The art program is building a new, specialized program that lead to major changes and potential staffing changes. Rather than a general art degree with a specific emphasis, the program now features three individualized majors.
Graphic arts and digital design, fine arts and crafts and art history are now offered to students.
Michael Benson, assistant professor of music and department of music and visual arts chair, said the more concentrated majors permit students to gain more exact knowledge in an area rather than a general collection of art knowledge. The specialized instruction opens new career doors for life beyond graduation.
Take the graphic arts and digital design major, for example. This major, according to Benson, attracts more students interested in photography. The classes offer increased instruction on editing and different elements of the Adobe suite. With more editing skills, graduates will be more prepared to enter the workforce.
Elizabeth Maholic, sophomore digital art and media design and business major, is one student excited for the new photography options.
“We have more outlets we can explore, and there’s more job applications we can [pursue]. For the digital media, you have more outlets you can use for illustrating. You can do marketing,” Maholic said.
Maholic said she is excited to learn more about editing and design software in the new classes, and she thinks this will benefit her as a photographer.
The instructional changes also require some staffing changes. The search is currently underway to hire a new graphic design professor. Two candidates are the finalists for the position, and both hold terminal degrees, meaning they hold a graduate degree.
“It encourages me that we are focusing on the art [program] again because we used to have three full time people and now we only have one. I’m encouraged by [Malone] putting the money into hiring somebody to lead the [program],” Li Hertzi, full time artist in residence, said.
Hertzi remains unsure of her future with Malone, but she wants to see the art department succeed above all else.
“Hopefully this new person will help us become more prominent in the University,” Hertzi said.
Hertzi said the new staff member will bring graphic design experience that will benefit students in the art program moving forward.
Cathy Weyand is a staff writer for The Aviso