Most private institutions do not repeat courses each semester.
Practically every state school repeats introductory level
courses each term. This practice is inefficient, costly and
creates additional problems for students in sequencing their
classes. Graphic Design teachers should insist on restricting
entry level classes to Fall semester only. This permits new
courses without additional funds, space or staff.
entry to Fall semester encourages students to stay in sequence
because to drop out for a semester means that they have to
wait an entire year to get back into sequence. The result
is that students tend to stay together as a group throughout
the program. My experience has been that students moving through
the program as a group are more secure, productive, competitive
and the learning environment is vastly improved. Students
that stay together know each other and the interaction leads
to more learning from one another.
very few Graphic Design programs in both public and private
institutions accept majors in the first year. Because first
year foundations programs are so weak at most institutions,
Graphic Design must teach foundations within their own program
reducing the number of professional courses that can be taught
within the time frame between entry and graduation. Taking
students in the first year provides Graphic Design students
a much improved educational opportunity to prepare for a career
within the four years. Teaching Graphic Design basic courses
in the first year allows faculty to establish discipline,
pertinent content, build good work habits and reinforce student
commitment. Under the present practice of requiring a first
year general foundations, Graphic Design faculty usually have
to devote time to helping students unlearn bad habits and
values; and reshaping student attitudes during the first year
of the Graphic Design program.
best institutional scheduling that I encountered was at the
Kansas City Art Institute. All studio courses throughout the
school were scheduled from 8 Ð 11 AM and 2 Ð 5 PM. All academics
were taught five days a week between 11 AM and 2 PM. On Thursdays,
all students left their department to take a one day elective
course. I found this scheduling to work extremely well.
Perhaps the most difficult and demanding procedure in the
program was student grading, which was done by review. At
the end of each semester we held individual student reviews
with the entire faculty present. Each student was given a
space to exhibit their work and fifteen to thirty minutes
to discuss it with faculty members. At the conclusion of the
review, the student received their grade.
students felt the grade unfair, faculty went over the work
piece by piece and explained the basis for the grade. Time
was also spent counseling students and making suggestions
on how work or work habits could be improved. Without a doubt,
the review process for establishing grades was extremely fair
and beneficial for students. (The review process is described
in detail in Students and Teachers: Attitudes, Evaluation
of Space and Technical Facilities
Having sufficient dedicated space and how it is used is germane
to an effective Graphic Design educational program. Problems
connected with the amount of space dedicated to Graphic Design
are most common to state university programs which have a
liberal arts focus. Within the liberal arts context, most
instructional space is multipurpose shared by several disciplines.
Rarely are students in these institutions provided with dedicated
work space. In my experience, it is essential that Seniors
have a workstation that is accessible to them twenty-four
hours a day and seven days a week. There are considerable
advantages if Juniors can have the same arrangement. Fixed
space is not that important for Sophomores.
are tangible benefits if the space allocated to Graphic Design
is contiguous. The principal advantage is that students at
one level can see and learn from what students at other levels
so in state universities, not only is most space multipurpose,
but it is scattered around campus which tends to destroy unity
of the Graphic Design educational program. Additionally, the
quality of available space is frequently inferior as universities
are prone to assign space to art programs that no other departments
will use. Art Departments are often the last occupants of
buildings before they are condemned or torn down.
most large universities, students often feel like transients
as the classes are scattered over a large area in many different
buildings with unfamiliar classmates in most courses outside
of Graphic Design. Dedicated space and fixed workstations
create a home base which give students a feeling of security
and belonging. As such, students tend to be more comfortable
and productive. How much space and how it is used impacts
strongly on the quality of student educational experience.
experience with fixed workspace clearly reveals that it has
much to do with student work habits. Students with dedicated
work space devote much greater time to class work than those
without. Additionally, the educational experience is enhanced
by the interaction of students using a dedicated space. It
is also necessary that students have access on an extended
basis to technical workshops essential to meeting course requirements.
Somewhat related to this is the need for a place to keep the
various tools and materials required for classes. A locker
is not comparable to a fixed workstation in this respect.
we had extensive photo and printing facilities, our experience
was that if students maintained the facilities rather than
janitors, we had better working conditions and less theft.
At both Minneapolis and Kansas City, when it was clear that
faculty members were leaving, thefts increased dramatically.
This included large equipment. At Minneapolis someone stole
an enlarger and at Kansas City it was dry mount press, lenses,
cleaned our technical workshops twice a week; once by Sophomores
and Juniors and the other by Seniors. Students divided into
those who emptied trash, those who checked and oiled equipment
and those who scrubbed the floors. It worked very well.
since the 1950s when Graphic Design was identified as something
more than illustration and advertising, there have been requirements
related to technical workshops. Graphic Design at all types
of educational institutions have experienced difficulties
being funded adequately in respect to equipment, maintenance
and updating of technical facilities or operating supplies.
Again, the problems have been greater at state universities
and other schools with a liberal arts focus. The tendency
at these institutions has been to provide only centralized
technical facilities. It is absolutely essential that Graphic
Design have some dedicated technical facilities restricted
to the sole use of Graphic Design students. Having central
labs is helpful for periods of heavy use such as the end of
semesters or problem deadlines, but by itself, central labs
are unsatisfactory. Central labs serving a variety of disciplines
must compromise in terms of what equipment and how it is used.
Each discipline has specialized requirements. This factor
is even more important today with the use of computers in