By Brooke Stiles
Assistant editor-in-chief AF
With the recent inauguration of the Water School, the opening of the new recreation center, and the start of construction on the School of Entrepreneurship, it is clear that Florida Gulf Coast University is growing.
Additionally, FGCU recently added another big one to its ever-growing list: Digital Media Design. Prior to that, he was only available as a miner.
“We always intended to create a design degree,” said Mike Salmond, Digital Media Design program coordinator. “We had the miner who became wildly popular; then we had the design concentration.
Salmond said that because the minor and the concentration was successful, the design program was launched last semester in response.
Ninety-two students have joined the program since its launch in fall 2019. According to the FGCU website, the program is seen as an umbrella for many disciplines within the creative industries that can advance students in a wide range of careers, from web design to digital. marketing to electronic sports producers.
“I was originally an art major, and I loved it, especially once I saw that there was a concentration in Digital Media Design,” said Levi Stewart, a FGCU junior. “I have always loved art, but the love of digital art has always fueled it. “
Steward watched shows like Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z when he was younger. It fascinated him to see the drawings move, speak and breathe.
“I’ve always wanted to create something of my own,” said Stewart, “so animation has always been my long-term goal.”
Within the Design Program, students can gain experience in a variety of design mediums, from interactive design to video game design and, the most recent addition, animation. Originally the program, Salmond was a one-man show dealing with the administration of the program.
Eventually, Dr. Rama Karl Hoetzlein became an extension of the program, which opened the door for more courses. Hoetzlein has a background in 3D animation, which students have wanted for some time now.
“Our main specialty would be interactive design, but we’re also adding 3D animation,” Salmond said. “We are building a program based on what I want and what Dr. Rama wants it to be.”
According to Salmond, as new faculty join the program, it will change based on their disciplines and expertise.
“Our main focus is to look at what the industry wants because we want to be able to put students in positions where they can beat people from other institutions,” said Salmond. “The design is so vast, and that’s why we try to make the students know a bit [about it all]. “
The idea is to expose students to all elements of design so that they are more marketable after graduation.
“I appreciate the major for giving me more insight into different disciplines of art and connecting more directly with my passions,” said Stewart. “Beyond just graphic design and typography classes, the major has things that speak so clearly to the geek sleeping in my chest.”
Not only does Salmond want students to know different features of design, he wants the FGCU to be recognized for developing excellent performers in the workplace.
“I would really love to see more of our students running their own businesses,” said Salmond. “We had two students who started their own design company where they actually hired two of our students, which is fantastic. More of that would be great because this is where innovation happens.
Along with hopes for digital design students beyond college, Salmond said he wanted to complement the major’s significant growth with more faculty, resources and courses available. The students asked about fashion design as well as interior and product design, and Salmond said there was nothing stopping the program from moving into such areas.
By Brooke Stiles