WisBusiness: UW-Whitewater adds digital arts major

By Brian E. Clark

Prodded by businesses and students alike, UW-Whitewater has added a multimedia digital arts
major to its curriculum.

The program, which will be offered starting in January, is the first of its kind in the UW
System to integrate both the artistic applications and the communication aspects of digital
arts into its curriculum.

“I think it’s a great improvement,” said Daniel Kurowski, a 2002 UW-Whitewater graduate and
owner of a Waukesha-based company called DJKstudio.com.

“The business world is demanding,” he said. “Companies will first say they want a logo, then a
Web site and then multimedia animated Internet. You need to know about 3D software.

“You are so much more likely to get work or get a job if you know all that stuff already
instead of having to learn it on the job,” he said.

In some ways, Kurowski said he wishes he were just starting his college career.

“I think kids going into this program are going to come out well prepared,” he said. “I’m
afraid I’ll have to watch out for their graduates as competitors.

“It’s great that they can do this now without spending $30,000 a year to go to an art
institute,” he added.

Richard Haven, associate dean of the College of Arts and Communication at UW-Whitewater, said
interest in multimedia digital arts is strong.

“It’s an emerging industry,” he said. “If Wisconsin wantsw to grow its economy, one of the
places to do that is in new technology. We need skilled workers who can design, develop and
manage all kinds of digital messages.”

Haven said recent surveys of employers in southeast Wisconsin showed that 73 percent would be
interested in employee retraining programs related to multimedia studies.

And more than half of the respondents expressed interest in developing internships with the
school, he said.

The companies surveyed were involved in print, web, CD-ROM, interactive media, advertising,
public relations, information development, photo editing and imaging, digital photography, e-
commerce, and digital video and editing.

Haven said students in the new major would study artistic design, production processes and the
core principles of multimedia practice.

Graduates of the program will be prepared for such careers as media writers/designers,
visual interface designers, multimedia performers, art/creative directors, motion graphics
animators and graphic designers.

“Digital arts programs offer students opportunities to participate in one of the most
exciting and promising areas of innovation in the arts,” said John Heyer, dean of the College
of Arts and Communication.

“We are fortunate to have experienced faculty who bring the leadership skills and expertise to
develop this program and dynamic young faculty who offer the most recent developments in this
new discipline to our students.”

For more information on the program, contact Haven (262) 472-1934 or email him at
[email protected].