Hurst recognized for design and visual communication

Jillian Marcellin, Staff writer

Mercyhurst University has been named one of the top ten colleges and universities in Pennsylvania offering design and visual communication programs, according to a news release issued by Zippia, a leading online career guidance resource. Each college and university awarded this title must have between 6-87 students graduating in Design and Visual Communication per year.

The Mercyhurst program produces an average of 19 graduates per year. The Graphic Design department is led by Chair of Art and Graphic Design and associate Graphic Design professor, Jodi Staniunas Hopper, and Peter Stadtmueller, Graphic Design Program Director. With a smaller program such as Mercyhurst, it creates a more personalized experience.

“Small programs like the Mercyhurst graphic design program, have the ability to focus on students collectively and individually,” Hopper said, “We also are more agile when it comes to the curriculum. We can keep up with changes faster.”

The design department focuses on print and web design while also introducing photography and studio classes to its students. Hopper specializes in preparing students for print design, while Stadtmueller focuses on Photoshop and web design.

This variety of design classes are what has contributed to the design department’s alumni success. “Having a program that prepares designers for print and web broadens the field of opportunity for the students,” Hopper said. The department also offers opportunities for resume builders as well as challenges for them to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom.

Hopper and Stadtmueller introduce internal clients and external clients from the Erie community as a way to prepare students in multiple fields. Students are also given the opportunity to showcase their work in the Cummings Art Gallery with yearly exhibitions.

When Zippia looked at the way schools perform and compared them to one another when identifying what made the best design and visual communication schools. Using data from the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) and College Scorecard data from they researched three major areas: career results, design and visual communication emphasis and school performance.

According to the criteria from these statistics, Mercyhurst University ranked tenth in the state in design and visual communication programs among other schools such as Temple University, Lehigh University, Penn State University Main Campus, Drexel University and Robert Morris University.

“After learning about this recognition, it was kind of reassurance to my choice to come here,” said sophomore Graphic Design major Rebecca Totleben, “The professors in the program makes it feel a lot like a family and they try to help us in more ways than just our studies.”

By being named the 10th in the Top Ten Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania offering design and visual communication programs, Mercyhurst University is now being recognized for its success in the print and digital arts.