Management Leading Programs page 10


Graphic Design and Fine Arts
Graphic Design and Fine Arts programs co-exist as departments or disciplines within the school or college, and invariably, they impact on one another. Within a historical context, Fine Art programs were the first to be introduced into universities, and they were the dominant program at most regional art schools.

During the past twenty years, Graphic Design students have equaled or outnumbered Fine Art students. However, Fine Art faculty and concerns are frequently the dominant influence in shaping graduation requirements and operational policies in visual art programs. This is particularly so at state universities.

Graphic Design seldom has program staffing comparable to that assigned to Fine Arts. The number of one to three faculty members assigned to Graphic Design at state universities is testimony to this factor. The same has been true with allocation of studio space, especially that which is dedicated exclusively to Graphic Design. Because of less faculty, the influence of Graphic Design in shaping curriculum and graduation requirements for its students has been severely limited. Even today in universities, Graphic Design students are required to take numerous Fine Art courses and credits in the major are less than required for professional education. The first year general foundations program is completely dominated by Fine Arts.

Since the period of student activism during the late 1960s, Fine Arts and Graphic Design educational practices and goals have been in a state of growing divergence. Fine Arts has moved toward expression and the making of art rather than instruction in visual art with a corresponding breakdown of studio disciplines. Graphic Design has moved toward professional education and increasing emphasis on pedagogy and technical education. As a consequence, many Graphic Design programs now incorporate a number of courses that traditionally they relied on Fine Arts to teach. Drawing is perhaps the most notable of these courses.

Because of the shift of student population from Fine Art to Graphic Design, there is considerable insecurity among Fine Art faculty members that if Fine Art courses do not remain required for Graphic Design students, there will be a shift of faculty lines from Fine Arts to Graphic Design with a decline in the influence of Fine Arts in shaping policies and requirements for graduation.

Fine Arts engenders an enormous amount of personal ego which makes cooperative effort between divergent programs difficult. It also is often expressed as contempt for Graphic Design as being commercial while Fine Arts are directed toward a more noble pursuit of art for its own sake.

Against this background, Graphic Design programs have struggled for years with varying degrees of success. My strategy was to identify Fine Art faculty members that I could respect and made a special effort to cultivate a relationship with them. I would discuss our needs with them socially, and encourage them in matters that were beneficial for students and Fine Arts. For instance, a young drawing teacher who emphasized fundamentals. When important department, curriculum, tenure or other such meetings were scheduled, I would consult with these individuals before hand to make as strong a case as possible for those things I felt to be essential for Graphic Design.


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