Computer Design, Animation & Game Design Program Expands on Campus
Collaboration is anything but virtual between the campuses of Kent State University at Stark and Tuscarawas.
In fact, the computer design, animation and game design (CDAGD) partnership has been a reality for nearly a decade. This fall, Kent State Stark’s position changes in a literal sense: the campus will host students in a newly designed classroom and virtual reality room in Main Hall.
“What is it we need to do to accommodate this growing program? That was our first question,” said A. Bathi Kasturiarachi, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs. “Prior to this point, the program had been based at Kent State Tuscarawas and synchronously delivered to students on our campus and at Kent. Our students could tap in and earn their degree. We’ve arrived at a point where we are expanding, and the potential is right here at Kent State Stark.”
Kasturiarachi and Dean Denise A. Seachrist, Ph.D., drafted a new Memorandum of Understanding with Bradley A. Bielski, Ph.D., dean of Kent State Tuscarawas. The agreement is based on the premise of expansion.
“We’ve taught the program for several years, and we’ve really had a lot of success,” Bielski said. “Due to the proximity of the two campuses and long-range goals of both campuses, expansion makes sense. This is a way to offer unique programming to all students while enhancing each other’s missions.”
Nathan Ritchey, Ph.D., vice president for Kent State System Integration, said the agreement between Kent State Stark and Kent State Tuscarawas is the model partnership.
“We would like to use this arrangement as the standard for all programs that exist on one campus that would be needed on another campus,” Ritchey said. “We want to establish partnerships when it makes sense instead of each campus starting its own program. Through partnerships, we can assure implementing best practices across the board and having leadership responsible for that.”
The CDAGD agreement includes a revenue share between the two campuses, which also are sharing the cost of renovating the Main Hall classroom and virtual reality room.
“The dedicated classroom has been designed specifically to deliver the CDAGD program,” Kasturiarachi explained. “We have the right computers and the right equipment for synchronous delivery. Tuscarawas instructors will sometimes come here to deliver courses.
“We’ve gone from being the receiving group to receiving and delivering.”
Bielski touts the program’s efficiency. “Instead of having two courses with 12 students, we can have one section of 24 students, 12 at Stark and 12 at Tuscarawas, for example. We could broadcast with the instructor at Stark.
“Higher education is not unlike other organizations in that we are being asked to be entrepreneurs and to be efficient,” he said. “Instead of offering separate courses or separate degrees, we are creating a program that is complementary, one that is about shared academic opportunities.”
Seachrist agreed, stating: “It’s collaboration at its finest.”