The seven-year-itch may not be a bad thing for Pacific University’s Media Department.
After being approved by the university almost eight years ago, a “new” graphic design major is once again in the works. This area of study would serve as a replacement for the current integrated media program being offered.
Members from the department, including Professor Michael Geraci, who pioneered the program years ago, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Sarah Phillips, felt it was the right time to engage the idea again. An uptick in media arts students, specifically those in integrated media, helped wishful conversations become reality.
A shift that was evident those seven years ago has become even more prevalent and pressing. Students appear to be more interested in design, graphics and illustration, rather than heavily web-based curriculum featuring multiple coding languages.
Additionally, a small surge of transfer graphic design students from the recently closed Art Institute of Portland was enough to get Pacific to deeply consider the potential major again.
While Pacific is far from the only university to offer such a major, it serves its niche crowd well. Not every student interested in graphic design wants to attend a large school like Oregon State University or Portland State University. Forest Grove’s small town offers new students the opportunity to gain design skills in additon to building close connections with faculty due to smaller class sizes.
The move to graphic design from integrated media opens doors for new students, and should leave current students unscathed. There will be a transitional period of time in which older students within the program will have time to complete their required courses. Like most other large academic changes, this transition could last a couple of years, with the goal set at two.
Graphic design may also serve as a connecting piece between the Art and Media Departments. This major will require courses from both departments and aims to create the best possible program for students interested in this field.
According to Geraci, the new major relies on both sides of the modern creator of today, part technician and part artist. This graphic design program enables students to learn what type of things creatives need in order to be successful.