When students arrive to McPherson College this fall, they will be greeted with several updates across campus. Most noticeable might be the improvements made as students arrive to campus via Gordon Street. The street was completely reconstructed with; new curbs, gutters, drain boxes, a concrete surface, and was widen by several feet. Also welcoming students and visitors to campus is the first phase of the campus sign at the front entrance. The two-story structure features three arches and will eventually include a bricked courtyard, bench and low wall with “McPherson College” prominently displayed. The stone and brick work is set to begin and completion is anticipated in October. Campus safety was improved over the summer with the installation of a keyless entry system in residence halls, the sports center, and other buildings across campus. Additional buildings will be upgraded in the future. Interior improvements were also made in Friendship Hall where carpet on walls was replaced with a new material called Acousticord; new anti-microbial, abrasion and chemical resistant flooring was installed in Metzler Hall; and new furniture was placed in Bittinger Hall. Other, less obvious improvements, include the completion of a $7.4 million energy improvement project that replaced older steam heat boilers in campus buildings with hot water boilers, making climate control safer and easier to control. Additionally, the improvements are expected to save at least $90,000 per year in utility costs. “This is one of those projects that you’re not going to see when you walk down the sidewalk, but it will serve us well into the future,” said Marty Sigwing, director of facilities at McPherson College. Construction also began this summer on the new Bulldog Park baseball/softball complex. The new facility is expected to be complete by the home opener in February. Improvements to the McPherson Stadium continue with the construction of a ticket booth, which will be complete by the time students return to campus. Students were also greeted by the new Digital Media degree at McPherson College, which combines communication, design and technology preparing students to find a career in the ever-changing marketplace. The newest academic program, beginning this fall, was designed using the school’s approach of applying entrepreneurship to education. “How we have designed our Digital Media major is completely unique to anything in the state of Kansas,” said Dee Erway-Sherwood, professor and program director of graphic design. “We’re developing the type of curriculum geared toward getting students a job using very different programs, such as UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface). Studios and businesses want students who can do a little bit of everything, but also code. And, we aren’t just talking about big businesses. Based on our research with local businesses and their needs, they are wanting local artists with a grounding of graphic design and communications.” It’s this variety of skills that inspires the flexibility in McPherson College’s degree. Students can take a variety of core courses and then tailor their major to their strengths. They can focus either in Communication or in Visual Design, using skills such as graphic design, web design, social media, public relations, coding, User Interface, and User Experience. Following the success of the Auto Restoration program, the Visual Arts and Communications departments identified a gap in the market for their students and took the opportunity to follow the college’s strategic plan of “nurturing entrepreneurial faculty to develop attractive academic programs” to develop the new digital media degree. The Art Department also reached out to an anonymous donor, who shared the college’s vision and was eager to develop the program. Additionally, the Communications Department brought in Nathan Pollard, a graphic designer with 20 years of experience in television post-production, to teach and develop new courses with Dr. Becki Bowman, associate professor of communication and Erway-Sherwood.
For more information, visit http://mcpherson.edu.