As Texas State emerges as a research university and enters a new athletic conference, other departments are looking to expand and vamp up their programs. Tom Berno, associate director of the school of art and design, said his is doing just that.
Tom Berno talked to The University Star about the new changes and programs.
PL: So, what’s new for the art department?
TB: The biggest news is the fact that the communication design program is starting to implement an enrollment management/portfolio review. We want to get our number of majors from 700 to 400. The amount of students in that major is stretching our resources, and not allowing us to get some different things going.
This might seem daunting to some of our students, but it’ll help them in the long run. The large amount of communication design students we graduate is too much for the field. This way, students won’t be competing against each other for jobs after graduation. Plus we’ll see some really talented design students get into creative and innovative careers.
PL: Any new types of exhibitions?
TB: Our galleries are oriented to student exhibitions, mainly studio art and photography students. We’ve actually been getting more people from outside San Marcos for events like our gallery talks and we’re trying to grow that. There are definitely more significant things happening with our galleries than the past years.
PL: What should we be looking forward to seeing?
TB: Again we’ve got some really interesting things going on. You may recall the Grafik Intervention project last year, where students projected text and graphics on old historic buildings and got the San Marcos community involved. We want to do more things like that—get the community involved.
PL: What are you most excited for?
TB: We’ve had a lot of new changes to our program and have looked into revamping the curriculum. One thing I’m excited about is the possibility of an art history major. We’ve never had (an) official bachelor’s of art history, just an emphasis. We have dynamic faculty that believe we have the resources to make this happen. I’m not sure if it’ll be presented this semester, but it will be very soon.
PL: Are any new programs or courses being introduced this semester?
TB: We always have faculty introducing new topics. Our newest course, a portfolio development class, is intended for seniors. They learn fundamental job search skills, how to build a good portfolio and work on projects. It’s great because we can look at their body of work and address their strengths and weaknesses. Because of the better enrollment management, we’ve been able to offer three sections for this class this semester.
We’re continuing to put out the best program for our students. We’re really trying to see how the art department can fit into an emerging research institution. We want people to say that we have a great program, even on a national level.