Earlier this year, the Department of Visual Art, Communication & Design announced its decision to merge the former Department of Visual Arts and Department of Communications to create a united department. This new merge also comes with the offer of an $8,000 scholarship for any new students who are interested in joining the newly-merged department. This has been exciting for Communications and Visual Arts majors who always found themselves toggling between the departments.
“This is so exciting because it adds an extra appeal to the Communications department, especially for those who enjoy photography and the visual arts in general,” said Jordan Jackson (senior, journalism).
David Mann, an administrative assistant for the Department of Visual Arts, Communication & Design offered insight on the new scholarship.
“The scholarship was put in place to help students afford the degree and encourage the students to join,” Mann said. “It would amount to $2,000 each year for four years for incoming students.”
Mann also explained the reason for the merge.
“The department decided it would be best to combine resources and combine the strengths of different areas since there is a lot of overlap, for example, like creating the Envision magazine,” Mann said.
Many communications and visual arts students have reacted positively to the merge. One such student is Daniela Castillo (junior, journalism).
“I am so excited to try out the new resources that the new merge provides for us in the upcoming months,” Castillo said.
In addition to classes and events, the merge will provide students with a new studio in Smith Hall, which houses the Department of Agriculture and art galleries.
“An example of our future collaboration is the new studio that will be finished and opened in a few weeks. Both journalism and film students can use it,” Mann said.
The new studio will be much larger than the current studio in Bell Hall. The studio’s potential is appealing to many students, especially to those who want to bring back “AU Today,” a news show that aired a few times a week in the morning over a year ago.
Students’ opinions, however, have not been entirely positive.
“I think the merge suggests low enrollment for both departments,” Nichole Reid (senior, computer science) said. “As a graphic design minor I’ve had several instances of classes being canceled due to low enrollment, and I think they have to be mindful about not neglecting the art students.”
According to Mann, there have been 23 new Visual Art, Communications & Design students so far this semester, and the number is expected to rise in future semesters. This, in addition to the new studio, has left Visual Arts and Communications majors proud members of their department.
“I just can’t wait to use that studio,” Castillo said.