UW-Stout News Story

Board of Regents approves two new majors in fine arts

April 13, 2012

Two new majors for art and design students attending the University of Wisconsin-Stout were approved Friday by the UW System Board of Regents.

The board, meeting in Superior, unanimously approved UW-Stout offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in industrial design as well as a BFA in interior design. This brings to 44 the number of majors offered at UW-Stout. In February the board approved two BFAs, one in entertainment design and the other in graphic design and interactive media.

The new majors will be available in the fall. They have been offered as concentrations within the School of Art and Design. More than 1,100 students are enrolled in art, design or art history programs.

Officials said moving the concentrations into majors within the school will increase the employability of the students because their educational experience and expertise will be clarified.

“Not enough companies, organizations or employers really comprehend what a concentration means,” said Raymond Hayes, interim dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “They focus on the word ‘art’ and don’t appreciate the depth of education and training that is done in the concentration.”

The four new BFAs, Hayes said, will bring proper public recognition that the students who graduate from the School of Art and Design “are highly educated artists, industrial designers, interior designers, graphic designers or entertainment design professionals.”

Tamara Brantmeier, program director for the current BFA in art and an associate professor of painting and drawing, said enrollment in both majors approved Friday has grown steadily the last decade.

“The field of industrial design encompasses product design, systems and interface design, ergonomics and sustainability, among other contemporary design considerations,” Brantmeier said. “Industrial designers create and develop concepts and designs that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer.”

The interior design program, she said, “encompasses residential and commercial space planning, lighting design, research, construction documentation and sustainable design. Students learn to research and create budgets, materials specifications, contract documents and lighting systems within interior design projects.

“UW-Stout interior design students graduate with an applied understanding of historical and theoretical design considerations, human factors, professional best practices, and presentation-design communications.”

The new majors will be supported by the faculty, facilities and resources of the School of Art and Design within the college.

Hayes said the single BFA in art, with more than 1,000 students, has grown so large that it became hard to administer by a single program director and also hard to market to potential students, which contributed to the plan to bring four new majors to the Board of Regents.

“Each of these new programs will have a program director who will have strong academic and professional backgrounds in the specific fields,” Hayes said. “This will bolster the education of the students in the four programs areas.”

More information is available for the BFA in industrial design at http://www.uwstout.edu/programs/bfaind and for the BFA in interior design at http://www.uwstout.edu/programs/bfaint.

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