12 hours of Design

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On 2/24/19 at 2:15pm, I attended the North Carolina Community College Fine Arts Conference Session Bridging the gap between graphic design educatino and professional practice at the Meroney Theater in Salisbury, NC presented by Brittany Holleran of Central Piedmont Community College

An Event at CPCC is “12 Hours of Design”. So,we ask ourselves: What it is and why they do it? 12HD is a design challenge to solve wicked problems! Originally created by Ken Holland. All students would be placed in a design space and asked to create a working solution in 12 hours. The problems must be big enough that it could not be solved during any one person.

Friday, March 31, noon to midnight. Its campus-wide, and while its open to graphic design, its also opened to other programs like interior design, welding, engineering, etc. have been involved and worked together to solve these problems.

The first was 8a to 8p. It was taxing because being creative for all that time. For some its tough to be awake during all this time.

Why do this?

We want to challenge the students with projects and problems which might not be found in the classroom. We want to foster collaboration between students in and out of the program. Most students only stay with their cohort and working together with people at different skill levels didn’t often happen. This fosters community and make friends outside of the classroom environment. Also, this encourages creativity. The client comes in. presents the work, and then leaves. There is no “NO” in this process. One of the greatest thing to come out of the project was having a professional tell them that its so fantastic to take part and not hear “NO”

Students sign a contract to appear. They cannot leave in the middle of the event, unless its an emergency. There will be 7-10 teams working at once.

Support and location is provided: administration, student life, program faculty, alumni, advisory board, theCurious (student club) and industry partners. A non-school place is provided. Faculty cannot assist, but part-time faculty do come in and advise and feed into the item from time to time to avoid students getting stuck on a problem. Social media is also used to record the event.

Industry partners provide offsite locations, some of these larger problems, and their expertise.


How do we do this? Tools.

Because we’re working offsite, we have to provide snacks and coffee. Students bring their own items- pens, pencils, cutting mattes, etc. We provide wifi, printer access. We provide prizes. What’s the benefit other than working on a team? Year-long student AIGA membership ($50 per), prismacolor markers, personal gifts. There needs to be a detailed organizational event schedule. Meals, and breaks scheduled, team building exercises, and as challenging a detail as possible. There will also be curveballs which redirect the project.


What are the outcomes?

Presentation skills, real world experience, prizes & Recognition, opportunities to continue working on the project.


Who are we working for?

Our own campus: Designing a student-focused space such as interactive features, and learning environment using donated materials. This is because we’re building a new building and we can have a piece of that courtyard.

Knight Foundation: Products to make a city better for upward mobility. Charlotte was 50/50 for upward mobility

City of Charlotte: designing a stretch of highway

We want to continue to work with non-profits, problems brought to us from our advisory boards, social issues and community challenges.


Q&A Session

How is this presented to students?

Originally, it was only for fun. Sometimes extra credit is offered In some classes, but it is not required. It cannot be just work and no fun. Otherwise, people won’t take part in the next year


Could you partner this with Hackathon?

We would be open to that, but you’d need to find a project that would really be right for that. There’s always an opportunity to work with other groups if there’s a way to fit this in.


Is there a place on the resume for this?

We have suggested cover letter or the conversation. Typically we suggest that you put in that you worked with the Knight Foundation or are actively working with the City of Charlotte.


How do you get resources?

We bring in a speaker who’s available for the first few hours to explain the situation and be a resource. The goal is to begin thinking critically. What does “solve upward mobility” mean? Once you find what it can mean, then you can really begin working on deliverables.


How are students kept on track?

We move through from time to time telling them how much time is left and asking if they need assistance… without offering advice


How big are the teams?

3-4 people per team, and no real set amount of teams. We set highly skilled teams with low-level designers to keep everyone on a nice playing field


How can you even the teams?

We ask this as part of the process, and we know their personalities. We have rules too, you cannot switch or combine teams. You cannot leave your team and you cannot leave the event. That is their challenge




NCCCS A+GD Program Next Steps

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On 2/24/19, I attended the North Carolina Community College Fine Arts Conference Session NCCCS A+GD Program Next Steps at the Meroney Theater in Salisbury, NC moderated by Dr. Brian Morris of Catawba Valley Community College

Rather than a Professional development session, this was more of an Informal conversation. What do we want to capitalize on before we leave? Contact information will be a great step. Brian Morris will moderate and we can formalize and capitalize on resources.

We would like to bring the AFA back and increase the number of articulation agreements. We are tangentially related by adopting the ART track and GRD/GRA track. Where are these going to go? DME digital media technology program. Pasteup, Stat Camera are gone. Design thinking and UX is important now. Is it research, data analysis, storytelling? Is it software only? Managing this for articulation is important. AFA in visual art transfers, but our materials do not.

What should we discuss? Formalization requires contact and available people. We can decree today by consensus to be a group with standard boilerplate bylaws. Many people are on board. We want to talk about officers and facing the magnitude of challenges that the AFA faced. Creating the articulation agreements with universities may be difficult. CCP is difficult. We have a draft of the bylaws, and we’d like to get people together.

Does the A+GD degree name need to change? Does it mean what it used to mean? Are we media directors now? Is it digital Media. Having 15hrs of DME entitles you to a Digital Media Technology degree, and the other 50+ hours can be anything! To keep a healthy A+GD program means the needs must continue to move forward. We are working under old descriptions, but we are teaching the skills and methods we wish to teach. Do we want to push that? We find that there are formally 6 GRD Programs in the UNC System.

Articulation may be an issues if faculty do not have masters degrees in Graphic Design. There are some classes with UI/UX which need to be built and added. Some classes are still tlaking about pagemaker and/or coreldraw. These are topics to keep in mind moving forward.

Are masters degrees required? There are multiple degrees with BS, BFA, BA in Graphic Design, or Specialization in Graphic Design. Is business and marketing a good degree to complement the design backgroun? What ideas do we have to address this as a body? Graphic Design degrees are hard to transfer. Portfolios may not be good enough, or 4-year schools don’t want 2-year students. One problem is that the number of contact hours don’t transfer or run into the credit surcharge because they have the wrong credits. A 2-hour class cannot work, but it counts against the number of hours a student has taken which runs afoul of the credit max allowed for the “graduate in 4” system item for colleges.

Is articulation really important? The majority of some populations in some schools are returning 4-year students. The trouble is really the stigma of a 2-year degree holder. Keyword sniffers  block AAS in terms of employment. We are looking for 1-2 students a year. Maybe this is important and maybe its not as important.

What about private college relationships? some have made good deals by speaking with private schools in general? should we work to increase the deals we can make with other schools and examine those?

The idea of “stackable credentials” will be pushed in the future. Its really about the skillpath and job path that students can follow. Industry-specific credentials may be used in the future to out maneuver courses where they already have skills. How can we maintain the go-to credentials? A 4-yr school student who starts at a 2-yr school has a different track in mind. Where are our students going to go? We should focus our core strengths, and determine where we want our students to go and alter our classes based on that pathway.

We don’t want advisors to say “graphic design goes nowhere”. We want them to say “UNC-Charlotte will accept the GRD degree and here’s what credits you’ll get…”

What does this mean? We’ll need to meet once a year or so. WAKE TECH is close to the system office, and can make a nice meeting place which is centralized. The RTP campus outside of Durham is adequate.

Ms. Cobb of CVCC was then voted in as president. Mr. Compton of CPCC was voted in as Vice President. Ms. Holleran of CPCC was voted in as secretary. Ms. Cousar of CPCC was voted in as treasurer. These were all voted in for a 2-year term. At-Large members will need to be chosen. We’ll need representatives for at-large reps from 4-year schools and community colleges. We can continue this conversation during the wrap-up and also set some goals for ourselves and the conference next year.

We were then all invited to CVCC to visit the department and spaces. The meeting was then turned over to the new president, Ms Cobb.