Certificate programs open doors for undergraduates

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Quantifying soft skills and problem-solving initiative can be tricky for new graduates heading to the job market. Three new interdisciplinary certificate programs offered by the Department of Art will provide students with recognized credentials that demonstrates their interdisciplinary skills and perspective.

The three certificates — business of arteco-arts and public engagement, and graphic design — offer any WSU student the opportunity to develop business savvy, entrepreneurial skills, and to expand community-engaged career paths.

“Art is at the intersection of so many things we experience, and we want to help prepare students to bring that awareness to their lives and careers, whatever direction they may take,” said Reza Safavi, professor of art and one of the faculty who helped develop the certificate programs.

The 15-credit curriculums were designed in collaboration with faculty across the university and are available to all WSU students. The certificates are a strong complement to any WSU degree program or may be completed independently. 

“The certificates can be a good way to begin a specific journey,” said Io Palmer, professor of art who also helped develop the programs. “For example, the business certificate was created because there is a real need for our students to know how to market their pieces. Given the advent of social media, Etsy, etc., there are many opportunities to sell work.”

Eco-arts in action

This month, two visiting artists will showcase their work at WSU Pullman, providing a real-world demonstration of the potential the certificates could provide.

“We’re honored to have artists on campus this fall who bring interdisciplinary approaches to their work and who can help bring greater attention to these fantastic opportunities for all WSU students,” said Squeak Meisel, professor of sculpture and the art department chair.

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, plant conservation biologist, artist, and author Lyn Baldwin from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia will present, “An Unquiet Botany: Reconciling Plants and People with Story and Image.” Her lecture at 5 p.m. in Goertzen Hall in room 21 will include illustrated excerpts from her recent book, “Drawing Botany Home: A Rooted Life,” and her storytelling perspective of how relationships with plants can help cultivate a livable future. She also will lead a series of journaling workshops.

On Thursday, Sept. 21, Area C Projects artist Erik Carlson of Rhode Island will discuss their current public art project for the new U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Plant Sciences Building on the Pullman campus. The presentation is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Fine Arts Center. An exhibition and reception will follow in Gallery 3.

  • Business of Art: incorporates basics of marketing and finance while positioning students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and empower the implementation of applied, innovative arts projects.
  • Eco-Art and Public Engagement: program expands the skill set of students seeking to be creative environmental advocates and innovators, socially engaged community stewards, as well as cultivators and designers. Course options incorporates the fields of ecologycreative writingart, and landscape architecture.
  • Graphic Design: collaboration with the Digital Technology and Culture Program — focuses on image design in many forms.

By Julie Wasson, College of Arts and Sciences, for WSU Insider.