KCAD Announces Program Developments in Response to Evolving Student, Industry Needs

Posted August 31, 2017 in Interior Design, Digital Art and Design

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) has announced three significant program developments aimed at providing students with expanded opportunities and further connecting their learning experiences to evolving industries. The changes will be rolled out with the start of the fall 2017 semester.

“These changes reflect KCAD’s commitment to ensuring that our students receive the highest quality education and emerge prepared to embark on successful and impactful careers,” said KCAD President Leslie Bellavance.

KCAD’s new model for general education, Pathways, gives students the freedom to pursue general education courses that spark their curiosity and stimulate their creativity. With Pathways, five foundational courses—Writing, Intro to Narrative Studies, Intro to Cultural Studies, Intro to Philosophy, and a math or science elective—will set the stage for students to enter one of three focus areas, or pathways, that pique their interest. 

General Education Pathways graphic

Each of the three pathways—Narrative Studies, Cultural Studies, and Philosophical Studies—culminates in a capstone course that encourages students to make powerful connections between all that they’ve learned and experienced along the way.

“The Pathways model is based on the understanding that the most successful art and design professionals are those who stay broadly and endlessly interested in the world around them,” said Associate Professor and General Education Program Chair Dr. Adam Schuitema. “The most important thing is that students become critical and analytical thinkers who can both adapt to change and keep exploring creative possibilities going forward.”

This fall, KCAD will also be launching a new BFA in Digital Art and Design. An evolution of the former Digital Media program, Digital Art and Design provides immersive learning experiences across a wide range of digital media in two focus areas, Entertainment Arts and Multimedia Design, preparing students to pursue a wide variety of career opportunities.

Digital Art and Design student working

The first half of the program’s curriculum blends these two focus areas together, broadly exploring the intersection of graphic design, interaction design, animation, illustration, digital 3D, and sound design. The second half gives students the opportunity to delve deeply into the area that best aligns with their skills and interests.

The Entertainment Arts focus area is built on a drawing foundation, and incorporates courses such as Digital Character Drawing and 2D Character Design. The Multimedia Design focus area is based on a graphic design foundation, and features courses in 3D Motion Design and Interaction Design, among others. Each focus area culminates in two Professional Studio courses where students work collaboratively with each other as well as with outside organizations in real-world learning experiences that mirror industry realities.  

“The strength of this program is its malleability. It’s designed to allow students to shape their own learning so that they emerge with a clear career focus and a corresponding skill set,” said Assistant Professor and Digital Art and Design Program Chair Brad Yarhouse. “We want our students to graduate with a powerful understanding of industry-standard tools, processes, and workflows so that they can adapt to the ever-shifting media landscape.”

Similarly, KCAD’s Interior Design program has been working with the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) to ensure the program’s continued alignment with student needs and industry realities.

Interior Design students working

Beginning this fall, technological aspects of the program’s curriculum such as 3D design software will be more closely integrated into studio environments. Furthermore, expanded project typologies, including residential, retail, hospitality, and emerging markets, have resulted in more dynamic and diverse major studio courses that expose students to a broad base of knowledge in interior design.

“Working closely with CIDA allows us to keep our fingers on the pulse of the industry so we can respond quickly and effectively to industry needs and provide students with comprehensive and relevant major studio courses,” said Associate Professor and Interior Design Program Chair Lee Davis.

KCAD Dean of Academic Affairs Charles Wright added, “KCAD believes firmly in the power of lifelong learning, not only for our students, but also for our faculty and staff who are continually driven to foster fresh, engaging, and innovative educational experiences both in and out of the classroom.”

To learn more about KCAD’s latest program offerings, visit the links below:

General Education Pathways BFA in Digital Art and Design BFA in Interior Design