Susan Gibb laments course cancellations in this post and the apparent opportunities available in the state of Connecticut. I think she’s right to do so.
Part of the issue here, I would assume, is the focus of CT education in the face of change. It’s going to take a while for curriculum to channel into a number of futures: environment, power, transportation, and creative media development. Secondly, it’s going to take a while for the student population to chance their way into what could be interesting opportunities in art, business, entertainment, and the sciences. Many students won’t break a conventional narrative until learning tracks become safer bets.
Hopefully, our program in New Media Communication will be a part of the change. This is the apex semester for us to get everything off the ground with at least one major University connection to build on.
Will the students come without a lot of hype or some sort of guarantee?
I don’t think it’s the students who need time; this generation has been playing with computers since they were three years old and I would think they’re more familiar with digital animation than they are with fields such as medicine, law, nuclear physics, etc. So they’re ready and seeking.
On the side of the provider, the institution, while the wheels turn slowly they’ve got to realize that the world is moving at warp 8 speed. I have, and accept that I’ll be left behind. But colleges are also seeking funding and that helps push the need to keep up. If they looked at it realistically, courses offered would be selected like one chooses stocks in the market, with an eye to future dividends by fulfilling estimated needs.
Sorry, that didn’t offer any solution or suggestions. I think what I’m saying is that the students are ready, the college–at least Tunxis–is ready with some courses in at least one area of growth you mention (though speed in getting it together is vital, and some colleges need to get with the program) so the focus should be on awareness. Marketing. Perhaps a public “New Tech Careers” campaign. Maybe, over and above the summer mashup with high school students some active salesmanship at this level to attract them. I can beat the drum all I want but it’s not a real parade.
Another: a field trip to Blue Sky
You are (perhaps) discovering the wall that Kas and I did, and is one of the main reasons we left.
CT has little interest in embracing the creative industry. Oh they want to be a Hollywood suburb on the coast, but that is more out of the fact that several creative heavyweights already live in the southwest and Simsbury areas. But there is no interest in actually building a creative farm system–not anytime soon anyway.
I had a job interview for the UPS Store a few months before Kas and I pulled up roots. During the interview the manager asked me to discuss my creative ambitions. When I was finished, he shook his head with genuine sympathy and simply stated, “My friend, you are in the wrong state.” Kas and I often wonder if he didn’t hire me in hopes I would look to other pastures.
Truth be told, anyone who wants to get into the creative industry technically does not need a college education. Not once have I been asked my educational background when pitching a project. The only things requested are projects published/produced and/or agent information. Being successful in the creative world takes versatility, talent, and networking.
Animators are admittedly a different story, but even there almost every artist we have contracted is a graduate at one of the colleges in the Art Institute network or a prestigious indy art college like Full Sail University.
If CT really wanted to get in on the game, they would be promoting the Paier College of Art (in Hamden) or dump funding into a separate “School of Design” like neighboring Rhode Island has. The strength in the latter being that the state would probably have more leverage hiring teachers who are well-known professionals from the industry.
Bottomline: Tunxis fails to gain interest for the classes because students interested in that course of study need a dedicated environment, which will also help them network in the industry (directly or indirectly). CT is vastly non-competitive in that market.
What Steve and John are trying to accomplish at Tunxis in terms of New Media is outstanding, but I fear that Tunxis (nor any of the other uni-based art colleges in CT) will ever be able to fully embrace, or possibly even appreciate, their efforts or their vision, and those like them.
Well, I had left a couple more comments here that contained some suggestions but I guess they were deleted. In the meantime, I found that Quinebaug, part of the community college network does have a course going with 17 students signed in.
While I agree with you, Josh, that you don’t necessarily need a degree, students who haven’t made their mind up or need the skills and access to the software do require a classroom setting. And community colleges are a start for those who can’t afford the big name specialized schools but would like to have some basis in training that’s more accessible to their means.
What I’m surprised at is the great interest in the art classes, and the number of them offered, as compared to the few classes that will indeed offer the skills needed for a career.
“And community colleges are a start for those who canâ€™t afford the big name specialized schools but would like to have some basis in training thatâ€™s more accessible to their means.”
I am not knocking community colleges. But at the same time students who enter creative fields needing a school setting must recognise that the specialised schools are where they are going to get their best education when it comes to graphic design, animation et al. due to the extreme competitive nature of the creative industry.
I don’t know–maybe these schools will take Tunxis credits. And that’s great and all, but if Tunxis doesn’t spotlight and support the program via a cnnsistent ad campaign or something, then the demand won’t grow. I am not sure that Tunxis believes that New Media and design courses of study are worth their investment given the top career paths of a Connecticut-based student body.