College Introduces New Name for Graphic Design and Digital Media Major


Budding graphic designers, animators, and multimedia professionals can follow their artistic passion and develop their technical skills with a recently renamed major at SUNY Cortland: graphic design and digital media.

The new name reflects an academic program that emphasizes digital education and merges applied and fine arts.

“It’s an emerging field,” said Martine Barnaby, associate professor of art and art history. “It’s the nature of the job, so students will gain a wide range of experience – with digital illustration, computer graphics, visual design for the web and more.”

Formerly known as New Media Design, the Graphic Design and Digital Media credential will be incorporated into the course registration process for current students beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year. Students from other disciplines will also be able to pursue a minor there.

Teaching will focus on the fundamentals of digital design and front-end website layout, so no web programming knowledge is required. Applicants are also not expected to submit a portfolio.

The new major will seek to offer many of the same benefits that have become trademarks of the College Department of Art and Art History:

Teachers with diverse talents and interests

SUNY Cortland students learn from faculty members who are themselves accomplished artists, joining a department that offers different areas of specialization: printmaking, multimedia, graphic design, typography, interactivity, photography, video, animation, fibers, ceramics, painting and sculpture among them.

“All of these inform each other,” said art and art history professor Kathryn Kramer.

New state-of-the-art facilities and equipment

A major renovation of the Dowd Fine Arts Center in 2014 brought a modern learning space, new technologies and improvements to the Dowd Gallery, which houses several exhibitions by professional artists throughout the year. The College’s best student work is also featured in an annual juried exhibition at the end of the academic year.

“A special learning experience comes from being part of a campus community that invites and supports the exhibition of professional artists throughout the year,” said Charles Heasley, professor of art and history art.

Internship opportunities on and off campus

Aspiring student artists in the College also find value and earn course credit through internships. They lend their talent to various campus departments as well as neighboring businesses seeking printing, design, and technical expertise.

Individual attention in small classes

The collaboration between students and professors is strong and significant within the department. “There’s a sense of community,” said Elena Grossman, assistant professor of art and art history. “It’s a real collective.

Unlimited career potential

Recent graduates have gone on to work for Apple, Michael Kors, sports franchises and numerous creative advertising agencies. The Graphic Design and Digital Media major will seek to pursue an applied approach, training students to turn their passion for art into professional opportunity.

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