By Ginny Mumm
Educating the next generation of printing professionals has long been a specialty at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson), a public research university in the city’s downtown core. In fact, the school offers the only four-year, degree-granting program for the printing industries in Canada.
To learn more about this academic opportunity, we spoke with Natalia Lumby, interim chair for the School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM), along with Darsan Sivanantharajah, the university’s client support technician. They discussed the defining qualities of the program, as well as how their faculty ensures the wide-format digital printing curriculum, available print technology, and experiential learning opportunities are in sync with printing market trends, so graduates are well prepared for their future careers.
In the transition to Toronto Metropolitan University, has anything changed about your program?
Natalia Lumby (NL): The School of Graphic Communications Management has enjoyed decades of success, during which the institution has been renamed several times. We used to be a polytechnic. The new university name represents one of the recommendations made by the Standing Strong Task Force, which consulted thousands of community members. It’s an important step towards decolonizing education. Our faculty also has a new name. We’re proud to be one of the nine schools at The Creative School. GCM is part of an ecosystem that leads innovation in key creative media disciplines, with our area of expertise being print and packaging.
How many students graduate from your program each year? How large is your faculty?
NL: We have a total of 800 students in our four-year program, or about 200 students in each year. Our program is delivered by 25 faculty members, consisting of passionate teachers, researchers, and industry professionals.
Has enrollment in your program changed over the years?
NL: Our program enrollment has continued to grow. However, we’re now holding steady, simply due to space limitations. We want to ensure each of our students gets the opportunity to access our hands-on curriculum. To make that happen, we would need more technology labs (or hours in the day) which is no small feat, as we are located in the heart of downtown Toronto.
Your program is known for being experiential. Why do you believe this type of learning is important for your students?
NL: Our program is interdisciplinary, and our ethos is our students should be exposed to as many aspects of the industry as possible, so they can become effective graphic communications managers. To make sure our students understand what printing a physical, tactile graphic involves, we teach them about design, workflow, production, finishing, and installation. We believe it’s extremely important for our students to get access to modern printing equipment and use it to produce their own work, from idea to finished product.
How do you teach students about wide-format digital printing practices?
NL: We use the same format we use to teach other printing technologies. We incorporate large lectures with up to 200 students to convey general information, followed by smaller, hands-on lab sessions with groups of 25 to 30 students.
For example, we teach a class in which students learn about file preparation for decals that require unique dielines. We use a 1371.6-mm (54-in.) Roland DG TrueVIS VG3-540 printer/cutter for the class, to demonstrate colour output and print-and-cut workflow.
One comment on “Preparing tomorrow’s print service providers”
Does Ryerson still teach offset printing?