Creating Opportunities Through Partnerships

Creating Opportunities Through Partnerships

Creating dynamic partnerships that enhance learning opportunities for students and prepare them for future careers occurs across Minneapolis College. The Graphic Design and Web Design programs provide hands-on experiences from knowledgeable instructors focused on preparing students for exciting careers that explore creativity and technology. Partnerships enhance the learning within these programs and create important connections between students and the design community. 

Ken Krutsch, CEO and co-founder of KRUTSCH Design, a digital product design agency based in Minneapolis, is an example of a partner that goes the extra mile for students. Most recently, his agency pulled together a creative team comprised in part of Minneapolis College design program alumni who are employed at his agency to critique the final portfolios for some of the Graphic Design and Web Design’s graduating class.

“In collaboration with the College, we created an opportunity for students to have their work critiqued just as we would do for our clients,” said Ken Krutsch, who is consistently impressed by the talent, energy, and enthusiasm of the Minneapolis College design students. “Securing your first job can be challenging and having a strong portfolio sets candidates apart. The critique provided an opportunity for students to receive feedback on their work and build connections with people who are successfully working in the field.”

Faculty member Samantha Sather notes how excited students are to meet professionals and is thrilled to have partners like KRUTSCH Design. “Graduates of the Graphic Design and Web Design programs at Minneapolis College complete a capstone project that provides them an opportunity to build their brand and identity and develop a strong portfolio,” said Samantha Sather, who notes students form a tight knit community in this fully online program. “Taking their portfolio to professionals with different skills and points of view enables them to receive comprehensive feedback as they move on to seek employment or further their education.”

Open to Possibilities

James LeVoir

Design student James LeVoir is open to trying as many things as possible. He chose to attend Minneapolis College for the opportunity to combine his technical and creative skills in a flexible environment surrounded by passionate instructors and students.

“Prior to the pandemic, I attended the University of Minnesota where I gained a strong background in computer science. I was looking for something different when I enrolled at Minneapolis College,” said James LeVoir, who commented on how every student comes from a wildly different place. “Not unlike other students in the program, I consider myself multi-faceted. I’m a musician, audio visual technician, student, and designer. Minneapolis College has prepared me with great skills, a vast understanding of the career options available, and how to work in the field of design. I am so appreciative.”

When LeVoir arrived at KRUTSCH Design for the portfolio review, he was open to feedback. “My work is still in development so it was cool to see how the designers reviewed my portfolio, provided helpful critique, and offered a range of points of view,” said LeVoir, who always took his homework seriously, noting he views it as a way to showcase his professional work. “Everyone has a different viewpoint on things and it’s helpful to garner different perspectives whether it’s from a professional who is working in the field, an experienced instructor in the classroom, or talented classmate. I recommend everyone take advantage of the chance to have a wide array of people offer their insights on your work.” 

“It was great to see the fresh talent of the students who participated in the critique,” said Rachelle Abernathy, Associate Director of Experience Design at KRUTSCH Design, who was impressed by the inventive designs presented to their review team and how open-minded the students were to feedback. “We offered a safe, judgement-free zone where the students could garner a professional critique outside of the classroom and continue their learning with industry experts.”

Pashell Johnson, Alumni and Community Relations in the office of Institutional Advancement at Minneapolis College, enjoys connecting the broader community to Minneapolis College. “The event at KRUTSCH Design is a great benefit to current students because it links their academic pursuits to industry, which jump starts their professional network before they enter the workforce. Alumni can play a key role in helping students build social capital, which will advance a student’s career goals,” said Johnson, who facilitated additional support to the event. “Relationships like these are important to the work of Institutional Advancement, along with the Foundation, because they support the mission, vision, and values of Minneapolis College and add value to the student experience.”

Minneapolis College is always seeking new and innovative ways to partner within the community. Another example of a successful collaboration occurs with the Minnesota Department of Health. Each year, students have an opportunity to create a campaign design for the Department of Health in class. Ultimately, the department chooses one or more student designs and the student(s) earn $2,000 and work with their team, further developing their design and finalizing it for use throughout the community. Two of the winners of the campaign design have even gone on to work at KRUTSCH Design.

The Minneapolis College Store also gets in on the action. They hold an annual design competition, ultimately choosing a student design to place on t-shirts that are sold in the store. This year’s design acknowledges the campus is on Dakhóta land.

If you are interested in partnering with Minneapolis College’s Graphic Design and Web Design programs, reach out to Samantha Sather at samantha.sather@minneapolis.edu.


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