Introduced in 1999, the University of Dubuque's Digital Art & Design (DART) Program is not much younger than the Web itself. The program readies students for exciting careers in a dramatically expanding field that will shape how almost every person, company, and country communicates in the 21st century.
With every business already communicating online - both internally and with clients - today's market for Digital Art & Design specialists is almost unlimited. University of Dubuque graduates are eagerly sought after in such traditional fields as advertising, print media, and desk-top publishing. They have their choice of companies that need web designers, webmasters, web managers, digital creators, and people in other internet-related functions. Almost every firm offers potential employment.
The University of Dubuque's DART program specifically prepares students for high-level careers working for established companies. However, creative graduates often prefer an entrepreneurial path - either working as individual consultants or forming small companies with talented peers. With jobs outnumbering qualified people, firms are willing to buy DART skills from independent suppliers who can solve their problems. Given the widespread need for Digital Art & Design expertise, earning potentials are excellent.
More than Learning About Computers
The University of Dubuque bases all its professional programs on a unique fusion of "technical" courses with the traditional liberal arts. The UD Mission calls for educating students intellectually, spiritually, and morally so that they can enjoy success in their family and community lives as well as satisfying careers.
Consistent with this Mission, the Digital Art & Design major requires 54 semester hours of study, including liberal arts courses such as english, history, and speech as well as computer science, business, and communication. The program combines computer science, art, and standard speech and communication. A graduate of the program is able to communicate using all the latest technology and also excels in traditional skills such as professional and creative writing. The University insists that graduates of the program know more than just how to use computers. They also master a broad curriculum so that they have something important to communicate.
A significant feature of the DART program is the inclusion of an ethical perspective in every class. There is no single course entitled Ethics. It is assumed in every class that students will examine their values and loyalties relative to the messages they communicate and the organizations for which they work. Almost every communication involves an ethical question, so addressing ethical questions is integrated into the entire curriculum, where it becomes a habit that will serve throughout one's career.
Digital Art & Design starts out with the latest equipment and software and the most advanced practices. Designed with students' educational needs foremost in mind, it offers the following advantages:
- State-of-the Art Facilities. The Jackaline Baldwin Dunlap Technology Center gives the University one of the best technology facilities in the Midwest.
- Small Classes/Close Instruction. The computer laboratory that supports the DART Program includes only 12 workstations. It was designed to be small so that no class can exceed 12 persons, guaranteeing that no student will take DART courses in a large class without individualized instruction.
- Earning While Learning. Because demand for DART skills is so great, most students in the program are able to design websites for commercial clients while they are attending classes. By doing this, they are immersed in the realities of business, and are earning money well before they complete their degrees.
- Sophisticated Courses. DART classes at the University are web-based, game-based, and video-production based. Every student prepares to serve the most sophisticated demands of the market, where the highest compensation is earned.
- Emphasis on Creativity. At UD, learning to use hardware and software represents only the beginning. Students are encouraged to immerse themselves in the digital medium and experiment with its properties much as a sculptor tests the properties of marble or clay.
To reach the top, tomorrow's writers, editors, public relations specialists, and advertisers - and just about every other business person who needs to communicate - will need Digital Art & Design skills. But they will also need the traditional skills of critical thinking, clear, concise writing, as well as a broad knowledge base. In other words, they will require exactly the kind of background the University of Dubuque's DART program provides.
Students who want a career that rewards creativity, are fascinated with computers, and are excited by the prospect of life-long learning, should carefully consider pursuing a degree in Digital Art & Design. The prospects in DART are almost as limitless as the 21st century itself.