Several weeks ago the University of Central Missouri (UCM) made it known it was closing its Graphic Technologies program. Needless to say this has created consternation for the instructors who have worked hard to make the program viable in our constantly changing industry. It has also shocked alums who were recently made aware of this announcement. Here’s a sample response from one of the program’s graduates, “This is unbelievable. What are they basing their decision to cancel the program on? Why would our program be deemed useless? With the successful digital industry we are experiencing today, I would have thought that technology would be a very popular area of study and one that would pull potential students. I will absolutely show my support any way I can.”
Yet, the reality is that over the past 10 years, dozens of four-year programs with a focus on “print” have closed around the United States. The reason, in my opinion, is the lack of industry support. The UCM program had support of suppliers (Fuji was one of those), but it lacked an “overwhelming” support of print providers who were committed to hiring students and becoming involved with the program. It’s that type of interest and support which is important to college administrators, who sad to say are more focused on “bodies” in programs rather than how successful the graduates may be in their chosen industry, and I’ve met many UCM grads – who are bright and extremely passionate about our industry.
Although the door has not quite closed, if you would like to support the efforts being led by Dr. Mark Rankin (email@example.com) to keep this Missouri program operating – give him a shout and support his efforts to make the university’s management aware that the industry does care; otherwise another program will find its way to the ash can.