Faculty Senate approves changes to photo-illustration


Guests and members of the Kent State Faculty Senate listen and wait to hear their name during roll call on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

Megan Hermensky

Kent State’s Faculty Senate approved revisions to the photo-illustration major at its November meeting Monday.

Currently, the School of Visual Communication Design offers a Bachelor of Science degree in photo-illustration. As of fall 2016, the degree will become a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

“Over the years, I think our faculty have felt pretty strongly that the B.S. designation doesn’t fit the nature and scope of the other programs within the school,” said Amy Reynolds, dean of the College of Communication and Information. “One of our goals here is to make this degree standard within the school and the discipline in which it sits. By converting this to a B.F.A, it would allow us to match up with what is the standard degree within the photograph arts.”

Reynolds said several degree requirement changes will be made, including changing the total number of credit hours from 126 to 120 and adding new photo-illustration courses, some existing visual communication design courses and two entrepreneurship courses. Course changes and prerequisite updates will also be included in the degree modification.

Reynolds said she hopes the degree change will make graduate school more accessible to students and increase retention rates in the program.

“We believe it will positively influence our recruiting and retention efforts because there is some amount of confusion around this being positioned as a Bachelor of Science degree,” Reynolds said.

Collaboration with other universities

Provost Todd Diacon also spoke at the meeting about Ohio’s mandated budget law, which requires the board of trustees for state higher education institutions to evaluate enrollment and performance for courses and programs.

For courses with low enrollment, the legislation requires the board to evaluate the benefits of collaborating with nearby higher education institutions to better serve each university.

Diacon said the university has eliminated one Ph.D. program, seven master’s programs, 20 bachelor’s programs and three associate degree programs over the last five years.

“We are ahead of the curve of course and program review,” he said. “In terms of program enrollment, we examined the number of degrees awarded over a five-year timeframe. With very few exceptions, the number of degrees awarded is healthy.”

Kent State is also working to reduce the number of students who drop, fail or withdraw from a course, Diacon said, known as the DFW rate.

The Office of Continuing Distance Education is creating an online assessment that students will take before signing up to for a specific course, allowing the university to filter which students are more likely to succeed in their initial distance-learning course.

“We’ve seen a dramatic reduction in DFW rates over the last three years in courses enrolling more than 100 students,” Diacon said. “We’ve looked at, ‘Do we have appropriate pre-requisites in place for those courses?’ We’ve beefed up supplemental instruction, and we’ve seen a great decline in high-enrollment, high-DFW courses.”

The next Faculty Senate meeting is Dec. 7.

Megan Hermensky is the faculty/academics reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].