NSHE Approves New Graphics Degree Options

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
Graphic Communications Class Image

TMCC Graphic Communications students participate in labs, critiques, lectures, hands-on activities such as screen printing, and real-world community projects.

Graphic Communications students at Truckee Meadows Community College now have new and expanded higher education options; they will be able to smoothly transfer with an Associate of Arts (AA) to Nevada’s universities, and complete advanced courses or a bachelor’s degree specifically in graphic arts and media disciplines.

“Students will have an opportunity to complete an AA, take 300-level courses for an advanced certificate, enter the BA program offered by Nevada State College at TMCC, or transfer with their AA to UNR,” said Department Chair, Visual and Performing Arts and Graphic Communications (GRC) Professor Ron Marston.

All of these options will provide new choices for students in the region.

“The higher-level courses and certificate will position students to be more competitive in the job market—advanced certificates and degrees are always looked on favorably by potential employers,” said Dan Bouweraerts, GRC Professor.

Fellow GRC Professor Brian Wells agrees.

“When we heard that the advanced coursework and Associate of Arts transfer degree were approved, we were very excited—it’s been an important goal to offer these for our students,” he said. “It will help build the industry in Nevada.”

The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents Academic Research and Student Affairs (ARSA) subcommittee approved the new AA degree on March 1. The Academic Affairs Council approved the Advanced Certificate in Graphic Arts & Media Technologies (GAMT) in late November.

The new degree and certificate options will take effect during the 2018–2019 academic year.

Associate of Arts Degree

Marston, Bouweraerts, and Wells collaborated with officials at Nevada colleges, including Nevada State College (NSC) and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) to develop a new transferrable associate degree. The official name of the degree is Associate of Arts, Graphic Arts & Media Technologies (GAMT).

“We’ve put a lot of effort into working with all involved NSHE institutions, NSC, UNR, Western Nevada College, and even Great Basin College in Elko, to ensure our new courses and degrees are as transferable as they can be, and that we have good degree pathways for our students,” Marston said.

Three Tracks of Study for GAMT

Students in the new GAMT degree options, the AA and an advanced certificate, will be able to choose from three discipline tracks; including design, user interface (UI), and animation and videography:

  • Graphic Design
  • Web/UI Development
  • Motion Graphics

These three focus specialties are also available at Nevada State College in the Bachelor of Arts, GAMT program.

“Students completing the Advanced Certificate in Graphic Arts & Media Technologies will also be able to move on to a fourth year offered by Nevada State College and receive a Bachelor of Arts,” Bouweraerts said.

To enter the GAMT Advanced Certificate program, students must have completed prior study in graphic communications, such as one of the following:

  • Associate of Applied Science, Graphic Communications, TMCC
  • Associate of Arts, Graphic Arts & Media Technologies degree, TMCC
  • Degree from an accredited higher education institution, application reviewed by program faculty

Bachelor’s Degree

About a year-and-a-half ago, the TMCC professors began coordinating with Nevada State College (NSC) specifically on a bachelor’s degree taught at TMCC in Reno—students will complete the first three years taught by TMCC professors, and then continue in the requirements for the baccalaureate degree with an NSC instructor teaching at TMCC’s Dandini Campus.

In higher education language, it is referred to as a three-plus-one program. NSC is the college granting the bachelor’s diploma.

For more information about the new Associate of Arts, Advanced Certificate, and Bachelor of Arts degree options, please contact the Visual and Performing Arts Department at 775-673-7291.