Graphic arts changing name to keep up with the times

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Illustration design track replaces game design training.

By Natalie Olivares

The visual arts and technology department’s graphic arts program has acquired a new name — digital design. 

The name was changed in the fall “to keep up in relation to the industry,” Chair Richard Arredondo said.

Once a year a professional advisory committee, a group of professionals from local industries related to the visual arts and technology fields, meets to discuss issues related to budget, funding, hardware and software, curriculum and student development, he said. 

The committee, which also includes department faculty, concluded that a digital design program would better encompass Web design, animation and graphic design, whereas graphic design was more related to print media or printmaking. 

Three tracks that fell under the graphic design program also received new names — print graphics changed to graphic design, interactive graphics to Web design and sequential graphics to animation design.

Local universities are also revamping the names of their visual arts programs, such as the University of Texas at San Antonio and Trinity University, which are using new media to describe their degree plans, he said.

According to the College Art Association, an organization that supports artists and scholars, digital media seems to be the new standardized title for many degree plans and job titles. 

“We are adhering to the standards of the industry,” Arredondo said.

The committee unanimously approved another change to the department in November, the deletion of the fourth track, game design, which will be replaced with a new illustration design track in the fall. 

The resignation of graphic arts Professor Matt Fulmer last summer influenced this decision.   

Fulmer was the driving force behind setting up the game design program that was set to launch fall 2007.

Professor Liu Qing said Fulmer had been very passionate about setting up game design for San Antonio College but had to leave for personal reasons. 

The committee decided that finding a replacement for his position would be difficult “due to the inability to compete with salaries in the field,” according to the official minutes from the Nov. 7 meeting. 

Also, the local market does not yield many opportunities for hiring game design students because there are not many related businesses in the area.

This college is geared toward preparing students for the local workforce. 

Thus the decision was made to move toward an illustration design program, which would incorporate drawing, print, Web and animation, Arredondo said. 

Some of the benefits of an illustration program would be “more diverse portfolios and enhancement of students’ conceptual thinking skills and technical coordination,” according to the minutes. 

Students, will be marketable with a well-rounded experience in traditional and new media and more likely to find an entry-level job in the local market, he said. 

Professor Joel Knocke said completion of the 70-hour digital design degree plan will earn students an Associate of Applied Science degree. 

One-year certificates are also offered in multimedia and production design. 

Computer information systems offers a one-year certificate in game programming geared toward programming, not visual art and design.

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