What Level is Your Design Business?

Maria Viola-Kutruff – Should You be an Adjunct Professor at an University?

Episode 230 of A Well-Designed Business®

My guest today is Maria V. Kutruff, principal of Viola Interior Design, which is located in the Philadelphia area. Over the last 14 years, Maria’s work has ranged from designing custom furniture to designing office spaces to the renovation of entire residences. She is active in the American Society of Interior Designers, having served on its board and received several awards. She received her master’s degree in Interior Architecture and Design from Drexel University, where she currently teaches design at the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. Our focus today is around what it takes to be an adjunct professor, including the pros, the cons, and the nitty gritty. Join us!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Why the curriculum is set up to help design students explore their creativity
  • Our goal in teaching design: to learn about design first and then budget issues
  • Advice to all design students: Take a business class not related to design
  • Why Maria chooses to be an adjunct professor
  • Stay open to new ideas and stay relevant!
  • New things outside your comfort zone
  • The endless possibilities in networking and connection
  • Requirements to be an adjunct professor and the process in acquiring this position
  • How to reach out to colleagues and cultivate a relationship with a university
  • How to prepare your curriculum and how to teach it
  • The time commitment required as an adjunct each week
  • When mature decisions have to be made about balancing a design business and teaching
  • Term-by-term flexibility as an adjunct
  • Build up your credibility as a new adjunct
  • The possibility that exists in having a full-fledged design career along with a corollary career as an adjunct
  • Get to know people and bring value to them


Drexel University Interior Design Program: http://drexel.edu/westphal/academics/undergraduate/INTR/   Maria’s website: http://violainteriordesign.com   Email Maria: maria@violainteriordesign.com

What Level is Your Design Business?