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ACCGC Establishes Sustaining Corporate Affiliate Program: Heidelberg, KPG, and Quad Become First Affiliates

Press release from the issuing company

The Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications (ACCGC) has expanded to include corporate sponsorships. Called the "Sustaining Corporate Affiliate" program, sponsorship is for corporations that see the value of increasingly improved standards of education for collegiate programs offering degrees in graphic communication, graphic arts, printing, imaging, and related areas. The first three ACCGC Sustaining Corporate Affiliates are Heidelberg USA, Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG), and Quad Graphics. Dr. Harvey Robert Levenson, president of the ACCGC, said, "These companies understand that the growth and development of the nation's printing, publishing, packaging, imaging, and supplier companies depends on well educated, trained, and reliable graduates who understand today's technology and management issues, and have a sense of what the industry will need in the future." Each company contributed $5,000 for a lifetime affiliation, and each will have the opportunity to provide input to the components of academic programs related to what the industry is looking for in graduates and to what industry-specific topics should be taught to people soon to enter the field. Heidelberg is the world's leader in sheet-fed press technology, and for years has been a strong advocate of the importance of quality graphic arts education. Larry Kroll, Vice President for Print Media at Heidelberg USA, said, "Whereas standards have become an important part of the graphic communication industry over the past decade, thanks to the ACCGC we now have standards applicable to academic programs preparing our industry's future leadership. Heidelberg supports these efforts as it does professionalism throughout our industry." Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kodak, is one of the world's leading developers and suppliers of technology in electronic and traditional prepress as well as in digital printing. Steve Fullerton, Director of Trade Relations, said, "Kodak Polychrome Graphic's has stood behind quality graphic arts programs for many years, and we have always encouraged our educational programs to maintain high standards through the information and technology that KPG provides. We are pleased to see that through the ACCGC there are now standards applicable to all of our four-year college and university graphic arts programs. We are particularly pleased to support these important efforts that will ultimately improve our industry through well prepared graduates." Quad Graphics is one of the largest commercial printing establishments in the United States focusing on long-run, high-quality printing using a multiplicity of major printing processes. The company understands the intelligence and knowledge base required of its staff and seeks employees from the best graphic communication programs in the nation. Rebecca Miller, Quad's Purchasing Manager said, "Our Corporate Training Program recruits a core of talented graduates who are already well versed in the business and technology of print. We expect them to play significant roles in Quad's future. We are pleased to support the ACCGC in its mission to ensure the highest standards in graphic communication education and the continued viability of these programs at the university level." Levenson, who is also head of Cal Poly's Graphic Communication Department, points out, "The ACCGC is positioning itself to be the leading organization in the world evaluating the credentials, curriculum, laboratories, and capabilities of academic programs that are preparing students to enter our industry. It is imperative that all of these programs receive peer and industry feedback on what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how to improve to better serve their students' preparation to enter the graphic communication profession-a rapidly changing and modern field." To date, three programs have been accredited (Cal Poly, Ferris State, and Florida A&M). Two programs are presently being evaluated, and several more are expected to apply for accreditation over the next year. "The goal," Levenson said, "is to help every graphic arts baccalaureate program optimize its potential through program development and improvement based on self-study, peer review, and industry review. We also want to show college and university administrations that academic programs in our field are viable and needed to serve industry's personnel needs, and these programs should be supported. There is no better way to show this than through an external, independent, program review. The nice thing about the Sustaining Corporate Affiliate program is that it provides companies with the opportunity to support the concept of quality education for all graphic communication programs without showing favoritism towards any one program." The accreditation process takes between one and two years and includes a three-day site visitation by a team of evaluators representing education and industry. While accreditation is presently open to baccalaureate programs, the ACCGC is presently exploring providing accreditation to community college programs. Led by a managing director, an executive committee, and a board of directors representing education and industry, the purpose of the ACCGC is to promote and encourage sound collegiate level educational programs in graphic communication. The ACCGC also seeks to enhance quality of instruction through its self-study requirement and periodic review. Further, the accreditation process strives to stimulate the exchange of ideas between administrative and instructional personnel in academia and personnel in the graphic communications industries. Founded in 1998 as an outgrowth of a GATF ad-hoc committee commissioned to explore the values of accreditation, the ACCGC is now incorporated as an IRS-recognized non-profit 501(c)(3) publicly supported organization. Contributions to the Sustaining Corporate Affiliate are tax-deductible.