Each day, millions of people read newspapers, books, magazines, cereal boxes and the covers of their favorite audio CDs. They also surf the Internet, view Web pages, wear printed T-shirts, read billboards, receive printed advertisements in the mail and purchase products in printed packages. All these things have one thing in common - graphics and multimedia. Graphics and multimedia technology is one of the largest industries in the U.S. economy, yet it remains relatively unknown to most Americans. Multimedia is the creation and editing of digital media used for business, education or entertainment purposes. This media includes digital images, graphics, audio, video, animations and documents and is used in the creation of Web pages, digital store fronts, interactive pieces, presentations, electronic storybooks, kiosks, tutorials, movies and simulations. The graphics and multimedia field involves all of the people, equipment, materials and processes involved in designing, preparing and reproducing visual images, such as artwork, words, photographs and symbols in printed form on physical media, such as paper, plastic, metal or textiles and in electronic form for the World Wide Web and other multimedia presentations.
The graphics and multimedia program offers a two-year Associate of Science degree and a four-year Bachelor of Science degree that prepare students for successful careers in the fields of print and multimedia technologies. The primary mission of the program is to develop people with critical and analytical thinking skills required in these fields. Additionally, the program:
- Prepares students for advanced careers in the print and media communication field through practical projects and critical-thinking assessments;
- Provides a hands-on learning environment with access to various technologies required to produce industry-standard pieces;
- Involves professors who incorporate industry experience to not only teach, but also to support learning with real-life scenarios and insight; and
- Engages a strong alumni base and network of industry professionals to assist postgraduation job placement.
Graphic communications and multimedia majors are required to complete a series of laboratory classes related to offset lithography, flexography, screen printing, digital imaging and Web publishing. In these laboratory courses, students develop skills in the use of equipment, software, processes and materials and develop the critical-thinking skills necessary to produce a technically accurate finished product. In addition, lecture courses in management, sales, marketing, estimating and cost analysis prepare students for this competitive market. The capstone experience of an internship will provide students with real-world experience and prepare them to take their place in a globally competitive technical environment.
The program has national accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communication (ACCGC).
The graphics and multimedia industry is large and diverse and employs more than 3 million people. This large and ever-changing industry is experiencing a wave of technological advances, which means new skills, new job opportunities and new challenges for graphic professionals. The future for people involved in graphics and multimedia is bright. The size and tremendous diversity of the industry provides a wide variety of career opportunities for men and women of all interests, talents and educational levels. With annual sales in excess of $169 billion, the United States produces more print and related work than any other country. Currently, there is a shortage of skilled graphic employees. Experts predict a continuation of the labor shortage in the industry since many young people are simply unaware of the exciting and job-rich industry. Printing is the third largest manufacturing industry in the United States, and positions can be found in print production, customer service, printing sales, graphic design, digital prepress, quality control, estimating, scheduling, finishing and binding, print buying, World Wide Web publishing, product design, marking, equipment sales, and technical service. Opportunities are also available with advertising agencies, publishers, commercial printers, manufacturers of equipment and graphic communications suppliers, as well as graphic communications electronic and control systems. The program has had a 92 percent placement rate in recent years.
Graphics and Multimedia Student Clubs
Students can join two clubs: the Screen Printing Student Association and the Student Club of Printing House Craftsmen. Student club members perform printing services, conduct industrial tours and attend conferences.
Graphics and Multimedia Scholarships
The Kenny Hager Memorial Scholarship and the Kurt Nordstrom Memorial Scholarship are offered exclusively to graphics and multimedia majors through California University. Scholarships are also available from the Foundation of Flexographic Technical Association and the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation through the Printing Industries of America.