Ivy Tech Community College Mission Statement
We are Ivy Tech, Indiana’s Community College. We serve the people of our state through accessible and affordable world-class education and adaptive learning. We empower our students to achieve their career and transfer aspirations. We embrace our vision of economic transformation inspired by the education and earnings attainment of our citizens, the vitality of our workforce, and the prosperity of our unique and diverse communities.
Visual Communications Mission
The Visual Communications program prepares students to realize their career goals through quality education, global inspiration, and personal validation while guiding students to be responsible contributors to society. The Visual Communications program supports the design community through quality workforce education in the creative fields of design, photography, and technology.
Our program simply has too small a student population to allow us to offer both day and evening sections of classes you need. Many general study electives (like English and Math) will be available in the evenings, but for program specific classes, you should plan on taking classes in the day, and many of these are only offered once a year.
Commercial Art & Fine Arts, the Differences
There is a considerable difference in philosophy and approach between the Ivy Tech Visual Communications Program and the programs of four year fine art schools. The Visual Communication program is focused on:
• preparing you for the work place by giving you the practical skills that are sought by employers in the industry
• creating the type of work you are likely to create after you graduate and which will be assets to your portfolio, which you will show employers in job interviews
• the everyday realities of the industry, rather than the high-concept, high-level management aspects
• the practical and emotional reality of dealing with client feedback, which is typically strongly opinionated and often in conflict with your own aesthetics (by receiving constant feedback from your teachers, frequent feedback from your fellow students, and end-of-semester feedback from experts in industry, in jury)
• extensive training in software; for example, most students receive 128 hours of classroom instruction in Adobe Photoshop
The Big Payoff—Commencement Ceremony
Second-year students typically attend the college commencement ceremony in May, if they will complete their required classes by August. Diploma jackets are handed out at the ceremony, but the actual diploma is not received until all coursework is completed.
Commencement from college is an important landmark and a significant achievement. You have worked hard to earn the right to be celebrated publicly for your achievement. Your parents and family want you to be there. Your instructors hope you’ll be there, too.
The Advisory Board for the Visual Communications Department consists of high-profile members of the Design, Photography, and Web Industries. Twice a year, meetings are held to discuss ways to match the department’s curriculum and projects to what employers seek. Advisory Board members are normally the same industry professionals that sit on the jury for that semester.
Student Technology Fee: A $40 Technology Fee is applied to each student each semester. The technology fee is paid only once per student per semester regardless of the number of credit hours taken. (This fee is nonrefundable after the first week of class).
Consumable Fee: Some of the Visual Communication courses have a consumable fee. This fee covers up to a designated amount of costs to print projects, including ink and paper.
Campus Closures and Delays
Please note that when classes are delayed for any reason, NO CLASSES meet during that time period. An example: two-hour delay (8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.) means classes resume as scheduled at 10:00 a.m. Classes that start and end during a delay are not rescheduled. Once again, some classes begin at 9:30 a.m. and are scheduled to end after classes resumed at 10:00 a.m. In this case,the class meets at 10:00 a.m. and concludes at the regularly scheduled time.
Ivy Tech ALERT is an emergency text message system. Because it is an opt-in only service that broadcasts text notifications directly to your personal cell phone, and/or email address, you must personally request it. To activate, visit www.IvyTech.edu/alert. There is no charge by the college, however, some cellular phone carriers may charge a small text messaging fee.
Why Attendance is Important
At a community college like Ivy Tech, each class builds upon the previous class, and missing even one class may be a serious setback and a significant handicap as you progress to new topics and endeavors. Always keep in mind that your attendance is considered to be a key indicator of your attitude and dedication
Being late for class is serious because it’s impolite and selfish to expect the instructor to get you “caught up” with what you missed, not to mention it irritates and annoys your fellow students for disrupting their class time. Being late also implies to your instructor that you believe our class time is not important.
What to Do if You Miss a Class
When you will be missing a class contact your instructor through e-mail. In many cases, it is essential that you do so before class, however, if that is not possible, do it as soon as possible after the class is missed. This demonstrates to your instructor that you are responsible and want to do your best. If calling, you can leave a message by looking up that instructors phone number on your syllabus. In most cases, your message will be time-stamped, so the instructor will know when you left the message. Oftentimes email is a better way to contact an instructor as they make check these during class breaks.
If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to contact your instructor or a fellow student to find out what assignments are due the next class. You will not be excused from the assignment, or given more time, just because you did not contact anybody. You should contact someone soon after missing the class. (The excuse, “I missed last week, so I didn’t know what the assignment was” is not acceptable.)
Keeping Up with Your Course Work
• For every hour you are in class, you should expect to spend two hours outside of class completing your readings and assignments. Ivy Tech classes are much more challenging than most new students imagine.
• Craftsmanship of a high order is essential in this program. You are expected to take great self-pride in your work. This means that everything you create is printed and mounted with absolute perfection.
• For most everyone, it is simply impossible to work full-time and take a full load of classes. A full-time student will be in class for about seventeen hours during a 16-week session, then should expect another thirty hours plus to do school work; if you add on two or three hours for commuting, you can see that a full load and a full-time job are incompatible. If you attempt to do both, one of them will suffer.
• Your decision to work toward a degree in Visual Communications, and a career as a designer, photographer, or web specialist, indicates that you are willing to make many sacrifices over the years it will take to complete the degree. Your priorities will have to change to reflect that willingness to sacrifice. Please carefully read the “Great Expectations” article in the appendix at the end of this document.
• Drinks and food are disruptive to a college classroom and create a messy environment; the school’s policy is that food and drinks are not allowed in classrooms, however, since most of the Visual Communications classes are 4–6 contact hours, we have a designated table for food and drink and ask that students clean up after themselves when leaving the clasroom. Under no circumstances can you have food or drink at your computer station, whether on the desk or on the floor. Failure to comply may result in this privilege to be taken away.
• Foul language is not compatible with a professional career. Those who cannot control their tongues will be asked to leave the classroom and, ultimately, the program.
• Please realize, your Mom does not work here. Clean up after yourself.
• Plagiarism of ideas is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
• Any student who has clearly and directly stolen a visual idea from other sources (including your fellow students) will automatically receive a grade of “F” for the entire project, with no exceptions.
A major responsibility of your instructors is to critique your work and give you guidance to become better at your speciality. For two years, you will be hearing many critical comments about your work and suggestions to consider for improving that work; if you were perfect, and your work was all perfect, you wouldn’t be a student. You must quickly develop a thick skin and learn not to take these comment personally. No instructor aims to wound you with their comments; it is their job to point out where you can improve — instructors are not paid to be cheerleaders, but to push you so you may rise to the level of excellence you don’t even know yet that you can achieve. Learn to be receptive to criticism, because, when you work with clients, you will constantly be confronted with fussy people who:
• have strong opinions, yet aren’t afraid to express them
• have very ill-equipped aesthetics, yet expect you to come down to their level with your work
• have little or no idea what they want or need, and are quite vague in expressing what they expect, yet expect you to be a magician and come up with a solution that is exactly what they want and need getting your focus
The Visual Communications program is much more rigorous than most students expect when they begin. Graduates of this program compete successfully with those who graduate from four-year art schools, yet have half the time to learn everything they can before landing their first job. You cannot afford to wait a semester or two before getting focused — by then you’re halfway through!
Many students find jobs through their instructor’s references. So, making a good impression on your instructors is vitally important. Being easily upset by constructive criticism, generally demonstrating a poor attitude, rude, impatient, childish, constant tardiness, and leaving messes behind does not work toward that goal.
At some point you may get discouraged and want to give up — if you do, remember, there is a payoff in a fairly short time — in less than two years, you will have a new career, and new source of income, and, probably, a new, much better, lifestyle — it will happen, if you’ll hang in there
The Whiner, the Know-It-All
The Ivy Tech Southern Indiana Visual Communications system has put people into good jobs for more than thirty years. Those students return with profound gratitude for what they learned here. Most “problem” students, typically, are simply inexperienced and immature; the louder and more confrontational they become, the more they embarrass themselves and the more they have to apologize for later, when they grow up and realize how many mistakes they’ve made along the way. Don’t put yourself through this. The system that is in place works, if you will let it. Don’t believe us? We will gladly give the names and phone numbers of graduates who have been in the field for a long time, and you can ask them for yourself. We have absolute confidence in our system, you should too.
Interpreting Your Grades
• your work is on a level comparable to the work done by the best students who have completed the Visual Communications program (note you are not being judged against the students in your class)
• your concept is extraordinarily powerful, inspired, and unique
• you have thoroughly grasped the purpose of the assignment, researched the audience you are trying to reach, studied the work of others tackling the same project (book and magazine research), and your execution is flawless
• the project is virtually portfolio-ready, and ready to be printed
• your work is among the better pieces created by the best students who have completed the Visual Communications program (note you are not being judged against the students in your class)
• your concept is unique and appropriate, but not extraordinary
• your work will be ready for your portfolio after suggested changes
• your work fulfills the requirements of the assignment, but little else
• your concept indicates minimal effort, a weak attempt to grasp the intent of the project, and doesn’t explore creative options
• the work will need to be reworked to be portfolio-ready
• note that a grade of “C” is not the same as “average,” but means that the work is not up to the standards needed to be successful as a designer in the industry (many production-level jobs can be quite fulfilling, and require little or no creative talent)
• your work failed to fulfill the requirements of the assignment
• your concept indicates: a lack of ef fort, failure to grasp the intent of the project, or has no creative spark
• this piece must be reworked from the first step
• a grade of “D” or “F” is not acceptable, and would suggest that you need a major change in effort, attitude, or even program direction
• you have made no attempt to meet the requirements of the project
• a grade of “D” or “F” is not acceptable, and would suggest that you need a major change in effort or attitude
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Remember, grades are not that important in your getting a job. Your portfolio (and interview/people skills) is actually a much more important factor for job placement. Focusing on, and worrying about grades is a terrific waste of your time. Focus instead on your project work and making sure you understand the concepts taught in each class.
Remember, too, that, when your courses are all completed, the difference of one grade (A vs. B, for example) in any one class only affects your grade point average by less than one-tenth of one percent).
If you get a poor grade in a class, you can retake it to improve the grade. For example, if you got a “D” in the class the first time you took it, then got a “B” the second time, the Records Office will wipe out the old grade and replace it with the better grade.
Note that other programs and general education courses may have a different grading policy than those of the Visual Communications Department.
Where to Get the Stuff You Need
7900 Shelbyville Road
Artist & Craftsman Supply
1002 Barret Avenue
Louisville, KY 40204
750 E. Lewis & Clark Pkwy
7500 Jefferson Blvd
968 Breckenridge Lane
Michael’s Arts & Crafts
10221 Westport Road
Michael’s Arts & Crafts
1955 S Hurstbourne Pkwy
Preston’s Art Center
3004 Bardstown Road
Web and Mail Orders
Buying a Computer
You do not need to purchase a computer to complete the courses in the Visual Communications program. The department has more than enough computers, and lab time, to meet all your needs. With that said, to be honest, you should know that the students who have computers at home, decked out with enough memory and software, have a clear advantage over those who do not, except those who live very close to the college and those who have plenty of flexible, free time to spend time in the computer labs. You should be aware too, that the Macintosh remains the prevalent computer in the industry, so knowing the ins and outs of troubleshooting the Macintosh system can be a clear advantage when seeking a job.
Registering for Classes
How to Register for Classes
- It is important to be advised before you register for classes. By not being advised, you could theoretically postpone your graduation date by a year.
- Student Advisor: Your student advisor will help you select and register for your classes, or show you how to make an appointment with your faculty advisor. To locate your student advisor, you can go to Ivy Advising on myivy.ivytech.edu.
- Faculty Advisor: Your faculty advisor may help you select and register for classes or ensure you have registered for the classes that will keep you on track. They will also help guide you as a mentor for your chosen career path. The faculty advisor for the Visual Communications students is Melissa Plush.
- Check class schedules on Campus Connect to see what classes are available and what days and times they are available
- In order to register for courses, you must meet with either your student or faculty advisor to receive your “PIN” number. This will also ensure that you are registering for the courses that will keep you on track for your degree.
- Students may register for courses in one of three ways:
- In person at the Academic Advising Center. You may drop in, but scheduled appointments will ensure you won’t have to sit and wait.
- On the web: To register for courses on the web, log in to Campus Connect and click on the Student Services tab to access course selection and registration.
- By phone: To register for courses by phone, dial 1-877-IVYTECH (1-877-489-8324) to access the STARS telephone registration system. Before dialing, make sure that you have the call numbers handy for each class that you want to add or drop. Call numbers can be found in printed class schedules, or on the web course search.
- You must register and pay all assessed fees in order to attend class. Registration is not complete until all fees are paid.
- Courses begin to fill on the first day of registration, so register as early as possible.
Dropping a Class
- You may drop a class up until the tenth week of a 16-week semester, after which time you may receive a grade of “F.” If you decide to drop a class, it is important that you check with your student advisor or financial aid first as it may affect your student aid.
In the event of extraordinary circumstances (death in family, severe illness, etc.), you will find that everyone at Ivy Tech will bend over backwards to be your ally and supporter. That being said, you should be aware that all teachers dislike giving incompletes, as they are a serious inconvenience to them, and you should avoid creating a poor impression by asking for or needing one.
- An incomplete nearly always snowballs into the next semester, and you will begin your next semester by falling behind, as you try to complete the requirements for your new classes, while you are still struggling with finishing the requirements for the previous semester’s class.
- If you don’t have the right attitude or study skills to complete your coursework at the pace of the rest of your class, you need to identify that quickly and drop out of the class until you have the time and energy to do so. You can usually drop a class without receiving a grade of“F” up until the tenth week of the semester.
- If you realize your study habits and test preparation skills are weak, then it is highly recommended you take “College Success Skills,” a class helps you learn about time management, handling text anxiety, efficient notetaking,and many other useful topics.
Some classes are available on the internet. Check the semester schedules for availability. These classes are only suggested for students who have excellent study skills and very strong self-discipline, as you will be responsible for keeping up without a teacher keeping you on task week to week.
General Education Classes
Why Must You Take Them
The six general education classes you will take are intended to help you become a more thoughtful, resourceful, and adaptable member of society, plus, to help you develop skills that will make you a more well-balanced designer.
You do not have any choices as to which general education classes you take. The six below are all required for your degree.
- Two of the following three Art History classes:
- Art History I: The history of art from pre-history to the Renaissance.
- Art History II: The history of art from the Renaissance to today.
- History of Design
NOTE: You do not have to take Art History I before taking Art History II
- Written Communication: One of the the most common complaints the department receives from industry leaders is that they need people who can design and write. Though you will not be expected to write long documents, you will regularly be communicating in writing with clients and printers, and if you appear illiterate, you represent your company in a very negative way. Plus, if you can write with competence, precision, and persuasion, you are much more likely to be given positions of greater responsibility and, naturally, greater salary. In other words, be very diligent about this class, and take any other writing classes you can find time to take.
- Interpersonal Communication: Communication skills are, also, absolutely essential to be successful in this field. If you wish to rise out of the back offices, where you do not work directly with the public, then your ability to communicate clearly and diplomatically must be well tuned. This class gives you the chance to work on those skills. The ability to make an intelligent, persuasive presentation is sometimes as important as the work itself. A piece with weak design, presented well, can still win over a client.
- Physical Science: In this class you will gain a broader understanding of the world around you, from physics to biological sciences.
- College Math: The statewide college policy is that any educated person with a college degree will be exposed to upper-level mathematics, The reasoning is that upper-level math trains your mind to think with greater clarity and vision.
Academic skills advancement classes
Students who attend Ivy Tech oftentimes need “brush-up” classes before they’re able to take the required program courses. Sometimes this is because creative students are right-brained thinkers and those courses which student’s scores are lower involve left-brain thinking. Another reason students may need these courses is because we haven’t “exercised” that side of our brain in a while. Regardless of the reason, these types of courses will lead us to being “whole-brained” thinkers.
The Jury and How to Survive One
What is a Jury?
Each semester, Ivy Tech’s Visual Communication Department invites three professional creatives to critique student work. Students must present their work as they would to a real world client or employer. In doing so, students not only gain the experience of presenting in front of a group (the judges as well as their peers), they gain the insight provided by those who are working every day in the field of design.
Students wear professional attire and present their portfolio-destined work to the panel by explaining the project’s requirements and then discuss how they arrived at their design decisions, such as concept, image selection and creation, color choices, typefaces used, and audience consideration. Jurors then comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the work.
Why is Jury Important?
The Visual Communications program is portfolio-driven. In the final term of your two-year studies, you must pass a portfolio review which determines if your portfolio is ready to be presented to prospective employers. So, the jury experience could be the only opportunity you will have for direct comments and dialogue from industry professionals before employee interviews.
When you land a job in industry, you will be constantly meeting with clients, and spending considerable time communicating about their needs and your creative solutions; jury is a chance to practice that vital skill. You must be able to generate enthusiasm for your visual solutions and be able to argue intelligently to defend your creative decisions.
It comes down to this: if you are serious about getting a job, you must be serious about jury.
When are Juries Held?
They are normally held the last Thursday of the semester, and typically run from 9:00 to 5:00, with a lunch break. There is no jury during summer semester.
What is the Process to Show Work at Jury ?
Certain course projects will be earmarked by your instructors to show at jury. Those projects must first be presented in critiques held in the individual classes; work not critiqued in the classroom may not be shown at jury, without exception. Reaction from fellow students and instructors are evaluated and necessary improvements are made before the student presents the work at Jury.
Is Attendance at Jury Mandatory?
Attendance at jury is required for all full-time students in the program. Presenting at jury is required for all full-time students starting with your first semester. Missing a jury will cost you the loss of one grade for that class (final grade of “B” becomes a final grade of “C”). Projects need to be approved (in its final format) by the instructor before students present. Craftsmanship is required (no rubber cement residue, crooked mounting or generally sloppy work will be allowed to be presented). Part-time students are highly encouraged to attend and present.
Students are expected to make every possible effort to attend for the entire duration (juries usually last until around 5:00). Even if you show your work early in the day, you are encouraged to remain for the entire jury. This may mean making arrangements with employers, and plans should be made accordingly early in the semester. Why? You will learn a lot of valuable information by listening to what the jurors have to say about other student work. This will help you as you move through the program.
Jury After Party
After jury, Visual Communications students, instructors, and staff have gathered together to celebrate the end of the semester and all that entails. Location varies and is determined by students showing interest. Look for a sign-up sheet in the cutting room if you’re interested in celebrating with us.
Getting Your First Job
Other programs, such as nursing, rely on state exams which test a student‘s readiness for a job. Visual Communications relies on the portfolio to measure your capability to meet professional expectations. Your portfolio is also your “ticket” to success in landing a job — interviews with employers will focus on the strength of your portfolio.
First Job Expectations
Graduating from college is not the end of your education, but the beginning. Most graduates first work in a production department, which involves little creativity. You will have to prove yourself before an employer will trust you to work with clients they may have had a relationship with for many years. This is not bad — you wouldn’t welcome the pressure of a high-profile job right off the bat. This type of experience is extraordinarily valuable — you will never regret this furthering of your education.
There are a wide range of potential jobs available for graduates of this program. A student with a weak portfolio may be a good match for a production or assistant position that requires little creativity or personal initiative, and these jobs can still be personally and financially rewarding.
Those with a strong portfolio, a positive but humble attitude, and good people skills can walk straight into a creative position working directly with clients the first week on the job.
Getting that First Job
Many students get job contacts through the department, which receives requests from employers looking for talented students. So, you should be always conscious that your attitude and performance in the classroom may have a great impact on how often your name comes to the instructor’s mind when receiving these phone calls.
Students also get jobs on their own initiative, through answering ads in newspapers, networking with graduates and others in the field, and mailing out résumés and cover letters. And, some students get job contacts through networking, mostly with students they’ve taken classes with who already have jobs (the classroom is a great place to begin your career network). It’s very wise to relax and be tolerant of differences. Enjoy your fellow students; get to know as many of them as you can, as well as you can — one of them may very well be your key to a great job somewhere down the road.
The Keys to Landing a Good Job
The students who find work in creative situations are those who leave the program with an outstanding portfolio, have a strong work ethic, are responsible and mature, take pride in their work, have good communication and presentation skills, and are persistent at looking for work.
If you are interested in the higher salaries, you should:
• be willing to move to a metropolitan area (Louisville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati), where the jobs are more plentiful, the clients more national in scope, and and salaries more generous
• have a very strong portfolio that demonstrates excellence problem solving skills, creative talent, a strong work ethic, and excellent craftsmanship
• have the kind of people skills that tell your interviewer, “Hire me! I’m not only talented and reliable, but easy to get along, a great listener, and fun to be with.”
Recent graduates have been finding work for as little as $18,000 a year to as much as $35,000 a year. It is strongly dependent on your portfolio, proven work habits, and people skills. Many students relocate in the Louisville area after graduation, as it is a center of commerce and business, and, thus, more, and better, jobs are readily available.
During your last semesters at Ivy Tech, an intern work opportunity can be arranged with the recommendation of the department chair. You may receive credit for this experience, but, beyond this, it is invaluable and highly recommended that you pursue these experiences. Employers look very favorably on those who have both practical skills obtained with a degree, combined with on-the-job experience.
If your work and attitude are good, the department chair will try to arrange interviews with potential intern employers. You will have to “win” over the employer and convince them to give you the opportunity you seek.
If You Have a Complaint
If you have a legitimate complaint or concern, we welcome hearing about it. Our goal is to keep our program the very best one in the state. If you see a problem, or have a suggestion, we will gladly listen to you. If you have a problem with an instructor or a grade you receive, see the instructor first — don’t just blow up and embarrass yourself by coming across as childish. (Adults talk things through and are tolerant and understanding.) All of your instructors have their positions because the department trusts them, and they have proven to be kind and generous toward students; if you have a problem with an instructor, it is nearly always due to misconceptions or miscommunications.
If you still have a complaint, see a full-time instructor to discuss it; do not assume that the problem is insurmountable or will last forever; most problems can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction with a simple talk between the parties. Please keep your complaints and concerns between yourself and the instructor. Students who are complainers create an atmosphere of disrespect and discontent, which creates a very negative learning atmosphere for everyone.
Events and Opportunities You Won’t Want to Miss
If you are determined to be successful in this field, you have to have an active, curious imagination, and feeding your creative muse with visual stimulation is a key to being able to generate unique and cutting-edge work; in that spirit, here are suggestions for events you are encouraged to attend:
• AIGA (louisville.aiga.org): The local graphic design organization where you get access to internationally recognized creative professionals, featured in a series of public lectures, get introductions to new tools and technologies through our educational seminars, and become a part of an atmosphere that stimulates and encourages positive solutions to design related issues. Visit their website for upcoming events.
• Advertising Federation of Louisville (louisvilleadfed.org): See what’s going on in the advertising industry, hear leaders from agencies, media companies and major businesses in all industries share their success stories and ideas and discover new ways of working, new techniques and new opportunities at events held most months. Visit their website for a list of upcoming events.
• First Friday Trolly Hop (firstfridaytrolleyhop.com): It’s an art show. It’s a tourist attraction. It’s a street party. It’s a celebration of downtown Louisville that is bringing new visitors and new life to the Main and Market corridor. FREE, the First Friday Trolley Hop takes place in Louisville on the first Friday of each month from 5-11 p.m., rain or shine. Most of the galleries close around 9 p.m. but the restaurants, clubs, and shops stay open later. The trolleys run until 11 p.m.
• The Speed Art Museum (speedmuseum.org): Located in Louisville, The Speed is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum with over 12,000 pieces in its permanent collection. Its extensive collection spans 6,000 years, ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary art.
• 21c Museum (21cmuseum.org): Located on Main Street in Louisville, 21c Museum is North America’s first museum dedicated solely to collecting and exhibiting contemporary art of the 21st century.
• Never use spray adhesives except in designated areas (outside).
• Never cut on anything other than the cutting mat located in the workroom.
• Those not enrolled in a class are not allowed to sit in the class with other students. This includes children.
• When you encounter problems with the computers in the computer labs, please document the problem on the Mac Computer Issues link on this blog.
And a Few Words of Advice
• Craftsmanship on all projects must be absolutely top-notch if your portfolio is to be noticed for its concepts and creativity, and not for its indication of lack of concern or effort.
• Though you may feel young and immortal, studies show that your performance is severely affected, in many ways, when you do not get enough sleep. You are encouraged to get a minimum of seven hours sleep a night. (See: www.sleepfoundation.org)