Mark Fertig, M.F.A.
Department Chair, Associate Professor | Art
Graphic design is a really competitive field. I tell my students they have to work hard and want to be better than the other guy if they’re going to make it in this business. Almost without fail, they rise to the challenge.
Our program really puts our students ahead of the curve. For example, we have an entire lab full of Apple’s top-of-the-line professional computers and printers. And we do a total refresh every four years. Many graduates come back and tell us that they don’t have equipment this good in their offices! But we think it’s important for our students to learn by using the most current and best technology out there.
What sets our students apart are their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Because they have a strong liberal arts background in addition to their graphic design skills, they are extremely marketable. We arm them with specific career-related skills, and emphasize things like idea generation, typography, and building a professional portfolio. We also help students find internships. They leave Susquehanna with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design and a minor in another discipline like editing and publishing or advertising. They really have the whole package.
I want to give my students a head start on how the real world works, and what will be expected of them when they get there. Classes are modeled after design firms and ad agencies, with a wide variety of projects drawn from real world sources. We’re also very big on entering competitions like the ADDYs and the Real Show, which showcase the best student designers in the country. It’s a very real world nuts and bolts truth moment when the winners are announced. Susquehanna always comes away with many medals — which not only lets students know they are part of a top program, but also gives them a competitive edge in the job market.
I know how it helped my career to be recognized in national and international design competitions. I’m so pleased to be able to offer our students the same kind of challenge. It’s rewarding for me as a teacher. It’s even more satisfying when alumni come back to Susquehanna and recruit interns or hire our graduates. It says a lot about what we’re doing here, and the quality of our students.
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