High school students can learn about Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s degree and diploma programs in journalism, public relations, and graphic design at a Jan. 17 event.
Photo courtesy Kwantlen Polytechnic University
High school students offered taste of creative programs
Published 11:34 PST, Wed January 11, 2023
A new Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) event for high school students will showcase programs in a trio of fast-changing fields where creative minds are in demand.
At KPU Creates, students will learn about the university’s degree and diploma programs in journalism, public relations, and graphic design. Jobs within these fields have evolved with technology—and so has the classroom.
“KPU's journalism program teaches students how to tell stories in a variety of different formats including writing, photography, audio, video, and data visualization. Increasingly, online journalism involves telling stories using a mix of various tools and techniques. KPU's program prepares students well for those kinds of reporting positions,” says Chad Skelton, chair of KPU’s Journalism and Communication Studies department.
KPU offers a bachelor of journalism degree, which provides valuable transferable skills for many fields. An honours program is also available. In addition, students working toward a major in a different field are able to complete a minor in journalism to complement their primary field of study.
“A journalism education teaches students how to report accurately and fairly, skills that are more important than ever given the rise of misleading sources of information online. Increasingly, people don't know how to find information they can trust. I believe journalism schools have an important role to play both in teaching the journalists of tomorrow and—through non-journalism students taking our courses as electives—teaching people how to be smarter news consumers,” says Skelton.
Skelton adds the job market for journalists in B.C. is as good as it’s been in more than a decade.
“A combination of journalists retiring and the growth of new, online-only news outlets has created a lot of opportunities for journalism students coming out of our program,” he says.
There's also been huge growth in related fields of public relations and strategic communications. KPU offers a two-year diploma in public relations through the university’s Melville School of Business. Program coordinator Andrew Frank says the importance of a quality education has never been greater.
“KPU’s public relations diploma program offers in-depth training that teaches the next wave of communications professionals how to build connections between organizations and their customers. They influence and engage the public through various communication platforms, while protecting reputations and building brand awareness with innovative content and storytelling.”
To keep pace with rapid changes, the program works closely with industry professionals, and prepares students for a variety of career paths, says Frank.
“Our graduates are working in a variety of positions in multinational corporations, nonprofit organizations, government, and public relations agencies. A public relations diploma also opens the door to further education, as our diploma can count toward as much as half of a four-year bachelor’s degree in marketing, journalism, or general studies at KPU,” he adds.
Also evolving is the field of graphic design, where advances in technology and emerging styles put new demands on designers tasked with shaping the modern world.
“At KPU, we guide students to think laterally, to innovate, and to generate new concepts. Technology is the tool and the tools will always change over time—but knowing how to synthesize, articulate, and visualize complex ideas will be forever relevant,” says Carley Hodgkinson, chair of the graphic design for marketing program. “While currency with technology and trends in design are important, they aren’t the end all, be all. We train our design students to have lasting careers by modelling adaptability.”
KPU’s bachelor of graphic design for marketing is a four-year program based at the university’s Wilson School of Design. The degree pairs graphic design with strategy, business, and marketing skills.
Hodgkinson says graduates have plenty of career path options, including branding and social media marketing, advertising and copywriting, interaction design, social justice work, illustration, and editorial design.
“Students have the opportunity to build a strategic portfolio while still at KPU to help them land that first job. Design is a dynamic career, with so many opportunities to work around the world, to find a niche area to make your own, and to collaborate with other creatives,” she adds.
KPU Creates is happening on Jan. 17 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the university’s Surrey campus (12666 72 Ave.). Students will be offered a campus tour, mini-lessons, pizza, and a chance to win prizes. Guests are asked to register through the KPU website.