoy getting to work with a new group of students each year— in other professional settings, you might work with the same team members on a single project for years. Here, it’s an exciting new ‘project’ and new ‘personnel’ every 15 weeks.

You describe your research area as “thinking through drawing.” Could you talk a little bit about that?

I have been doodling in the margins of my papers since I was in the third grade. Sketching allows me to think more clearly and to process information more effectively. To me, it’s an important part of design thinking.

If I’m drawing, I’m thinking and if I’m thinking, I’m drawing. One does not exist without the other.

Are you working on any publications or other projects?

Right now, my main focus is on my role as chair. I feel that my job is to support my colleagues in the amazing work that they’re doing.

But I’m also hoping to pursue a combination sketchbook/workbook on the root components of design. I envision a book that would help guide our first year students by outlining the basic elements and principles of design such as line, shape, form, texture, pattern, and color, and inspiring them to find those elements in their various environments.

Throwback: Check out this 2010 video featuring Dawkins and his sketches.

This semester, Dawkins will be teaching Design Fundamentals 1, one of the very first classes that design students take in the program. This is his first time teaching first year students, and he is excited to be part of the ‘front end’ of the program.

FSU’s Interior Architecture and Design program ranks as a top 10 program in the nation for its Bachelor of Science program as well as being one of the most admired graduate programs among its peers. Learn more at