Tara McCrackin, NCIDQ, IIDA was named Interim President of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) in July 2019. In the spring of 2021, she accepted the position of President. She concurrently holds the office of Vice President of Ferris State University. President McCrackin started her design career in 1997, working in corporate office interiors. She has had the pleasure of designing spaces for Steelcase, Inc., and was the lead designer on the initial WorkSpring in Chicago, Ill., a co-working space incorporating state-of-the-art technologies and focusing on hospitality in the corporate environment. Pursuing her passion for sustainability, President McCrackin had the pleasure of working on the Rackspace Headquarters space in San Antonio, Texas, which was awarded a LEED Gold certification. Most recently, she worked on the interior for the Kids’ Food Basket building in Grand Rapids.
President McCrackin began teaching in the Interior Design program at KCAD in 2002 and has served as a program advisor and as the program chair. She has been integral in developing articulation agreements for the KCAD Interior Design program with Grand Rapids Community College and Ivy Tech Community College. She served on the Advisory Board for the Interior Design program at Grand Rapids Community College between 2016-2019.
President McCrackin has been active as a board member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Michigan Chapter, most recently as the Michigan Chapter President between 2017-2019. She has demonstrated her commitment to furthering the recognition of the profession of Interior Design by being an active member of the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Champion program. She has served as both a Course Reviewer and Course Auditor for the Interior Design Continuing Education Council, Inc. (IDCEC), one of ten in North America.
President McCrackin currently serves on the ArtPrize Steering Committee. She brings a creative leadership voice to that group. She has also served on the Mel Trotter Art and Experience planning committee. She is a member of the Jim Crow Museum expansion project cabinet. Tara is also a member of the Leadership Grand Rapids 2022 cohort and a 2022 Athena Finalist.
President McCrackin received the 2023 Michigan ACE Network's Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award as well as the 2023 Helen Gillespie Ferris Distinguished Woman Leader Award for her commitment to supporting and amplifying the work of women in higher education. These prestigious honors underscore her dedication to being an advocate for women and a leader for change, beyond the conventional scope of her responsibilities.
President McCrackin holds a B.A. in Art Education from Western Michigan University, B.F.A. in Interior Design from Kendall College of Art and Design, and a M.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education from Grand Valley State University.