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New Academic Programs

The University introduced two new concentrations in its art curriculum at the beginning of the 2012–2013 academic year, focused on curatorial studies and graphic design, in addition to its traditional fine arts concentration. North Park also plans to launch a new sports management concentration through the School of Business and Nonprofit Management in the 2013–2014 academic year.

Art concentrations, pre-professional art therapy track launch

The curatorial studies concentration will prepare curators or managers who work in art museums or art galleries, said Kelly VanderBrug, professor of art and chair of the art department. The concentration prepares students to conceive, organize and manage art shows, and work with artists. The concentration includes basic art courses and classes in subjects such as art history. It also requires an internship in a museum or art gallery, she said.

“We have regularly had students who are interested in this as a career, and they go on to earn degrees in art history,” VanderBrug said. “We also see this as a step toward an art history major.” In the next five years, the department plans to develop an art history major, and the curatorial studies concentration would be a track within the major, she said.

The graphic design concentration addresses a subject area many incoming students have inquired about, VanderBrug said. The concentration is for students interested in design, and allows them to take courses in subjects such as media studies, communication, and business and economics. An internship is required, preferably in a graphic design firm, she said.

Graphic design is a field that interests many students, VanderBrug said. “In the past, we’ve had students who have put this together themselves."

"Students with a lot of self-direction have gotten great jobs in graphic design. We realized it would be a great help to students to prepare this curriculum so they wouldn’t have to figure out a plan on their own. Now they have a path to follow from the outset,” VanderBrug said.

The department also made some minor revisions to its traditional fine arts program for this year, and it created a checklist for students interested in a pre-professional educational program in art therapy, VanderBrug said. Students interested in art therapy usually seek master’s degrees in the field.

One of the advantages of the University’s art program is that it strengthens students’ liberal arts education, enabling them to have successful careers in a variety of fields, VanderBrug said. For example, the art curriculum teaches skills in project management and problem solving, and it teaches students to think across disciplines, she added.

Sports Management curriculum launches in 2013 academic year

The sports industry is big business in the United States, estimated to generate more than $200 billion per year. This diverse industry is growing, and there has been an increase in student demand for coursework in sports management, said John Born, associate athletic director and head men’s soccer coach. Students are interested in careers in athletics, and in nonprofit and government-supported organizations such as park districts, sports associations, and schools. Add to that the University’s location in one of the greatest sports cities in the world, and you have an ideal mix to introduce an academic concentration in sports management.

Students who enter this new concentration beginning next academic year will major in business and economics through the University’s School of Business and Nonprofit Management, with a concentration in sports management, Born said. Required coursework includes topics such as marketing and sales, finances and operations, sports psychology, administration, and others. An internship will be required. “We’ll also take advantage of our location, with numerous guest speakers, volunteer opportunities, and internships with local professional and amateur organizations, and nonprofit agencies,” Born said.

This year, the curriculum will be finalized, Born explained, and the concentration will be promoted to current students as well as to people working in sports-related fields. “We have already identified and met with an advisory group of local sports management professionals who will give us insight into the current industry, help with guest speakers, assist with internship opportunities, and lend overall guidance towards classroom instruction,” Born said.

Students with business degrees emphasizing sports management will be prepared for careers with professional teams, college and high school athletic departments, parks and recreation organizations, health clubs, media and entertainment agencies, as well as facilities and events operations, Born added.

Next Steps

Read more from the Winter 2013 North Parker.

Learn more about programs in the School of Business and Nonprofit Management.

Explore the art department, including our faculty's own work as artists.

Professor Kelly Vanderbrug and Coach John Born