Saturday, May 25, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
August 14, 2012
MONMOUTH -- Students with an eye for graphic design will find a home at Western Oregon University beginning this fall.
The university has created a new bachelor's degree program for visual communication design that will start in earnest this fall.
The program will include three focused areas of study: graphic design for print media, interactive design for the web, and video and computer animation.
"There are a lot of opportunities out there for students that they won't identify right away" said Diane Tarter, WOU professor of visual communications. "Like they might want to work for Nike, for example.
"But almost every business has a need for a website and there are designers attached to them," Tarter said. "There are more opportunities out there than ever before."
Though parts of the curriculum debuted last fall, the Oregon University System officially approved the major and minor at WOU in March.
Western has hired two faculty members and has been gradually outfitting laboratories in the university's Instructional Technology Center.
"But we had to do a slow roll out because we're still building up our studios and we wanted to know if we could accommodate more students," said Stephen Scheck, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Tarter said there were 35 students taking visual communications courses last year. Forty to 50 students would be a "healthy" enrollment for the program.
"We want to make sure people in the region know the degree is here .... especially for those people who may not be interested in going to a bigger school," Tarter said.
WOU has been working toward offering the design degree major for five years. A catalyst has been the school's international student enrollment.
During former WOU President John Minahan's exchange visits to China, university leaders expressed a strong interest in their students being able to study graphic design.
"That will make it easier for our relationships abroad, where students will be able to start their degrees in China and can finish them here," Scheck said.
For more information: www.wou.edu/las/creativearts/art/vcd.