Alyssa Humphries Stewart, associate professor and director of the Center for Lighting Education, received a prestigious Nuckolls Fund Grant from The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education. She will use the $30,000 grant to fully integrate Building Information Modeling (BIM) software into the Architectural Lighting Design program.
“With the Nuckolls Fund Grant, our students will be exposed to diverse design thinking and meet guest speakers who are renowned industry leaders,” explained Stewart. “At the same time, we will assess and implement changes to have long-lasting effects on our students and curriculum.”
The Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education was founded in 1988 to support university research activities in lighting and design. Each year, colleges and universities submit innovative proposals to apply for one of three Nuckolls Fund grants.
“I wrote the grant proposal during my sabbatical in fall 2023,” Stewart said. “Having the dedicated time to review our program’s needs and craft the proposal made this all possible.”
Industry Shift to Building Information Modeling
Stewart will serve as the principal investigator to integrate a program called “CAD to BIM: The Design Process and Technology Paradigm Shift in Architectural Lighting Design Education & Practice” into the current lighting curriculum.
The proposal is focused on the industry shift in building, design and construction fields from Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) to Building Information Modeling (BIM).
“Many firms have seen this change coming for the last 10 years, and BIM has recently overtaken CAD to become the primary industry software,” said Stewart.
Through in-person and virtual campus visits, Stewart will consult with practicing lighting professionals to revise the curriculum of the Architectural Lighting Design major and minor.
“We believe the shift from CAD to BIM does not occur within one software course but should instead be vertically integrated from the early design process foundation through upper division design studio courses,” said Stewart. “We have an opportunity to innovate and reexamine our programs and overall goals.”
Stewart aims to revise the program to align with the industry’s best practices and ensure students become proficient in the design process to land careers at top design firms.