Graphic design course one big mess

As the demand for graphic design increases in professional media, the graphics production minor at Geneseo is devolving. According to several students, inconsistent technology and an incompetent professor have put a hold on real-world preparation.

Graphics production is exclusively a minor, and there is no graphic design major at Geneseo. According to School of the Arts Dean Jack Johnston, "While some of our students would like to see a professional graphic design program here, Geneseo, at the present time, is dedicated to pursuing national recognition as a leading public, liberal arts college rather than as a professional institution."

The only course within the minor that teaches graphic design is the introductory ARTS 204, taught by Dr. Michael Teres, who holds a master's and a master of fine arts degree in photography and has taught graphic design since 1988.

According to senior Ivan Cash, "The graphic design education here at Geneseo has done little to prepare me for a future working as a graphic designer or art director."

Some students attribute this frustration to the professor, while others feel that technology is the primary hindrance to learning. Students have reported that Teres shows up late, doesn't keep track of assignments and fails to keep students informed of their grades. According to Teres, he keeps an updated record of grades on the class server and is open to consulting with students outside of class.

Senior Andy Pareti withdrew from the course after Teres sent a class-wide e-mail to inform students that most were failing midway through the semester. According to Pareti, "If no one was handing things in on time, the only one who knew that was him."

Senior Mike Baker also withdrew from the class, "due to a lack of organization, knowledge and interest on the behalf of the professor."

Although he has had extensive experience teaching graphic design, Teres admits that he lacks the training necessary to provide the best education in this area of knowledge. While he was trained in early computer programs at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the '80s, Teres isn't specialized in the more advanced technology of new media, with programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign that now replace traditional methods of graphic design.

"We really do need somebody besides me who specializes in computer graphic design, new media and computer art," he said. "These are all things that should be part of a college education for students of graphic design in the 21st century."

According to Johnston, the minor only necessitates Teres, who is full-time, tenured, and, "by all objective, professionally established standards," qualified to teach the course.

Issues with technology have also impeded student progress and Teres's capacity to assign projects and deadlines. InDesign and the two printers in Brodie 238/239 are often inoperable, requiring CIT intervention and stalling the class until they are fixed.

"Sometimes there are things in the software that are beyond our control, and we're at the mercy of Apple or Adobe to come out with the patch," said Laurie Fox, assistant director of user services at CIT.

Most printing troubles arise from the complicated nature of the software. The programs used in graphic design fail to print effectively without students entering a variety of specifications according to the project. Combined with the number of simultaneous printing jobs, even high-quality printers are susceptible to freezing.

According to Fox, CIT is taking proactive measures to improve the effectiveness of the course such as sitting in on classes, improving the accuracy with which technical problems are reported, and suggesting alternative ways of submitting work without printing.