Dean Donati Talks About Three New Majors in The School of Design
Jason Donati was appointed Dean of Mount Ida College’s School of Design in 2013. He came to us having served in a number of senior roles at the New England Institute of Art. In the short time he’s been at Mount Ida, he and our School of Design faculty have been busy developing three new, career-focused undergraduate degree programs: Animation, Commercial Photography and Digital Visualization. We sat down with Dean Donati to get the details.
Q. Before we begin, can you tell us what excites you most about Mount Ida and your role as dean?
A: There are so many things about Mount Ida that excite me. To start, I love the career-focused mission. Everything we do here, from academic programs and internship opportunities to campus activities, all are designed to prepare our students to launch creative careers after graduation. Being new to the College, I appreciate that challenge and am thrilled to share it with our design faculty who all are industry-tested, passionate and dedicated. Together, we see to it that our programs both existing and new, are in lock-step with industry needs and emerging design and technology trends. Our three new majors —Animation, Commercial Photography and Digital Visualization—really reflect what is happening in the marketplace right now and for the future.
Q. Introducing three new undergraduate majors in less than a year is an impressive pace. Can you tell us what the Digital Visualization program is all about?
A: In our digital age, companies large and small, local and global, are seeking out new design solutions to communicate their ideas across many different platforms. Our new Bachelor of Science degree in digital visualization is focused on the power of communication through animation and visual media and has three concentrations: architectural, medical and legal. The program is designed to prepare our students for job placement in the growing visualization industry; including in-demand positions such a technical designer and animator. The program’s strong and unique curriculum combined with experiential learning opportunities, will equip our students with the tools and skills desired in this emerging industry. This is an innovative new choice for our incoming design students.
Q. Tell us why Mount Ida is offering commercial photography in an age where everyone has a camera on their smart phone?
A:You’re right. Digital cameras and smart phones are as ubiquitous as tweeting and posting photos on Instagram. In the span of five years or so, the world around us is digital-image driven, increasing the need for commercial photographers. Online, mobile, social media, e-books—whatever the platform, companies and non-profits need high quality images that are authentic, professional and that meet their audience where they are. Our bachelor of science degree program in commercial photography will prepare students for the competitive field of commercial photography through traditional art concepts and photography techniques, coupled with a strong business foundation and understanding of digital platforms. Through internships experiences and capstone projects, students choosing this new major will gain critical technical and aesthetic skills, such as lighting, exposure and image manipulation, as well as experience using fundamental tools for the creation of high quality, commercial photography.
Q. The undergraduate Animation program is another new major. What should prospective design students know about this new program offering?
The field of animation continues to grow in the areas of film, television, advertising, motion graphics and the web. The Animation program will prepare students for all of these fields and will instruct them to think of animation in terms of performance – a vital component for career success in this evolving industry. Our undergraduate animation program specializes in animation and motion graphics techniques. We also will offer students hands-on training on cutting-edge software, coupled with hands-on classroom instruction from our industry leading professionals. Students will develop valuable career-relevant skills in short, narrative driven animated works, digital compositing, video editing and sound design to complement their core focus in either 2D or 3D animation.
With the introduction of our new Animation program, we are changing the name of our current program, Game Art and Animation; simply to Game Art as we believe this name change more accurately describes this current program’s primary industry focus, which is the video game and gaming entertainment industry.
Q: Last question for you, what makes Mount Ida College an attractive place for designers?
A: One of Mount Ida’s most wonderful resources for designers is our tight-knit and diverse community. Energized, talented and hard-working students; creative faculty who embody the true teacher-scholar model; our campus leaders who are engaging our community; and our alumni who stay connected and are active in helping our current students move ahead in their careers.
Our beautiful, New England campus is just minutes from Boston, which is host to some of the most innovative and influential design companies in the world. As a global center for technological, biotech, social science and mass media, studying design in the Boston-area will allows our students a unique advantage by providing tremendous opportunities for gaining practical experience in the workplace through internships while earning credits and thriving through our on-campus learning experiences.