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UJ’s summer art classes jump-start fall semester

Commencement was Saturday for the University of Jamestown’s 2014 graduates. This is the first baccalaureate and commencement for the university since it changed from Jamestown College to the University of Jamestown. It was a special day for family, friends and the graduating students. A handful of students have a course or two to complete before degrees are awarded at the end of summer, and some started summer classes this week. Some are doing online courses to complete requirements and transfer credits. It’s typical activity for students at most universities. It’s also a great time to either begin college classes or continue them.

Summer semester began Monday. Most concentrations or major areas have classes offered this summer. It’s pretty common, especially for matriculating students who are already in jobs or who have postponed starting college, in order to  test the waters — by enrolling in a course or two  during the summer — prior to full-time studies in the fall. It’s a smart thing to do.

Summer semester art courses have always been a popular beginning point for returning students … regardless of age or stage in life. Because of the small class sizes and one-on-one teacher-student ratio, summer classes give returning students a confidence-building comfort level that supports a new stage in their life.

A new area of study fits anyone planning to go into marketing, advertising or business — where the use of graphics and computers plays a role. It is an information technology graphics minor. It includes classes in business, computer science, art and communication. Some of the art classes include design, drawing and an option for photography.

People who want to get into planning events, such as political, organizational, civic and church-function management, would do well to have that minor under his or her belt. Students learn the technical aspects of IT and widely-used software programs. They get a grasp of how to use spatial organization/planning as well as journalistic writing styles and imagery needed to convey information.

Back in the day — about 24 years ago — Jamestown College offered a business-art minor. It coupled special classes in both areas to give students a foundation in advertising and print or broadcast media. Today, with computer/digital technology being such an integrated medium, and imagery that is a vital component of sales and digital devices, art imagery is taking on a different role of importance. Words need images, and how to place all that together in a convincing way is the foundation for success.

Developing a minor in computer graphics was a logical addition for UJ in this modern era. Students seeking to begin this new track would find this summer the perfect time to start.

The arts tap into issues that would otherwise be out of reach. Not every word reaches an audience because some words have multiple/different meanings in some cultures. Images generally communicate fairly accurately. It’s why human symbols represent public restrooms. Even the illiterate can “read” pictures. There are openings in fine arts classes and a number of options available.

Anyone interested in a summer class can email the university at and click on the appropriate query to get answers or call the registrar at 252-3467 to get started.

If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.