Communication design students will soon be subjected to higher academic standards.
The department will be implementing a portfolio review of each student’s work at the end of the first year, said Timothy Mottet, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. There will be an increased emphasis on internships and a more challenging curriculum. The proposed changes have passed the department and college levels but still await approval from the University Curriculum Committee.
The strain on resources and infrastructure in the School of Art and Design is prompting these changes, Mottet said. There is an ideal number at which to cap communication design students, but Mottet does not yet know what that limit is. There were 780 communication design students in fall 2012, and 725 enrolled currently, according to Institutional Research.
Currently, students’ portfolios are reviewed before they are accepted into the School of Art and Design. Moving the portfolio reviews to the end of freshman year will allow students to better develop their skills in fundamental art classes before being critiqued, Mottet said.
“In some (communication) design programs, you don’t gain admission to the university until you submit a portfolio,” Mottet said. “We have decided we are not going to take that approach because that depends on what kind of a quality high school you went to.”
Mottet said he hopes the changes will “level the playing field” for students who come from less affluent high schools.
Isabel Martinez, communication design senior, said better work will be produced for the portfolio reviews, since all students will now be getting the same art foundations.
Martinez said students who produce stronger portfolios will be noticed and sometimes hired just on the basis of their bodies of work. Business professionals are included in the portfolio review process.
“Looking at a student’s portfolio is like (looking at) a museum,” Martinez said.
Mottet said the curriculum in communication design classes will become more difficult.
Martinez said stricter academic standards are necessary because communication design is a combination of many different job fields, such as advertising and public relations. Other majors are “limiting” when compared to the wide berth of opportunities to which communication design graduates will have access, Martinez said.
“Graphic design exposes you to so many things,” Martinez said. “You can do digital illustrations by hand and merge (them) with typography and layouts. You could do a relief painting of a park or a building. All of that is stuff that graphic design touches on.”
An increased emphasis on internships is another aspect of the updated standards, Mottet said.
Martinez said an internship makes a student much more valuable to a potential employer.
“Taking an internship is like running a marathon instead of just going to the gym,” Martinez said. “These skills complement you very well.”
Ross Conover, communication design junior, said competition between former students exists because many Texas State graduates gravitate toward the Austin area. Well-prepared students who take classes seriously will be ready for whatever competition lies ahead of them.
“The harder they make us work, the better,” Conover said.