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Letter to the Editor: Art professor says dept. requirement encourages progress

Contributor

Published: Monday, October 1, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 01:10

Dear Mr. Green,

I was disappointed by the viewpoint article that discussed the Art Department's laptop requirements. Contrary to the author’s suggestions, the department's Mac laptop requirement was not instituted to hinder the progress of our students, but to encourage it. We feel strongly that if students have 24/7 access to their own digital tools, their work will benefit. In addition, our shift away from traditional computer labs will afford us the opportunity to provide other equipment and technology for our students that they would not have access to otherwise.


In regard to the author's concern that financial aid "may" or may not be available to help with the purchase of our required equipment, the answer is simple. Not everyone qualifies for financial aid. For those that do, financial aid has worked with our department to increase the amount of money available for our art students. We realize that the hardware and software used by artists and designers is frequently more expensive than that of other majors, and financial aid has worked with us in that area.


While I'm sorry that the author chose to refer to users of Apple technology as pretentious, in my professional experience as a designer, the Mac is the computer of choice in the visual arts, photography and design. While many of the internal components of Apple computers are the same as those found in other brands, the software interface is not. Users engage with the software, not the hardware, so the experience is not the same. If the author were to attend the design conferences as we do, or visit the studios and agencies we visit, this would be clear. We want our students to have the skills and experience necessary to be as competitive and prepared as possible when they complete our program, and our computer requirements provide an important part of this experience.


The author also mentions software not being available for the Mac, or being more expensive. No specifics were given, and honestly, I don't know what software necessary to our program the author is referring to.


Our Mac requirement is also not unique to our Art Department, as other programs in Texas and beyond have similar standards. We have made significant effort to make students considering our program aware of our expectations, including the laptop initiative. While we understand that some may wish our requirements were different, we feel an academic environment utilizing the Mac will best prepare our students for the future.


Sincerely,

W. Anthony Watkins
SHSU Asst. Prof. of Graphic Design

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