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FAQ | School of Visual Communication Design | Kent State University

How do I make an advising appointment?
Advising appointments can be set up online through the School of Visual Communication Design Online Advisor Appointment Scheduling System. This link is also available on the Resources section of this website.
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Where are you located on campus?
The School of Visual Communication Design is located in the Art Building, on the west side of campus. The School office is in room 231, on the south side of the building. Find the Art Building on a map of the Kent campus. The School address is 400 Janik Drive, Kent, Ohio 44242.
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Where do your students live?
Students can select from a variety of housing options including the CCI Commons, a Living/Learning Community in Olson Hall. The CCI Commons allows residents to live with students from the other schools within College of Communication and Information. Students who are enrolled in the Honors College can choose to live in either Stopher or Johnson Hall. Olson, Johnson and Stopher halls are located in close proximity to the VCD classrooms in the Art Building. There are many other residence halls on campus. To learn more visit the Residence Services website.
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What are the strengths of your program? Why should I go here, rather than other schools?
The Faculty
VCD faculty members are leaders in their fields of expertise. They are practicing professional designers, illustrators and photographers who work in print, interaction, motion graphics and environmental graphic design. They work with and for national and international clients including - National Geographic Society, American Greetings, Cleveland Indians Baseball, American Bar Association, United States Postal Service, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sony, Ameritrade, MCI, Popsicle, Maxwell House, Citibank, Whirlpool, and American Airlines, among others. Our faculty members are leading educators in visual communication having received teaching awards and authored texts on subjects such as web design, design research and information design. Our illustration and photography faculty members have exhibited their work in museums and galleries across the globe.

The School
The School of Visual Communication at Kent State University is consistently cited as one of the top design programs in the United States. It was recently featured as a “Top-Ranked Communications Design School” by the popular “how-to” website, The texts "Becoming a Graphic Designer," by Steven Heller and Teresa Hernandes, and "Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges," by Frederick E. Rugg, both name Kent State's School of Visual Communication Design as one of the best in the nation. VCD is also home to Glyphix, an award-winning, student-staffed design firm. Glyphix designs have consistently received honors from the Ad Federation, the American Design Awards and the Interactive Media Awards.
The School is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), an achievement that is gained only through a rigorous review process.

The University
Kent State University, through its Kent Core, requires all baccalaureate degree-seeking students to have a strong liberal arts background. Graduates with course work in the liberal arts are attractive to employers because they have developed the necessary skills to adapt to an evolving workplace. Different from attending an art school, a large and comprehensive campus such as Kent State University provides many opportunities for students to engage in extracurricular activities including intercollegiate sports, campus clubs and fraternal organizations. The campus also provides co-curricular activities that provide opportunities for our majors to engage with students and faculty in related fields of study such as global communication, entrepreneurship, advertising and marketing.

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How large are VCD classes?
Although Kent State is a large university, students say the School of Visual Communication Design “feels small.” Studio classes of 12–20 students meet for five hours a week. This provides plenty of time for students to get to know both their classmates and professors.
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How do freshmen VCD students find an advisor?
VCD majors work with both professional and faculty advisors located in the building where classes are held. Incoming freshmen are encouraged to sign up for Destination Kent State (DKS), a summer program dedicated to freshmen advising and registration. Dates and information for DKS will be sent to all students upon admission to Kent State.

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When is the building open? Is it safe?
The Art Building is open 7 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week when school is in session. It is heavily used for classes from 7:30 am – 9 pm, and campus security and maintenance staffs regularly patrol the building after classes end.
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How much do class supplies cost?
Required class supplies and equipment vary widely with areas of concentration.

First-year design students are required to buy a Macintosh laptop as well as specific software programs for spring semester. Software manufacturers update their products every 18–24 months, so students will probably need to buy an upgrade before they graduate. Most students find it helpful to have their own printer. A typical price for a Macintosh laptop is $1800. The three primary graphic software packages are bundled and sell for a total of $350. These prices are for products purchased via the KSU Apple Store. Download the computer requirements for Fall 2014.

First-year Photo-Illustration students will need a single lens reflex (D-SLR) camera ranging in price from $1,100 – 2,000. Download the list of suggested cameras for Fall 2014.

For each studio course, students will need to budget for supplies such as paper, photocopy services, specific drafting and drawing tools, as well as books. In their final year, students construct a portfolio of their work to use when interviewing for employment. The case and reproductions can cost from $200 – 1,000, depending upon the student’s preference and the media of the student’s creative work.
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When do I have to have a computer?
VCD students purchase their Macintosh laptop prior to entering their first semester. The campus Apple Store is located in the Follett-Kent State Bookstore. Visit them online or reach them via phone at 330-672-1588. Students can also purchase their computers through the Education Store at
VCD Required Computer Purchase
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Why do I have to have a Macintosh?
This platform is the industry standard, and our classroom instruction is based on Mac versions of the software. Unlike other disciplines requiring textbooks for each class in the major, VCD and Photo-Illustration students are required to purchase and use a laptop with graphic software for most of their studio work.
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Can I take fine art classes, too?
Yes. The School of Art is part of the College of the Arts (COTA), and some of its classes are in the same building as the School of Visual Communication Design. COTA handles registration for fine art classes. However, credits earned from these classes are considered elective credits and would not apply toward requirements for a VCD major or minor.
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Why do I have to have a minor?
Minors are required of students in the Bachelor of Arts program only. The minor is considered a secondary area of study to complement the major. The minor degrees approved by the school are in fields allied with design, illustration and photography professions, and enrich the student’s understanding of his or her career path. A list of suggested minors can be found on the major Roadmaps.
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Why does the School have a Sophomore Portfolio Review?
Sophomore Portfolio Review is a process that provides an opportunity for the VCD faculty to review the entirety of a student’s studio coursework to date. The review is an assessment measure that has proven successful in determining a student’s overall preparedness for junior-level work and provides feedback as to next steps if areas of weakness are determined.
For VCD majors, the Sophomore Review is also the point when faculty members determine if the student should continue in the BA or BFA program.

For Photo-Illustration majors, the Sophomore Review contains both a review of creative work and an examination of photo technology.
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What happens if I don’t pass the Sophomore Review?
Students meet with the faculty member supervising the review to determine an individual plan of action. Some students opt to re-take a class, and submit an updated portfolio for the review again the following year. They use that year to also take classes toward completing requirements in the Kent Core and in their declared minor.
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What kind of internships do students get?
It depends on the business and the student. The School keeps an active list of internship locations for the student’s reference. They include design or advertising firms, in-house design departments of large companies, photo studios, organizations, museums and television companies, among others. Locations for internships are throughout Ohio and in major U.S. cities such as Pittsburgh, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

The VCD Internship Program requires each student to enroll in a preparatory course that engages them in creating an internship portfolio and resume and exposes them to businesses and organizations wishing to hire our interns. Visit the internships page for more information.
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Are the internship jobs paid positions?
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, an intern should be paid for work that directly benefits the employer and the student. This is also the expected standard of the School of Visual Communication Design. Compensation is negotiated between the employer and the student intern.
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Are there design jobs on campus?
Campus departments have funding allocated to them for general employment and student work/study employment. Some campus jobs include design responsibilities. These would be posted on the job board in Michael Schwartz Center or on the KSU Career Services website.

Glyphix is a design studio housed in the School of Visual Communication Design that is staffed by select upperclassmen and graduate students. Glyphix Studio is a course that is taken for elective or internship credit. Read more on the VCD Opportunities page.

Signum Design is a student-run studio in the Student Center. Signum primarily engages in design work for Kent Student Center Programming.

IdeaBase (formerly known as The Tannery) is a student-run, full-service integrated marketing communications firm located in downtown Kent. The firm works with clients from all around the Northern Ohio region and plans to expand regionally and nationally.
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What kind of employment can a VCD graduate expect?
Visual Communication Design students obtain jobs in a wide variety of areas. Some work for advertising agencies, in-house design departments, small design firms, web design and data management firms, television studios, marketing firms, environmental design and display companies, publication houses, and other educational institutions. Some graduates work as freelance illustrators or photographers. Many of our graduates are entrepreneurs starting their own firms in Ohio and elsewhere. Visit the Alumni page to see a sampling of some of our alumni and links to their employers or self-owned businesses.
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How much do graduates make in these fields?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median pay for a graphic designer with a bachelor’s degree is $43,500 per year. This range is determined by time in the profession, geographic location and the current demands of the market. Areas of specialization also determine median pay. For example, multi-media artists and animators’ median pay is $58,510 and the median pay for art directors is $80,630. Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more information on the outlook for design jobs.
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