UW-Stout News Story

Board of Regents approves two new majors in fine arts

February 10, 2012

Students attending the University of Wisconsin-Stout will have two more majors to choose from this fall following action Friday by the UW System Board of Regents.

The board, meeting in Madison, unanimously approved UW-Stout offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in entertainment design, as well as a BFA in graphic design and interactive media. This brings to 42 the number of majors offered at UW-Stout. In April, the university plans to ask the board for new BFAs in industrial design and interior design.

Raymond Hayes, interim dean of the College of Art, Humanities and the Social Sciences, said UW-Stout has offered concentrations in the four areas under the heading of BFA in art but saw the need to elevate those concentrations to majors.

“Too few companies, institutions and potential employers truly understand the real meaning of a concentration and tend to only see the word ‘art’ and undervalue the intense education and training within the concentration,” Hayes said. “These new standalone programs will reflect, on both the diploma and the transcript, that these students 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 projections indicate demand for graduates in both majors will grow. The need for entertainment designers — multimedia designers, animators and digital cinematographers — is projected to increase 14 percent to 29 percent through 2018, she said, and the demand for graphic designers is expected to grow 13 percent.

“Entertainment design is an ever-changing and expanding field and it is important to grow and adapt along with it,” she said. “UW-Stout’s new BFA in graphic design and interactive media will provide students with the skills to compete in this innovative field.”

The entertainment design degree will have three concentrations: animation, comics and sequential art, and digital cinema. Students in the graphic design and interactive media program can choose between concentrations in design and interactive media.

Both 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 has become difficult to market, recruit, advise and administer by a single program director,” and that contributed to the need to bring four new majors to the Board of Regents.

“Having program directors assigned to each of these new programs, professionals with strong academic and professional backgrounds in those specific fields, will enhance the preparation of each student within those individual areas,” Hayes added.

Brantmeier emphasized that the new majors were developed “after many conversations” between the existing faculty, professional advisory board members and the Program Advisory Committee.

“Graphic design firms are growing their interactive, motion graphics, Web and application design services, and the BFA in graphic design and interactive media will prepare our graduates with the skills to compete for these positions,” she said. “The field of entertainment design encompasses many disciplines and can be referred to by many other names: digital art, concept art, animation, graphic arts, 2D/3D modeling and interactive design.”

The new majors will be available in the fall. More information is available at http://www.uwstout.edu/programs/bfaed for entertainment design and http://www.uwstout.edu/programs/bfagdim for graphic design and interactive media.

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