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University Uses e-Surveys to Build Business Case for New Programs

Posted on | April 1, 2010 | No Comments

Bowie State University’s new Visual Communication & Digital Media Arts (VCDMA) Program – formerly a loosely-organized “computer graphics art concentration” –  is an official degree program today, thanks to thoughtful use of Ennect e-surveys by University administrators.  Bowie State used the online surveys to gather data to validate interest and make its business case.

“Five years ago, when I came to Bowie University, the computer graphics program, which had been started in the late ’70s, really lacked focus,” said VCDMA Associate Professor Tewodross Melchishua. “But today’s students want a broader experience than just ‘computer graphics.’ Their interests bridge design, multimedia, video and animation.”

“We needed to upgrade the program to make it competitive and we wanted to change its name. But to do that and have the new major approved, we had to submit a proposal to the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). To shore up our proposal, we needed to explore what areas students were interested in for college majors,” explained Professor Melchishua.

“The proposal needed to include demographics showing who would potentially attend the program. The e-survey results provided that. Ennect Survey was really instrumental in helping us figure out what programs and what areas of concentration we really needed to offer,” said Professor Melchishua.

In early 2010, the new program was approved. Much different than the old computer graphics curriculum, the new VCDMA program includes five different concentrations for students: fashion design, advertising design, animation and motion graphics, digital filmmaking, and an interdisciplinary concentration of digital media arts that combines traditional art classes with digital methodologies. The e-survey helped identify the student interest which resulted in these programs.

To read the full case study and learn more about how the University developed and distributed the survey, the kinds of data it collected, and how that shaped and influenced the business case it prepared to gain approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission, click here.

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