BLUFFTON ADDING MAJORS IN SEVERAL AREAS
Bluffton University is offering new majors beginning this fall for students interested in graphic design, public relations, strength and conditioning and sport and recreation leadership.
For the graphic design major, new courses are being added to revamped courses in an existing minor in graphic design.
"The program is built on a foundation of design, color and typographical theory using the latest computer graphics programs, yet we are also excited to include more traditional courses, such as drawing, figure drawing, design, alternative printmaking and photography courses," says Andreas Baumgartner, assistant professor of art.
Noting that the art department feels the new major will be a "desirable niche" for high school graduates, he says "students want to be part of a program that offers small class sizes and one-on-one guidance from instructors who push them past basic working knowledge of computer programs."
Graphic design majors will enter an internship program as seniors, "allowing for direct, real-world interactions to strengthen connections and relationships" in preparation for careers, Baumgartner adds.
Based in part on demand from both current and prospective students, the public relations major builds on what has been an optional concentration in public relations for communication majors.
According to Bluffton’s communication and theatre department, the new major is distinctive because it "stresses a concept of public relations as a form of servant leadership," emphasizing "advocacy on behalf of nonprofit and church-related organizations" while also equipping students to serve in business, governmental and other settings.
In addition to specialized public relations courses, the program will include classes in persuasion, argumentation, media studies and media writing, plus internships in the field. Instructors will be Drs. Gerald Mast, Dan Fultz and Zachary Walton, all faculty members in communication.
Students will be prepared to enter a public relations labor market in which the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that demand will grow by 24 percent in the decade ending in 2018.
Strength and conditioning and sport and recreation leadership are majors within the health, fitness and sport science department, which is also changing the name of its health and physical education major to exercise science.
"Exercise science is a better way to describe the broad spectrum of educational opportunities we are now offering to meet the increased demands of an ever-changing field," explains Tami Forbes, associate professor and department chair.
The strength and conditioning program is for students interested in becoming group exercise instructors, personal trainers or health-fitness specialists, as well as strength and conditioning coaches. Sport and recreation leadership graduates may find jobs in such places as resorts, convention and visitor centers, outdoor/adventure centers and cruise ships. Both new majors include an internship experience.
"We feel that these new majors will allow our students to diversify in ways that will enhance career opportunities," Forbes says.
Bluffton public relations, 6/29/12