Three advanced photography courses discontinued

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Commericial photography professor Scott Vallance helps Computer Science sophomore Philip Taele photograph his model Photography sophomore Lauryn Guerra for upcoming product assignments in the studio March 8. Three photography classes from the photogaphy department will be going away next semester. These classes include portraiture, perceptual design and commercial.
Photo by Renee Talamantes

Journalism electives will expand to include photography courses.

By Elena Longoria

Starting next semester, students will no longer be able to enroll in three advanced photography courses: PHOT 2373, Perceptual Design; PHOT 1372, Portrait Photography; and PHOT 2372, Commercial Photography.

However, students still can take basic photography courses COMM 1318 and 1319, Photography 1 and 2; two photo journalism courses COMM 1316 and COMM 1317, News Photo 1 and 2; and a course in Photoshop, COMM 2324, Practicum in Electronic Media

Photography program Coordinator James “Buzz” McBride said the change comes because the advanced courses no longer transfer to four-year universities.

“The state coordinating board will not fund unique needs courses that do not transfer to a four-year university to satisfy the course work,” he said in an interview March 3. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is in charge of strategies and plans on tuitions and programs for colleges in Texas. 

Universities such as Sam Houston and Texas A&M-Commerce offered these courses in their photography program in the 1980s, McBride said. The universities switched their photography approach to a fine arts program, resulting in these three classes no longer being accepted.

After the board decided not to fund these classes, the college did a three-year teach out of the Associate of Arts, Concentration in Photography, degree, which allowed this college to teach the classes for three more years without state funding. This allowed students to complete that degree.

“You end the program; you don’t just chop it off,” McBride said. The advanced courses allowed students to get more experience at a higher level and were considered specialty courses in the photography program.

Journalism program Coordinator Marianne Odom said the program has proposed expanding the Journalism Field of Study electives for the associate of arts degree to include a sequence of courses for photography students that will transfer as part of a bachelor’s degree in communications.

The College Curriculum Committee has approved the proposal, and it is at the district level.

If the District Curriculum Committee approves the change, the expanded degree option will begin in the fall.

McBride says students who want to take advanced photography courses can go to Austin Community College for a two-year photography program “if they are able to relocate.”

Another alternative is Southwest School of Art, which offers a photography program with community courses similar to the courses that will be dropped here.

For more information, call 210-224-1848 or visit For Austin Community College, call 512-353-2019.

For this college’s photography program, call 210-486-1766.


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