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This series of articles on PGSF PGSF: Building the Future of Our Industry
and Graphic Communications
Education features special
reports and interviews by:

Joe Webb - Do We Really WhatTheyThink featured this series of arti- munications industry is educating young
Need Graphic Communications cles on the Print and Graphics Scholarship people to work in a constantly changing
Education? Foundation (PGSF) to raise awareness business, encouraging many of them to be
Patrick Henry - In Brooklyn, about the important work this organization entrepreneurs, savvy in multiple media, with
There’s a Beacon for Print does in attracting new talent to our industry. the capabilities to take the risk of creating
Industry Education PGSF is a not-for-profit, private, industry- independent businesses.
Voices from the Academy directed organization, housed under the
Some continue to believe that one of the
Cary Sherburne - How To same roof as PIA/GATF, that dispenses
problems with graphic communications
Meet the Obligation “To Do undergraduate college scholarships and
is the fact that it is a hidden industry, and
Right by the Industry” graduate fellowship assistance to talented
that is the reason why “no one” has any
The Value of PGSF men and women interested in graphic com-
interests in working in our industry. This
Scholarships in Building the munications careers. The mission of PGSF
Talent Pool
is quite untrue. We wake up to music, we
is “To strengthen the print and graphics
play music in our cars, we listen to music
Frank Romano - Future industry by providing scholarship assis-
on treadmills and in gyms, music plays
of Graphic Arts Education = tance.” PGSF has coordinated the printing
Future of the Graphic Arts while we shop, eat, and relax; it’s in com-
industry’s largest scholarship program since
mercials, in movies, and TV shows. Why is
its inception in 1956. We hope our readers
not everyone in Julliard or Berklee? Why is
will consider supporting the work PGSF
not everyone doing something in the music
does to attract the best and brightest to our
industry? It’s just as “hidden” as graphic
industry. Our future depends on it!
communications is. We eat food three times
a day and snack and drink in between. Why
is not everyone in agricultural college? It’s
Do We Really
a meaningless, fruitless lament, which I
Need Graphic
reviewed in a recent article.
Education? Young people are often called “digital
by Dr. Joe Webb natives.” They use rich media on a daily
basis, surrounded by computer graphics in
games and in movies, immersed in digital
photography in cell phones and new cam-
eras. They are handing in school projects as
digital files or as PowerPoint presentations.
One of the key challenges for businesses
This “excuse” that no one “knows” about our
today—especially graphic communications
industry is wrongheaded. It might be better
businesses—is the ability to source and
described that we know little about them.
retain qualified personnel in an increasingly
Graphic communications is not hidden; it is
complex and digital business environment.
all around us, just like food and music are.
A particular challenge for the graphic com-

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


No better indication of the lack of con- will be outmoded in years, and not Taking a Systems Approach
gruence of market needs and educa- decades. Academic turf wars aside,
What tools do we give students to
tion can be found than in a very inter- there are some foundation elements
understand this kind of world? A major
esting story in the Wall Street Journal that ensure that the right talents are
goal of education is to instill a desire
about the rapid increase in salaries cultivated for the student’s best future
for lifelong learning in students, and
for workers in new media. Some jobs interests.
then equip them with the skills to do
have increased their pay ranges by
The role of theoretical versus practical so. This requires a firm foundation
more than 50% just in the past year
knowledge. There is a creative ten- that teaches students to think clearly
due to the lack of supply of qualified
sion in many fields of study between and logically, leading to the capability
practical and theoretical issues. to evaluate and approach complex
Many educational programs have Paradoxically, the greater the amount problems confidently.
changed their names from “graphic of change, the greater need to
It is not lost on me, with an MBA in
arts” or “printing” to “graphic com- emphasize theory, and the less need
management information systems,
munications.” If we really believe that to emphasize practical knowledge. It
that the VistaPrint business was
the name changes mattered, then may seem backwards, but although
designed by people with systems
we believe that new media are part there is always an effort to gradu-
analysis in their background. Nowhere
of “graphic communications” just as ate students with marketable skills,
in graphic communications programs
much as printing is. marketable thinking ability is the best
have I found emphasis on systems
long-term skill.
Among the challenges that graphic analysis. Therefore, no graphic arts
communications programs face is Students are immersed in a tech- executive would be likely to invent a
keeping their offerings in tune with nological revolution, unaware of a VistaPrint. The recent interest in work-
the current and emerging needs of world without an Internet. Technology flow systems is actually a sign that
graphic communications profession- touches student life in ways previ- our systems are changing, and that
als. Sometimes, however, those skills ously unseen by their teachers. This an understanding of systems analysis
are being taught in other schools or gives them a deeper personal under- is lacking in industry management.
departments in those same colleges standing of technological change. My
All this requires some kind of men-
and universities, such as art depart- generation was insulated from much
tal discipline, often developed by
ments, or communication arts depart- of it, since it was common that new
studying science and mathematics.
ments, and computer departments. technologies would first be adopted
Appreciation of experimentation and
Sometimes there are academic turf by high-level researchers, such as
the scientific method builds capa-
wars where there is competition for in labs and the defense department,
bility for rational decision-making.
the affections and aspirations of the and then big business, and then small
Mathematics stresses thinking abili-
same exact students. Is the concern businesses and consumers. We were
ties, and often creates skills that allow
about attracting students to graphic more likely to experience something
students to grasp far more than the
communications departments more technologically new outside the home
about this competition than it is other than in it. Today, consumers often
factors? have technologies, even as simple as Not everyone is up to that. Some
instant messaging, that corporations people are naturally rational thinkers,
Whether or not this is the issue,
fear to implement for security reasons. others are emotional thinkers, the
never has there been a more vibrant,
An example of how backwards this typical left-brain versus right-brain
technologically diverse, and dynamic
has become is found in a recent story simplification of the world. This is why
graphic communications marketplace.
about companies buying iPods for we educate ourselves and students,
What is taught in most of today’s
corporate training. so that we can at least operate in
graphic communication programs
either world with some reasonable

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


functionality. Not that we lose our left- or where technology changes the nature someone knowledgeable in the various
right-brainedness, but that we enhance of the connections and the participants, media we now have, and the media to
our natural talents and fill in what is not. workers are constantly faced with deci- come. We are far better at warehous-
These kinds of things change over time. sions. Classes in psychology, both for ing data than we are at displaying and
I actually avoided heavy math until I understanding how one works with deploying it. There is no doubt that the
had that one teacher in graduate school others, but also applied to the nature delivery of information is becoming
who somehow got it to make sense: of communications, and how graphics more graphically intense, enhanced by
two years later I was teaching quantita- affect the understanding of information embedded video and audio. The tech-
tive analysis. I always thought that was are important. Together, with sociology, nologies, the standards, and the applica-
strange, but that’s the power that educa- for example, it lays the foundation for tions are all moving targets. That’s why
tion has. It took an attitude adjustment. understanding why personalization tech- it’s so interesting to be involved in it.
nologies can or can’t work.
Systems analysis is usually taught only This is why it’s so essential that stu-
in computer classes, but is actually Entrepreneurship study should be part dents learn the theoretical means of get-
related to economics (and also related of the program. Because so many ting messages to audiences in efficient
to concepts taught in calculus). The graphic communications students will and effective ways, because the graphic
whole concept of workflow is based on one day run small businesses, or be communications professional can under-
an understanding of microeconomics executives, or be freelancers, it’s hard stand the subtle, interrelated steps that
and that a system has a goal with has to imagine being successful without this those who are not professional practitio-
an optimal cost. I see very little econom- study of applied creativity. ners cannot easily see.
ics content in graphic communications
Creating Order Out of Chaos Looking Toward the Future
programs. Some programs will have
economics as it relates to production. Why does one need a graphic communi- The need for a skilled practitioner to
One college requires a course in politi- cations degree? It’s hard to justify since make sure the message gets where it
cal economy, so one has to hope that so many executives and workers found needs to be and is understood will not
a student would find his or her way to their way to the industry from elsewhere. disappear. We need people who can
microeconomics as a liberal arts elec- My undergraduate work was in market- think, and are well-grounded in basic
tive, which would be a much better ing and managerial science. One con- concepts, have skills in implementation
choice. It’s not likely. Microeconomics sultant I know was a biochemistry major, in media that don’t really exist yet. This
is more important than macroeconom- and his work is all the better for it. There means that there will be new profes-
ics, because you delve into topics such are so many ways to get to this industry sions in graphic media that will emerge
as division of labor, marginal costs and and be successful. There is a reason amidst the constant change.
comparative advantage, essential for why people with degrees in non-graphic
This is a great time to be a graphic com-
understanding technology adoption and disciplines work in our industry and do
munications major. Things are changing
implementation. Now that skills are no well: we need their specific skills.
so quickly in graphic communications
longer in discrete tasks but in how those
But now we need new graphic com- that we should not envy the educators,
tasks interrelate, this is more important
munications professionals for a growing but should certainly envy the students.
than ever.
need: information chaos. They’ve got a whole new media world to
Driving Creativity Through Education play in, and the rules are being written
Graphic communications programs can
as they go along. They’re the ones who
One philosophy course that should be teach people how to create order out of
will play key roles in taming the media
included in a good curriculum is the such chaos. There is so much informa-
study of logic. Sometime in the future, tion being created, that the management
students will have to make careful of it, the organization and display of it, Let’s all do our part to encourage a
decisions. In an interconnected world and storage of it, has to be crafted by growing talent pool and increasingly

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


relevant content in our graphic commu- full-time member of the college’s graphic grams in the NYC-metro area?
nications programs. One way we can do arts teaching staff since 1979. As a part
JM: I think that what makes us excep-
that it to support the Print and Graphics of this week’s focus on industry edu-
tional is the opportunity we provide
Scholarship Foundation in their efforts cation, WhatTheyThink asked him to
for students of design and students of
to provide financial support for students describe the department, its curricula, its
production to work together. The degree
who are interested in careers in the students, and the role that it plays in the
programs are structured so that design
graphic communications industry. graphic communications industry in the
students can interact with the production
New York City metropolitan area.
workflow at all three stages of prepress,
In Brooklyn, There’s a Beacon for WTT: Please tell us about the history press, and postpress.
Print Industry Education: An Interview and the present status of the Department
It’s clear to us from all of our conversa-
with Joel Mason, NYC College of of Advertising Design and Graphic Arts
tions with people in the industry that
Technology at NYCCT.
design students must have a better
by Patrick Henry
JM: Ours was one of four founding understanding of how the things they
departments when the College opened create will be produced. So, for exam-
With nearly half of its 13,370 students in 1946. Today, with an enrollment of ple, in the Print Production for Design
born outside the U.S., it has a campus 1,127 students, we’re the largest aca- course, the students start with a finished
population representing 134 countries. demic department at NYCCT. Last year, piece and “reverse engineer” its devel-
More than 60 percent of its students we graduated 149 students from our four opment from finished production to the
report that a language other than English degree programs. The faculty consists creative stage. In another class, a design
is spoken at home. There’s no surprise of 19 full-time members and 64 part-time team works with a production team on
in learning that New York City College of adjuncts. Our adjunct instructors come projects for not-for-profit organizations.
Technology (NYCCT), a unit of the City from many areas of the graphic commu- The design team does the creative work,
University of New York (CUNY), probably nications industry, and they include art- and the production team does the esti-
is the nation’s most ethnically diversified ists, photographers, graphic designers, mating—all within the school.
institution of higher learning. What may production specialists, journalists, and
WTT: In general, what kinds of skills and
come as a revelation is that the college, consultants.
knowledge do the degree programs aim
located in downtown Brooklyn near the
WTT: Has the department expanded to provide?
foot of the Manhattan Bridge, also is
or upgraded its facilities and teaching
home to one of the country’s most sub- JM: At the associate-degree level, the
resources recently?
stantial college-level education programs objective is to give students a funda-
for graphic communications. JM: We’ll be moving about half of our mental understanding of design subjects
facilities into a 17,000-sq.-ft space in a including drawing, typography, desktop
Last month, an article in Advertising Age
new building that will begin construction publishing, digital photography, and vec-
noted NYCCT’s importance as an incu-
across the street in about six months. tor-based art. It’s important to point out
bator of design talent for New York City’s
We’ll also renovate another 6,000 sq. that we are not teaching applications in
advertising industry. In fact, the college’s
ft. to accommodate our binding/finish- these courses—we are teaching con-
department of Advertising Design and
ing and computer labs. Our pressroom cepts. At the two-year mark, all candi-
Graphic Arts has an even broader
currently has three Heidelberg single- dates for associate degrees must pass
educational mission, offering two- and
color presses, four small Chief presses, an academic proficiency exam required
four-year degrees in graphic arts produc-
a Xerox DocuColor 2060 digital color by CUNY. They then are eligible for a “2
tion management as well as in art and
press, and three HP wide-format inkjet + 2” program that enables them to take
design for advertising.
printers. All of this equipment was donat- 60 more credits for a bachelor’s degree,
Leading the mission is the department’s ed by vendors and printers that support including one of four 15-credit specializa-
chair, Joel Mason, who has held the the department and the work we do. tion tracks in advertising design, graphic
post since 1988. Trained as a graphic design, Web design, and digital multi-
WTT: What makes the department dif-
designer himself, Mason has been a media. Everyone takes the design team
ferent from other graphics studies pro-

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


class, completes an internship, and can be found in advertising agencies, and finishing lab. One of the ways that
creates a portfolio for his or her senior design studios, media firms, and design printers help is by sending us their over-
project. departments of corporations. Some stocks of paper.
start their own design businesses. On
Our production studies program also Thanks to our friends in the metro area,
the production side, NYCCT graduates
is unique in the New York City area the department’s internship program
are working for companies such as
because of all of the things we teach has been very active. We’re able to
The New York Times, Newsweek, Time
our production students to do. They arrange about 100 internships at cor-
Inc., and Hachette Filipacchi. One of
learn estimating, digital asset manage- porations, not-for-profit organizations,
our former students is the director of
ment, platemaking, print on demand, and public agencies every year with
production operations at Hachette; the
ink mixing, quality assurance, and sponsors that have included The New
director of digital development at Time
many other subjects that make them York Times, the Metropolitan Transit
Inc. is another of our graduates. We
well prepared to enter the industry after Authority, the Daily News, Interior
also have department alumni in senior-
graduation. Our approach to teaching Design magazine, Avon, the American
level design and production positions at
these subjects is not just “chalk and Federation for Age Research, and the
Information Builders, Marriott, and Sony
talk”—when students complete these CUNY Graduate Center. We’ve even
Music. Some of the people in these top
courses, they really understand how to placed a student in an internship at the
positions were my own students, I’m
operate a press or a folder. We’re also office of the Brooklyn District Attorney,
proud to say.
preparing to increase the number of where the assignment was to create
electives with classes that will introduce WTT: What is the job market like for courtroom graphics for felony cases.
students to workflow analysis, systems your graduates at the moment? Internship students earn three credits
management, and project management. for working eight to 10 hours per week,
JM: The market is pretty strong—the
or 120 hours in all for the semester.
WTT: What attracts students to the industry is looking for talent, and there
The internships also require them to
department of Advertising Design and are a lot of jobs out there. We fre-
meet weekly with faculty advisers, keep
Graphic Arts at NYCCT? How do they quently receive calls from companies
journals, and make presentations about
find out about it? offering internships that later become
what they have learned.
full-time jobs. The employment picture
JM: Many hear about us in high school
definitely is stronger than it was three WTT: What are the critical skills that
from their guidance counselors or by
years ago. The shrinkage in the number students must now acquire in order to
word-of-mouth from family and friends.
of industry firms and positions because prepare for careers in the industry?
Some transfer in from other colleges
of increased efficiency is a fact, but it’s
including other branches of CUNY, JM: The fundamental communications
also a fact that for many companies,
and sometimes they come from other skills of reading, writing, critical think-
revenues and volumes are going up.
departments of NYCCT. The Internet is ing, and problem solving will always
That creates job opportunities for our
quite an effective recruiting tool for us— be essential. In general, though, our
when students find our Web site, they educational mantra is “learn, unlearn,
contact us for information. The college WTT: What kinds of support is the relearn.” It means helping students to
also invites CUNY applicants to attend department receiving from the industry understand that because the industry
the department’s open-house recruiting in the NYC-metro area? constantly changes, the purpose of
events in the spring and fall. education is to prepare them to accept
JM: The department has the guidance
and cope with change throughout their
WTT: What kinds of careers do your of an advisory commission made up
graduates go on to pursue? of industry professionals on both the
design and the production sides. We WTT: How do you keep your curricula
JM: Our design students become art
also have very good relationships with up to date with all of the rapid changes
directors, creative directors, graphic
some of the major equipment ven- in industry technology?
designers, Web designers, and comic
dors, and they have been very gener-
book illustrators. It can be hard to keep JM: It’s vital that we interact with
ous—one of them, for example, recently
track of them after graduation because industry organizations as much as pos-
donated a $60,000 folder for our binding
they move around constantly—they sible, and we do that by maintaining
© 2006 What They All rights reserved.

regular contact with associations like the have a lot of success stories out there Invitations also were sent to a list of
Partnership in Print Production (P3) here now, and they are really starting to help subscribers in education maintained by
in the metro area. We also meet with us. WhatTheyThink.
employers and attend various industry
As of this writing, the survey has drawn
events. Beyond that, it’s a matter of
Voices from the Academy: Graphics responses from 37 educators represent-
doing your homework and reading the
Educators Speak Out About the ing approximately the same number of
literature, always keeping your finger in
Place, Pace, and Progress of Degree schools offering degrees in print produc-
the wind so that you can know which
Programs tion, graphic design, and related fields.
way it’s blowing.
by Patrick Henry Twenty respondents offered additional
WTT: Do you believe that the industry comments online, and we conducted
seriously committed to educating its next follow-up telephone interviews with
While an elite printing college in
generation of employees, or is there seven of these sources. We present the
California turns away most of its appli-
more that printers and others could be findings not as a scientific or a cross-
cants, a school in Missouri can’t attract
doing to support programs like yours? sectional poll but as a real-time window
enough new printing students to fill the
onto what printing educators are thinking
JM: It’s a hard question to answer, but strong local demand for its graduates.
about and contending with as the nature
when we meet with the technology ven-
In New York City, the director of a post- of their discipline changes as rapidly as
dors to discuss the role that they can
graduate degree program for graphic the industry from which the discipline
play, they often get very interested in
communications recruits CEOs as arises.
partnering with us. Sometimes they do it
adjunct professors. Meanwhile, in Grand
partly for reasons of self-interest, seeing Solid and Stable
Forks, ND, an educator wonders where
it as an opportunity to brand the students
the extra teaching help will come from if If the numbers can be said to hint at
with their products. But they also recog-
interest in her department’s new degree general trends in higher education
nize that NYCCT and other schools are
in graphic design technology takes off. for printing, the institutional ground
the sources of future talent for the indus-
underneath these schools appears
try, so their desire to help us is genuine. At a publicly funded college in Lancaster
to be solid. Better than half (57%) of
County, PA, they’re still trying to figure
WTT: Are your students aware of the WhatTheyThink’s respondents teach in
out how much a 15% school-wide bud-
assistance that’s available to them graphic communications programs that
get cut is going to cost the institution’s
from the Print & Graphics Scholarship enroll more than 100 students. The sta-
printing program. The head of that
Foundation? bility of the enrollment is noteworthy, with
department thinks that an industry fund
87% reporting that their class lists have
JM: At NYCCT, 80% of incoming fresh- from check-offs on sales of ink and
either increased (41%) or stayed the
men receive needs-based aid, as do equipment would help schools like his
same (46%) compared with last year. By
65% of continuing students. PGSF defi- overcome some of the obstacles they’re
and large, the respondents have a san-
nitely is one of the sources of assistance facing.
guine outlook about the place of printing
that we try to acquaint our students with.
As these anecdotes suggest, respon- studies in academia. Fewer than half
WTT: What’s the outlook for education in dents to WhatTheyThink’s online survey (43%) rated “justifying the continuation of
graphic communications at NYCCT? of graphic arts educators shared a wide our program at this college or university,”
range of experiences when asked to a concern, while the remainder said they
JM: I’m very optimistic. When our facili-
expand upon their answers in follow-up were “confident in this area.”
ties are fully expanded and upgraded,
interviews. The survey, conducted as
the Department of Advertising Design All told, these programs—staffed by
part of this week’s editorial focus on
and Graphic Arts will be a destination a total of 544 full- and part-time fac-
the Printing and Graphics Scholarship
for any student seeking a first-rate edu- ulty members—have awarded more
Foundation (PGSF) and other edu-
cation in the field. We’re planning to than 2,000 two-year, four-year, and
cational subjects, invited responses
expand our partnerships with industry, advanced degrees in 2006. Nearly eight
from colleges and universities listed in
and we’re also looking forward to work- in 10 (78%) offer bachelor’s degrees;
PGSF’s 2005-2006 Directory of Schools.
ing more closely with our alumni. We associate degrees and certificates are

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


available from more than half (53%). still considerable percentage (45%) said Dennis Smith, chair of the department
Master’s degrees can be pursued at 15 that classes in MIS for printing can be of printing and imaging technology man-
of the schools represented. found in their course catalogs. agement at Ferris State University (Big
Rapids, MI), thinks that federal “No Child
Three of the institutions offer doctoral The central place of student internships
Left Behind” requirements and other
studies programs. in graphic communications degree
back-to-educational-basics initiatives
programs is seen in the fact that 86%
As for the kinds of subjects students will only increase the pressure to cut
of respondents say that their programs
that students tackle in pursuit of these “extracurricular” high school programs in
offer and in many cases require intern-
graphic communications degrees, it’s areas like music, art, and, unfortunately,
ships for credit. An equal percentage
necessary to point out that “graphic printing.
say that their graduating students can
communications” includes programs that
take advantage of employment referral Glitz, Glamour, and a Dime a Dozen
have a strong, multi-unit printing com-
programs that frequently land them jobs
ponent and others in which the study Smith also notes that some kinds of col-
at the same companies where they did
of printing might be limited to a single lege-level graphic communications pro-
their internships.
course. Some programs are heavily grams do better than others in terms of
oriented toward graphic design, while Such are the numbers. Personal attracting applicants, but not necessarily
others emphasize print business man- responses to survey’s open-ended ques- for the right reasons.
agement over print manufacturing. In tions shed more light on the challenges
“If you include graphic design, our
the middle are more traditional programs of teaching graphic communications in a
enrollment is very healthy,” he says. “On
that make production technologies their university setting.
the printing and imaging side, though,
focal points.
We wanted to know why, if present we face challenges.” According to Smith,
Equivalents of the Three Rs enrollment appeared stable, more than students who treat computerized graphic
two-thirds (68%) of respondents said design as the “fun part of the business”
That said, the breakdown of responses
that continuing to attract students was tend to pursue study tracks that promise
by type of course offered shows that all
something they were “somewhat con- “glitz and glamour” gratification without
of the schools stress the kinds of practi-
cerned” or “very concerned” about. The requiring too much attention to the mat-
cal skills that employers expect holders
explanations touch upon issues that ter of how the work will be produced.
of graphics degrees to possess. For
should be of as much concern to the
instance, nearly all (94%) respondents Dougherty, the immediate past presi-
industry as they are to the educators.
said that their programs teach desktop dent of the International Graphic Arts
publishing. Tied for second place in According to Dennis Dougherty, one of Education Association (IGAEA), claims
popularity are prepress and offset lithog- two full-time instructors in the graphic that this educational fallacy has bad
raphy, cited by 89% as course offerings. communications and printing technology consequences for the industry’s talent
Training in multimedia/integrated media program at Thaddeus Stevens College pool. “Graphic designers are like bank
is a close third, with 82% of respondents (Lancaster, PA), some of the difficulty vice presidents today: a dime a dozen,”
saying their programs teach it. The stems from a general shift in thinking he says. “I’ve spoken with many print-
broad availability of digital printing (75%) about the need to teach subjects like ers who’ve told me that they’ll never
and wide format inkjet printing (64%) printing. “When we turned away from hire another graphic designer because
reflects the growth of those technolo- the industrial arts, we lost the feeder they’re constantly designing things that
gies. programs that many of our students are difficult if not impossible to print.”
once came from,” he says.
The coursework doesn’t stop with put- Dr. Lynda Kenney is determined to keep
ting ink and toner on paper: nearly The same point is made by Dr. Mark L. this schism out of the degree program
three-quarters (72%) of the respondents Rankin, professor of graphic arts tech- in graphic design technology that she
said their schools also teach binding nology management at the University administers at the University of North
and postpress. Business management of Central Missouri (Warrensburg, MO). Dakota (Grand Forks, ND). “It’s very
for printing was cited as a course topic “The high school programs that used important that designers know printers,”
by about two-thirds (62%); a smaller but to send us students no longer exist.” she says. “I tell all of my students, ‘Go

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


find a printer, and make him your best Relation of Location to Vocation spending years at relatively low pay on
friend.’ Not enough designers know the the programs’ tenure tracks. That dif-
The survey identified “finding quali-
print world.” ficulty is compounded when the school
fied instructors” as the second most
is situated in an upscale locale like Cal
Printing’s unfair but enduring ink-under- frequently cited concern, with 71% of
Poly’s. The cost of living in and around
the-fingernails reputation is something respondents saying they were some-
San Luis Obispo, admits Levenson,
else that can work against enrollment. what or very concerned about keeping
makes some candidates “balk” when
Philip Ruggles, who taught estimating up both the numbers and the quality of
they discover how high it is.
and other subjects for 34 years in the their teaching staff. Here, geography
graphic communications department at clearly is a factor. Blake notes that Donations Walk a Two-Way Street
California Polytechnic State University the good fortune of being located in a
The number one area of concern, cited
(San Luis Obispo, CA), says that “the global media center enables NYU to
by 76% of respondents, was “obtain-
word ‘printing’ doesn’t seem to drive engage adjunct professors “who are at
ing graphics equipment and supplies
much interest” among students looking the top of their game” in terms of pro-
for teaching purposes.” As a follow-up,
for stimulating career paths. Rankin, fessional achievement. She says that
we asked whether local printers and
who says he can’t graduate as many for students in her degree programs,
technology vendors were assisting
students as printers in the Kansas City “there’s a good chance that the instruc-
the schools with adequate donations
and St. Louis areas want to hire, like- tor is a CEO who happens to be a very
of these essentials. All of our sources
wise blames “the public perception of good teacher as well.”
said they were grateful for the level of
the industry as not an attractive alterna-
Smith, on the other hand, acknowl- support they were receiving, but some
tive for college students.”
edges that because his program is not made pointed observations about what
Nevertheless, some campuses are based in a major metropolitan area, it it takes to keep the material assistance
doing a brisk business in sign-ups does not have the option of building a flowing.
for their graphics studies programs. large staff of adjuncts. The problem, he
According to Ruggles, it’s all about
Kenney is happy to report that hers says, lies not so much in maintaining
relationships: school-donor partnerships
is “busting at the seams” despite the adequate numbers as in making sure
that have to be cultivated and main-
fact that the offering is only a year old. that faculty members stay current with
tained by the recipient in a methodical
Bonnie Blake, acting director of the the technologies they are teaching,
M.A. program at the Center for Graphic given their day-to-day class loads.
Communications Management and Schools that want donations of equip-
This is a challenge well understood by
Technology, New York University (New ment, he says, “must do more than
Kenney, who says that “higher educa-
York, NY), says that curriculum revi- shake hands at Graph Expo.” Above
tion is notorious for lack of funding” in
sions and the close involvement of a all, they must recognize the quid pro
areas like professional development.
high-level industry advisory board have quo nature of industry support: “The
“We don’t have any funding unless I go
helped the program to achieve a “sharp vendors have to feel they’re going to
out and find it.” That can be hard on
increase” in registrations. get something back for it. They don’t
her pocketbook: she says that of the six
ask for special favors, and they’re not
And, negative perceptions about print- industry conferences she has attended
trying to get a leg up on hiring your
ing don’t seem to have done much this year, only one of the trips was reim-
graduates, but they do want to be rec-
damage at Cal Poly, which Dr. Harvey bursed, leaving her to pay her own way
ognized.” Installation ceremonies and
Levenson, the head of its graphic on the other five.
similar gestures that generate favorable
communications department, calls “an
Some programs require all instruc- p.r. have helped Cal Poly build “long
almost impossible university to get into.”
tors to have postgraduate degrees, term friendships” with the vendors and
He says that keeping to the depart-
a stipulation that keeps otherwise can do the same for other schools,
ment’s 300-student quota obliges him
qualified industry professionals out of Ruggles says.
to reject three-quarters of the qualified
classrooms. Professional educators
applicants who come looking for places. At the University of Central Missouri,
may be deterred by the prospect of
says Rankin, the partnership goes

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


beyond publicity in a reciprocal arrange- Ruggles says it’s conceivable that a ulate individuals who aren’t afraid to look
ment that repays the donor’s generosity printer seeking an entry-level employee people in the eye” to work out problems
in kind. He explains that the school’s who can hit the ground running might and get things done.” Five years ago, in
printing technology management pro- prefer someone with a year of experi- a curriculum planning survey he under-
gram acquired a flexographic press with ence and no degree to an applicant with took for Cal Poly, Ruggles discovered
the help of an ink manufacturer that sup- a two-year degree and no related job that the area of study rated most impor-
plied most of the funding. The press is a history. Other than in cases like that, he tant by industry professionals was “inter-
teaching platform, but it’s also used for and our other six sources believe that personal communications skills.” Nothing
material testing, employee training, and printers do esteem academic training— in the responses to WhatTheyThink’s
R&D on behalf of the ink maker: “a win- but only to the extent that the schools survey suggests that employers or
win for both parties,” says Rankin. align their graduates’ skills with the educators place any less value on that
actual requirements of the industry. fundamental skill set today.
Dougherty, who says that Thaddeus
Stevens College lost many thousands of Blake says that NYU preserves the
dollars worth of funding after a friendly alignment by closely monitoring the
How To Meet
state legislator was voted out, maintains progress of its students, “being atten-
the Obligation
that industry support is crucial to keeping tive to their goals, watching where the
“To Do Right by
college-level printing programs intact. industry is going, and matching its needs
the Industry”: A
What ought to be in place, he says, is a to their goals through careful individual
Conversation with
covenant for “a flowback of a percentage advisement.” She adds that with the
John Berthelsen,
of each sale for self-support.” Money guidance of its advisory board, the NYU
Chairman of PGSF
raised in this way could fund grants program continuously revises its curricu-
by Cary Sherburne
for the equipment that schools need. lum to incorporate training in whatever
Dougherty says it could also pay for pro- new technology management skills will
motional efforts aimed at marketing the make its graduates more desirable to
As part of our series on the work of
industry: say, 0.1% of revenue from ink hire.
PGSF, WhatTheyThink spoke with John
sales earmarked for a “Got Ink?” cam-
The need to retool the graphic commu- Berthelsen, president, Suttle-Straus,
paign along the lines of “Got Milk?”.
nications coursework is also recognized Inc., Waunakee, WI, and chairman of
Degrees of Respectability at Ferris State University, which estab- PGSF, to learn more about PGSF strate-
lished a bachelor of science degree in gic initiatives and how graphic communi-
Our final query was prompted by an
new media printing and publishing four cations professionals can get involved.
anonymous comment:
years ago. Smith says that the program
WTT: John, thanks for taking the time
“Commercial printers need to recognize combines elements of the school’s data
to speak with us today. How did you
the value of a degree, regardless of management curriculum—programming,
initially get involved with PGSF?
type, when offering a position to a new database design, software systems,
hire or recent college graduate. Local and networking—with conventional and JB: I had some familiarity with some
companies often offer a graduate of an digital printing subjects. The structure of the people on the PGSF board, and
associate degree program the same of the degree probably would find favor I was becoming increasingly aware
starting salary of someone walking in off with Levenson, who says that printing of the need in the industry for helping
the street. If they want to hire educated employers want to hire “management some of the younger folks with scholar-
young men and women, they need to and service people” well versed not just ships to help them get through school.
communicate that to the graduates and in production technologies but also in As an industry, we are challenged with
the schools they come from with mean- the workflows that maximize their effi- attracting new talent to our businesses.
ingful starting salaries.” ciency. I felt the work PGSF was doing was an
important element in making it possible
The question was, do printing compa- “In a university program,” says Ruggles,
for young people to get the education
nies, as prospective employers, truly “curriculum is the house you live in.”
they need to contribute to the future of
respect the value of degrees in graphic Students who leave the house for the
our industry. Additionally, PGSF works
communications? plants and offices of the industry need to
to build awareness about the exciting
be “educated, knowledgeable, and artic-
© 2006 What They All rights reserved.

careers the graphic communications individuals, typically a legacy from and valuable, and it has gotten quite a
industry offers these days. Attracting an estate. Suttle-Straus created an wide distribution over the last year and
students to graphic communications endowment a couple of years ago a half. Over 800 CDs have now been
programs is also challenging. By being that we are converting to a Gutenberg distributed. Based on production com-
actively involved with PGSF, I felt I Scholarship. We had been doing four mitments from those that have printed
could contribute on all these fronts. scholarships annually at the lower level the booklet, there are probably 250,000
and now will be granting a single larger in circulation. In the case of Suttle-
WTT: How many scholarships have
one. Straus, we have put our own informa-
been granted over the years and how
tion on the back page, and we distribute
many are generally granted annually? WTT: What types of programs are eli-
it when we conduct plant tours as well
gible for these scholarships?
JB: Over 8,000 scholarships have as give it to local schools. We use it as
been awarded since 1956. The aver- JB: When people think about scholar- an effective recruiting tool.
age annual number of scholarships ships, they typically think about four-
WTT: What is the booklet called and
awarded is 250. year colleges and universities. And
how can people access it?
there are lots of great programs in those
WTT: You are just beginning the sec-
institutions. But scholarships can also JB: It is called Careers in Graphic
ond year of a two-year term as chair-
be designated for vocational/technical Communications: A Student’s Guide,
man. What are some of the key initia-
schools and many of our scholarships and you can place an order online or
tives you have planned for the coming
are so designed. These programs are call or email Bernie Eckert, (412) 259-
often overlooked, and there are a lot of 1740. The brochure can be provided
JB: We are continuing to build the trust students who need help getting through on a CD or be downloaded electroni-
fund through fundraising to be able to those types of programs. It is valuable cally. It is readily adaptable for produc-
fund as many scholarships as possible. for them to have scholarships, and tion on a digital or offset press, and is
Our typical scholarship is $1,250, but these students have a role to play in our a simple 12-page, 5.5” x 8.5” full color
with the cost of education increasing, future as well. booklet that can be easily customized
it is difficult for a $1,250 scholarship to and reproduced.
WTT: What is the Foundation doing
be meaningful. With that in mind, we
relative to outreach, to educate students WTT: In addition to using the booklet,
have established a new level of scholar-
and their parents about career opportu- what else do you recommend to graphic
ship at $5,000, called the Gutenberg
nities in graphic communications? communications service providers in
Scholarship. That means that we will
terms of attracting talented people?
be granting fewer—but more meaning- JB: High school students may not even
ful—scholarships within the context of think of our industry when they are con- JB: It is always a challenge finding
this new program. Initially, four or five sidering their career options, and that people, and you have to use a lot of
of our endowments will be granting continues to be a problem. So we are different vehicles to recruit and to stay
scholarships at this higher level. As time doing everything we can do to put our visible. Some of those vehicles include
goes on, we hope we will have more industry in front of guidance counselors plant tours, keeping your name visible
donors who will be interested in endow- and others in the high school environ- in local media and in trade magazines,
ing that level of scholarship. ment to make them aware there are and working with local schools. We
scholarship and funding opportunities do all of that at Suttle-Straus. Offering
WTT: What are we talking about in
as well as lots of exciting career oppor- internships is another avenue compa-
order for an endowment to be able to
tunities for those that are interested. nies could consider.
support a Gutenberg Scholarship?
To further this aim, the Foundation has WTT: John, thanks for sharing informa-
JB: It requires about $100,000
produced a booklet that is available tion about PGSF with us. Is there any-
endowment level to fund a Gutenberg
on a CD in PDF files that local printing thing else you would like to add before
companies can reproduce and distribute we close?
WTT: Are these typically individuals or to schools either as a PDF or a printed
JB: I would like to encourage both
companies that donate at this level? booklet, however they choose to distrib-
companies and individuals to consider
ute it. We have found it to be effective
JB: It is a combination. Some are getting involved with PGSF—sponsor-
© 2006 What They All rights reserved.

ing a scholarship, distributing the focus my efforts on my studies by munications, such as the Graphic
booklet, and working to raise aware- lightening the financial burden of my Communications Management degree
ness about the career opportunities education. offered at University of Wisconsin
the graphic communications industry Stout, will provide the benefits of a
WTT: How much influence did the
offers. I consider it an industry obliga- business degree with additional focus
scholarship ultimately have on your
tion. If you stick your head in the sand, on areas unique to our business.
ability or desire to work in our industry?
you are not fulfilling your obligation to
Doug Yeager, Assistant Chairman/
do right by the industry. It is a large AH: By demonstrating the industry’s
COO, Alcom, Harleysville, PA
and diverse industry, and we all have commitment to supporting the educa-
to do our part. You can’t expect other tion of its future members, the scholar- WTT: What year were you a scholar-
people to carry all the water. If we all ship reinforced my desire to be a part ship recipient?
do our part, it benefits everyone. To get of the industry.
DY: 1977.
more information, your readers should
WTT: What is your advice to today’s
feel free to contact any of the officers WTT: How did the scholarship help
high school students, their parents and
of the PGSF board, or Ted Ringman, you pursue your educational aims?
advisors, relative to career opportuni-
who is our point man on development.
ties in the graphic communications DY: The scholarship basically helped
industry and what should they be con- me put myself through college. With
The Value of PGSF Scholarships sidering in their educational endeav- scholarships like PGSF, students are
in Building the Talent Pool: What ors? allowed to pursue a career at possi-
Recipients Say about the Difference bly a private university versus maybe
AH: Like many industries today,
It Made to Them going to a two-year school or not being
graphic communications has been
by Cary Sherburne able to attend a university at all. My
affected by many factors including
educational aims were to get a degree
technological advances and increas-
from the best possible university. I
As part of our coverage of the great ing global competition. These pres-
was able to achieve that goal with the
work that the Print and Graphics sures have increased the demand
help of PGSF as well as other scholar-
Scholarship Foundation (PGSF) is for employees with not only industry
ships. While higher education is not
doing to encourage students to pursue knowledge but also with strong busi-
a goal for every high school student,
careers in graphic communications, ness skills and the desire to lead
the need for scholarships like PGSF
WhatTheyThink contacted several through times of change. The graphic
is growing every year as the costs of
scholarship recipients, asking them communications industry is attractive
higher education continue to increase.
how the scholarships helped them and because of the multiple career paths
what their advice to today’s students available, such as sales, management, WTT: How much influence did the
would be. Here are their responses. customer service or research and scholarship ultimately have on your
development in a variety of different ability or desire to work in our industry?
Anne Hibl, Process Improvement
Engineer, Banta Corp., Menasha, WI DY: I don’t think the scholarship ulti-
For any student with an interest, I mately influenced my desire to be part
WTT: What year were you a scholar-
would highly recommend starting with of the graphic arts industry. I knew
ship recipient?
high school graphic arts courses in from junior high school that I wanted to
AH: 2000. addition to taking advantage of any be a part of the printing and publishing
opportunity for a youth-apprentice- industry. I would have somehow found
WTT: How did the scholarship help
ship program that partners with local a way to make that happen.
you pursue your educational aims?
industry. After high school, a four-year
AH: The scholarship allowed me to degree focusing on graphic com-

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


I think PGSF certainly had an influence that afford many individuals fulfilling and Foundation, the thing that attracted me
on my being able to finish four years of satisfying jobs. to it was its close relationship to the
higher education. field I was entering. Also enticing was
My advice to advisors would be very sim-
the fact that applying for the scholarship
WTT: What is your advice to today’s ilar to my advice to parents. Do not dis-
was a one-time deal. When you apply
high school students, their parents and courage students from pursuing careers
to PGSF, you only have to apply once,
advisors, relative to career opportunities in the graphic communications industry.
and your scholarship renews each year,
in the graphic communications industry Do some research, get some tools that
as long as you keep your GPA above
and what should they be considering in promote our industry. There are schools
a 3.0. The only thing you have to do is
their educational endeavors? and universities that cover the United
each quarter (or semester, depending
States and offer degrees in our industry.
DY: My advice to students would be on the school) is send your grades and
to explore the graphic communications WTT: Is there anything else you would a letter updating PGSF and your donor
industry as a career choice and to not like to add about PGSF and its work? on how you are doing and what you are
listen to anyone who might comment learning. Therefore, this scholarship has
DY: PGSF is the foremost scholarship
that it is a dying industry and that all jobs been recurring for me every year at RIT,
foundation in our industry. It is supported
in the industry require you to get your including this academic year.
by companies and individuals alike
hands dirty, or that job opportunities in
who either are or have been somehow WTT: How is the scholarship helping you
the industry are low paying. The graphic
involved in our wonderful industry. The pursue your educational aims?
communications industry is in desperate
goals of the foundation are to continu-
need of a younger workforce. Computer BY: By requiring me to keep a GPA of
ally promote our industry and to offer as
technology continues to be a bigger part 3.0 in order to keep my scholarship,
many high school and college students
of our industry each and every day. We PGSF gives me an extra incentive
the opportunity for higher education as
are going to need to rely on the talents for maintaining good grades, which is
possible. They have the support of our
of young adults to run our businesses always helpful. Also, by having to send
industry not only from a funding point of
and take our companies into the future. an update at the end of every quarter,
view, but from an involvement and sup-
Our industry needs to work smarter, not it gives me a good chance to reflect on
port point of view. They try to remain
harder. how well I did, what classes were good,
in contact with as many of the gradu-
what classes weren¹t so good, and
You just need to believe that higher ates as possible and value the students
a general overview of how I’m doing.
education is a possibility if you have the that graduate and become a part of the
Sometimes you don¹t realize how well
desire, no matter what you are being told graphic communications industry.
your classes went until you sit back and
about the cost or anything else. There
Bryan Yeager, Student, Rochester write about them.
are many, many opportunities for college
Institute of Technology (RIT)
funding in the way of scholarships such When I found the scholarship online, my
as PGSF. You just need to be diligent (Editor’s note: Bryan is Doug Yeager’s dad pushed me to apply for it, but I don’t
and work hard, and you can make your son and is an example of the multigen- think it really hit me at the time how cool
dream of a college degree a reality. erational impact PGSF has had on our it was that it was generational. I went to
industry.) RIT not knowing exactly what to expect,
My advice to parents would be to encour-
but once I got into the groove of taking
age your child to explore the possibility WTT: You are currently a student at RIT.
classes and finding out exactly what the
of a career in the graphic communica- Is your scholarship for the 2006/2007
subject matter was, I embraced it. When
tions industry. Remember that, no matter school year?
I started writing my letters at the end of
where you go, or what you handle or do
BY: I’ve been a student at RIT in the every quarter, that’s when it really hit
in any given day, you are being touched
School of Print Media since 2004. Once me about how important the scholarship
by the graphic communications industry.
I got accepted to RIT in December of was to my education, and also about
Think about it. Billboards, packaging of
2003, I started looking for scholarships how cool it was that I was following in my
any kind, currency, M&M’s: just a very
with resources on the Internet, as well as dad’s footsteps in more ways than one.
few examples of how our industry touch-
resources from my high school. When I
es everyone on a daily basis. We are Aside from the scholarship, I’d say an
found the Print and Graphics Scholarship
not a dying industry. We offer careers even bigger factor in pursuing my edu-
© 2006 What They All rights reserved.

cation to its fullest is my dad, because business side to workflow, digital asset saw enrollment growth. When asked,
it’s great to be able to come home and management, and database publishing high schoolers rated printing just above
have that whole extra realm that we jobs on the premedia side. There’s a job farming and just below fast food. Today,
can both relate to. We went to Print 05 for everyone, from the business-oriented there are fewer than 5,000 students
together, and we were both at Graph student to the technical-oriented student enrolled in graphic arts two- and four-
Expo this year. It’s just been an awe- like myself. year degree programs--and over 40,000
some experience to have that extra students enrolled in graphic design
WTT: Is there anything else you would
something. I like to try to impress my programs.
like to add about PGSF and its work?
dad, and he’s definitely a driving factor.
College programs exist because there
BY: PGSF is a wonderful foundation
WTT: How much influence do you think are students—no students, no program.
to help foster and support education in
the scholarship will ultimately have Four-year college printing programs
the Graphic Arts. It’s now fueling a new
on your ability or desire to work in our face a dilemma: the need for gradu-
generation of bright young minds in the
industry? ates is high, but interest in attending is
printing industry who will hopefully feel
low. Traditionalists said that promotion
BY: PGSF, along with its parent orga- compelled to give back just like PGSF
should emphasize printing. This was
nization of PIA/GATF and other orga- has. Watch out for more good things to
met with a giant yawn by high schoolers.
nizations that promote education such come in the next five years.
Parents would ask, “Why should I pay
as the Technical Association of the
tuition for my kid to be a press opera-
Graphic Arts (TAGA), have all been
tor?” I once answered that their child
a strong influence in expanding my Future of Graphic
would probably never run a press but
desire to learn, as well as to contribute Arts Education
would manage a plant filled with them. I
to the printing industry. I have always = Future of the
added parenthetically that press opera-
been interested in the education field Graphic Arts
tors were paid more than me.
myself, and organizations like these by Frank Romano
help make it possible to expand minds Over the years, curriculum changed to
and educate, whether it involves fund- reflect technology and industry changes.
ing students like PGSF does, or holding In the 1940s, letterpress dominated.
seminars, conferences, and pushing Schools moved into litho teaching in
research to move our industry forward. the 1950s. Some were still teaching
Every industry needs an educated
hot metal type as late as 1994. They all
WTT: What is your advice to today’s workforce to advance into the workplace
changed curriculum to meet the needs
high school students, their parents and of the future. This is a challenge for
of the industry, some sooner and many
advisors, relative to career opportunities industry and education alike. In 1980,
later. Do we wait until CtP and PDF
in the graphic communications industry U.S. graphic arts colleges had about
workflows are entrenched? Do we delay
and what should they be considering in 20,000 students enrolled, most of whom
teaching digital printing until everyone is
their educational endeavors? had taken graphic arts in high school or
using it? Look at the changes in technol-
had family members in the industry. In
BY: People not involved with the graphic ogy that have occurred in the last five
the late eighties, high schools started to
arts have a misconception about what years alone.
phase graphic arts programs to desk-
the industry is really like. There is a
top publishing. Laser printers and PCs Fresh Out of Freshmen
lot more involved these days in the
were cheaper than printing presses and
process of putting ink on paper. The Our industry needs graduating seniors
graphic arts equipment. Kids spent more
printing industry is one of the largest and we can’t attract incoming freshmen.
time designing than printing.
manufacturing industries in the United We asked industry suppliers, printing
States, as well as the world, and even You can plot the decline in graphic arts and related companies, association
as technology evolves, that technology college enrollment from that time, as managers, and others. The problem
is integrated with the industry. There are more high schoolers decided to pursue was marketing. We could teach the core
a lot more positions for young, educated graphic design rather than printing edu- skills that a graduate needed to get a
minds in the industry today, ranging cations. Colleges saw printing school great job but we had to get them first. It
from customer service and sales on the enrollment decline as design schools came down to what excites high

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.


schoolers. They all have their own computers and they are
into the Internet. They are an MTV and YouTube generation
and, let’s be honest, the word “printing” is a turn-off.

Most four-year graphic arts programs are being renamed

“graphic communication” (sometimes with the ‘s’). Some
include cross-media content: XML, PDF workflow, e-publish-
ing, and more. One is called graphic media, others add the
word publishing, not only to attract students but to reflect
the fact that this was not your father’s (or mother’s) printing
industry any more. One critic claims there will not be printing
managers because the programs are not called printing man-
agement and the curriculum does not look like the one from
1980. The industry does not look like the one from 1980.

In some of my courses, students must create a 100-page

book. The content must be text and images with pagination
and covers. It is output from a laser printer and tape bound.
At first there is grumbling about the project. But when their
books exit the printer, their eyes light up, and at that moment,
I own their soul (in a manner of speaking). They see that they
can create something tangible, and their friends and families
will see and touch it for decades. Show me that Web site proj-
ect 20 years from now.

Graphic arts education must be ahead of the curve so gradu-

ates can help their employers get ahead as well. The printing
company of the future will be an information factory and print
will be only one output. But most schools cannot afford the
equipment and software to teach with—and suppliers can
only support so many schools. We need to promote print as
a viable career opportunity and what we do is so amateurish
as to be ridiculous. Perhaps we need to educate our associa-
tions and suppliers before we can educate students.

It is incumbent on all of us to get involved, as John

Berthelsen, chairman of the Printing and Graphics
Scholarship Foundation, pointed out in his interview earlier
this week. Our future depends on it.

© 2006 What They All rights reserved.