Graphic Artists in Training: Patty Bruner’s Pack from left to right—Bandit, Lucy, and Bear

Written by Patty Bruner, Associate Professor, Graphic Arts Technology

Make no bones about it! Assessment for career programs is essential.

The Graphic Arts industry is a highly technical field requiring a range of proficiencies including creative processes, application expertise, and project management practices. And man’s best friend, which encompasses all of these skills, is digital file competencies. Whether a student is entering the design or production field of the vast print industry, getting out of the doghouse and understanding that quality output of designed files are a necessity. Assessment is a way to validate student learning and to quantify the skills achieved.

At Harper, we are faithfully loyal to a very important program learning outcome: Create acceptable print-ready digital graphic files using industry standard preflight criteria.

How is this friendly and exuberant outcome used in the Graphic Arts industry?

  • When working in the Graphic Arts field, files are to be prepared per a preflight checklist.
  • Preflight criteria applies to packaging, photography, production, and general design for print.
  • Even though each company’s workflow may be different, a common checklist is still used.
  • To simplify—use a checklist so you don’t get your tail stuck between your legs!

What do we do to groom students at Harper?

  • We send students barking up the right tree!
  • We measure. Every semester.
  • The preflight checklist is utilized across all sections of many different 100- and 200-level courses.
  • We implement. Extra project-based preflight assignments, as well as review sessions, extra credit, and quizzes for checks and balances are integrated into students’ coursework.
  • The outcome is assessed regularly – to let us as faculty know – that students “get it.”
  • Ultimately, the results do not always meet the standard. And that’s okay.
  • Through this data, we are gaining knowledge about specific areas that may need improvement.

How does this obedience help students leave the den and enter the workforce?

  • When employers ask about the level of technical skills Harper students have, we can show outcome results and improvement processes of these results.
  • At Harper, we show employers that we are serious contenders in students’ preparation for the Graphic Arts industry!
  • And our students can fetch jobs and walk away with the biggest doggie bag!

For more information about assessment at Harper, visit the Outcomes Assessment page on HIP.