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Three Graphic Studies Programs Pursue Accreditation from ACCGC

Press release from the issuing company

By Patrick Henry At Print 05, it was announced that three colleges have submitted their print-related curricula to the scrutiny of the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications Inc. (ACCGC), a voluntary body that vets graphic studies programs for conformance to industry requirements. New York City College of Technology (NYCCT), California University of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania College of Technology are seeking accreditation from ACCGC in a rigorous process that could take up to two years to complete. The candidate programs will undergo a comprehensive evaluation and open their facilities to inspection tours by ACCGC officials. If they are successful, the candidates will join three other four-year graphic studies programs that have earned accreditation since ACCGC—a not-for-profit group of academics, vendor representatives, and printers— began offering it in 1998. ACCGC introduced the candidate schools at a Sept. 10 press conference in which it also announced the appointment of a new managing director, the author and educator Dr. Ervin A. Dennis. Heidelberg USA, Kodak Polychrome Graphics, and Quad/Graphics were recognized as the group’s first three Sustaining Corporate Affiliates. New board members were appointed, and the first Dr. Richard F. Hannemann Service Award, named for the first president of ACCGC, was presented in his memory to his widow. Real response to real needs The group’s current president, Harvey R. Levenson, said that a candidate program earns accreditation by demonstrating that it is capable of graduating students who possess knowledge and skills that will be acceptable to industry employers. Attaining the distinction also improves the program’s standing within its school and raises the profile of graphics education in general, he added. “The goal of the ACCGC 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,” said Levenson, who directs the ACCGC-accredited graphic communications department at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). “We also want to show college and university administrations that academic programs in our field are viable and should be supported. There is no better way to show this than through an external, independent, program review,” Levenson said. Dr. Dennis, the incoming managing director, noted that candidates for accreditation are judged not in comparison to graphic studies programs at other schools, but on the quality of the education they provide using the resources available to them. He said although every program is judged on the basis of its own capabilities, all are measured according to the same 14-point checklist of standards and requirements. Like ISO 9000 for academia These include, among other criteria, existence of a mission statement and clearly defined goals and objectives; evidence of financial support from the parent academic institution; quality of instructional facilities; establishment of standards for curricula and teaching staff; record of job placement for program graduates; and consultation with an industry advisory board. The self-administered accreditation process must be extensively documented and culminates in a three-day site visit by a team of ACCGC evaluators. Candidates pay an application fee of $3,500 and, if successful, a $1,000 annual fee thereafter. The status must be renewed through re-accreditation every six years. The printing and imaging technology management department at Ferris State University is now pursuing re-accreditation. The third currently accredited program is the division of graphic communications at Florida A&M University. “City Tech” relishes the challenge Representatives of the candidate program at NYCCT expressed confidence that their program, the college’s department of advertising design and graphic arts, would win accreditation be the stronger for it. Robin Bargar, dean of NYCCT’s School of Technology and Design, said that undergoing the evaluation would mean “applying ourselves much more thoughtfully with a greater sensitivity to the industry’s needs.” The school that he heads contains the candidate program, which serves more than 1,000 students at NYCCT’s downtown Brooklyn campus. NYCCT is a unit of the City University of New York (CUNY). Known informally as City Tech, the institution calls itself “the senior-level college of technology” of the CUNY system. “We sought out the ACCGC to help us develop a more rigorous criterion for our instruction,” said Lloyd Carr, program director. He said that accreditation would fit in well with an ongoing plan to transform the department of advertising design and graphic arts into a “graphic communications leadership center” for the New York metro region. Joel Mason, chair of the department, said that it also was seeking accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. He described the ACCGC self-evaluation process as more stringent than the self-analysis that CUNY schools periodically must conduct. In other proceedings on Sept. 10, ACCGC announced the addition of three new members to its board of directors: Joseph J. Corcoran II (Vertis Inc.), Patrick Klarecki (Ferris State University), and John A. Laurence (Xerox Corp). The board has a total of 20 members representing education and industry. A 501(c)(3) organization, ACCGC is an outgrowth of an ad-hoc committee formed about 20 years ago by the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation to explore the values of accreditation. For more information, visit www.gitasu.com/accgc