Graphic communications returning to Forest Park

By Nana Ramsey
The Scene staff

Students and faculty are thrilled that the full graphic communications program is returning to Forest Park after a four-year hiatus.

Many students have been forced to travel to the Meramec and Florissant Valley campuses of St. Louis Community College to take advanced classes since Forest Park phased out the program in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013.

“I enjoy working at Forest Park,” said Kalia White, 23, a graphics major and member of The Scene staff, who lives in downtown St. Louis. “And if I have a project due, it’d be nice to go there instead of Meramec.”

It takes White an hour and a half to get to Kirkwood on public transportation. She gets up at 5 a.m. and doesn’t make it back home until 9 p.m. on some days.

Last month, Jamie Kreher, chair of fine and performing arts at Forest Park, announced that the graphics program would return in the fall of 2017.

She hopes it will solve the problem of students not finishing their associate’s degrees in graphic communications because they can’t get to Meramec or Florissant Valley; and help Forest Park increase enrollment.

“Not all at once, but this should bring more students back,” said Kreher, 42, an assistant professor of photography.

Forest Park offered the graphics program until 2012, when the number of class offerings were cut in half, eliminating all 200-level classes, as a budget-cutting measure.

Only students close to graduating could finish the program at Forest Park. Others had to transfer to Meramec or Florissant Valley or travel back and forth.

That didn’t sit well with Forest Park faculty or students.Bruenger

“Students should have the ability to go to any campus for their degree,” said Bruenger, 44, graphics coordinator.

Kreher and Bruenger went to Larry Johnson Jr., who became Forest Park provost last summer, and asked him to consider bringing back the graphics program.

“I was presented with data regarding enrollment trends from the last five years,” Johnson said. “The data intrigued me so much that I requested that the faculty draft a plan to offer additional courses.”

Meramec and Florissant Valley will continue to offer the full graphic communications program, along with Forest Park.

White expects to graduate in the fall. She’s looking forward to having her last semester be easier than the others, thanks to faculty members and the provost.

“It is my goal to support graphic communications faculty and students to ensure that Forest Park provides a menu of courses that will enable students to complete the program at one location,” Johnson said.