The Graphic Communications Program, also known as GRFX, encourages the students to not only learn how to screen print, but to also strive for success in ventures that relate to the industry.
Kristin Pilon an instructor and head of the Graphic Communications Program, said the program includes two parts: screen printing—the art of laying down ink, using polyester screens, on different mediums such as textiles—and digital imaging.
Pilon works closely with David Cuatt, an assistant professor who teaches Photoshop and Adobe InDesign to students. According to Cuatt, an example of collaboration between screen printing and digital imaging is the display case in front of V106 that features self-portraits of past students.
“[Digital imaging] helps to get what you want to screen printing,” Cuatt said. “It really helps if screen printing students take digital classes.”
Pilon also helps students learn the business aspect of the screen printing industry.
“A lot of students come in here to print [textiles]. They want to start designing their own line of t-shirts and so they come in here to take our textiles classes and learn about that,” said Pilon.
The program focuses on preparing students to work in the real world.
“Students learn job getting skills that can be applied in the screen printing industry,” said Erika Ruvell, an adjunct faculty instructor in the program. “There are a variety of materials the students learn to print on and this program also teaches them occupational skills.”
According to Pilon, students in the program have a chance to learn more about the business aspect of the industry when the program does jobs for local businesses.
“We are going to be doing a job in the fall for a food drive,” she said. “We print some things every year for the Brewery Arts Association. We print a lot of jobs for campus groups. It’s kind of like live jobs where it really matters that things look good so they can’t get fingerprints all over the t-shirts and the artwork has to be well printed and designed. They have to work with the customer to make sure everything is being done right so it’s an introduction on how to run a business.”
Starting in the fall of 2015, the Graphic Communications Program will be offering five certificates. The state is encouraging the program to move students along as quickly as possibly through the program, Pilon said.
“We are going to teach essential things and teach them more densely,” Cuatt said. “We are going to encourage the students to hit it really hard. We want to be sure people are focused and have job skills in mind and employment.”
However, according to John Miner, an adjunct faculty instructor, the changes that will be made to the program will have positive and negative consequences for the students.
“They will get a certificate quicker, which is the positive, but in the long run they’re going to receive a lot less training so I guess they’ll have to make up for that on their own,” said Miner. “We’ll keep going as much as we can, offer as many classes, take on as many students as possible and put people out there in the community to get jobs, start businesses, and better themselves and society.”
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