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Georgia Southern University

Move creates new synergy in graphic communications program

n a recent administrative change, Georgia Southern University moved its Graphic Communications Management program into the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art. The result is one of the most unique educational programs in the United States, developing graduates who not only produce graphic communications, but also understand”and sometimes participate in”the creative process involved.

‘We are blending art and technology,” said Donald Armel, professor and coordinator of the Graphic Communications Management program. ‘Our goal is to forge a new path for our students, and to create the uniquely qualified workforce that the industry is looking for. Both art and technology students are naturally creative, one in an aesthetic way and the other in a problem-solving, technological way. Working together, both will be better able to advocate for their clients.”

Graphic Communications Management began 35 years ago as part of Georgia Southern’s industrial arts curriculum, then became a printing management degree in the 1980s. Until the recent change, it was part of the College of Science and Technology.

‘In 2004 the degree was changed to Graphic Communications Management to reflect changes in the industry,” said Armel. ‘What we teach here is imaging, which involves far more than simply printing. The industry puts images on every product, right down to the M’s on M&M candy, and our students need to know how to create, use, and apply those images.”

‘There is a natural association between art and technology,” explains Patricia Carter, chair of the Betty Foy Sanders Art Department. ‘The content of the Graphic Communications Management course has a close relationship with Graphic Design and Communication Arts and will fit well into the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.”

Graphic Communications Management program is now in a growth phase, reporting 35 declared majors in the Spring 2007 semester.

‘Moving to the arts area will help us remain visible and growing,” said Armel. ‘Students will be able to find this career path more easily, and they won’t mistake us for an engineering technology program. Getting all of the communications process into one academic area creates a new synergy that will ultimately benefit all communications students.”

The Graphic Communications Management program is in the third year of a 5-year, $250,000 grant provided by Quad/Graphics, the world’s largest privately-held graphic communications company. In addition to providing student scholarships, the grant has purchased equipment and supported expansion of course content into variable data, marketing distribution, and database management.

More information about the Graphic Communications Management program is available on the Web at www.cost.georgiasouthern.edu/sot/gcm or by calling (912) 681-5167.

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