As part of its efforts to develop relationships around the world, Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts and Graphic Communication Department have established a partnership with NMIT [Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (Technical and Further Education)] in Melbourne, Australia.
The partnership took more than two years to develop, during which time NMIT campus leadership visited Cal Poly and a Cal Poly faculty member visited NMIT as guest lecturer.
“As our Bachelor of Writing and Publishing is the only undergraduate degree in Australia that places equal emphasis on writing and publishing, I have been keen to find programs with similarly strong publishing elements,” said Karen Simpson Nikakis, NMIT head of program, Bachelor of Writing and Publishing. “I was greatly impressed by Cal Poly’s publishing space during my visit in 2011 and have worked since to establish links between the two programs.”
NMIT selected Cal Poly graphic communication instructor Ivan Bradley as its first visiting professor. Bradley spent two weeks with NMIT’s Writing and Publishing Department lecturing on topics including typography, color, principles of design, design processes, and PDF variable print technology using Adobe InDesign.
“This was a great experience personally and professionally, during which I was warmly accommodated by faculty, staff and administrators at NMIT,” said Bradley. “Students were very interested in learning about Cal Poly, the Graphic Communication Department, and the Central Coast of California. They were keen on the perspective of graphic communication that I presented in lectures and in interactions with them. Conversely, I gained an insight into the nature of education and culture in Australia.”
The aim of Bradley’s visit was to enrich the learning experience of NMIT students via an international perspective; inspire NMIT lecturers with new pedagogical approaches; elevate NMIT’s profile by attracting visitors to the public forums Bradley conducted; and create an inter-institutional relationship which may develop into student and/or faculty exchanges.
Bradley also worked with NMIT’s administration and corporate management to identify common benchmarks in courses at NMIT and Cal Poly, and presented an overview of current standards and pedagogic trends in U.S. education and Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing approach to education. Bradley’s visit was funded by NMIT.
“Ivan’s mission to expand international awareness for the graphic communication program and Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing teaching approach was extremely successful,” said Ken Macro, chair of Cal Poly’s Graphic Communication Department, “I am hoping further communication with NMIT will foster the development of faculty and student exchanges and collaboration on student and faculty-based projects.”
Douglas Epperson, dean of Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts, sees mutual benefits for Cal Poly and NMIT. “We are excited about this emerging partnership, because it will increase the options for students and faculty interested in expanding their knowledge, skills and cultural awareness through study/work abroad. The faculty exchange component also benefits Cal Poly students who are unable to study abroad by bringing international faculty to San Luis Obispo.”
Other cooperative programs under consideration between Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts and NMIT include short-term visiting scholars (two to four weeks), long-term visiting scholars (three months to one year) faculty exchanges and student exchanges.