This is the launch edition of the 2019-20 VCU Bulletin. This version includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester. (See the Archives page for bulletins for 2018-19.)

TyRuben Ellingson
Assistant professor and chair

The Department of Communication Arts’ mission is to empower students to create and communicate with insight, vision and voice. 

By guiding students to a deeper understanding of past and present artistic practices and methods of visual problem-solving, while concurrently fostering a thoughtful awareness of future technologies and theoretical concerns, the department increases their ability to devise informed design solutions and present them in a refined and professional manner.

The communication arts faculty encourages critical-thinking, discipline and entrepreneurship — abilities critical for success in the fast and ever-changing world in which we live.

The program

Centered on a rigorous investigation of studio methods and practices, the communication arts curriculum additionally explores historical, conceptual and theoretical concerns critical to the development of a well-rounded and informed understanding of image, media, content and context. 

With a history richly rooted in drawing, painting and art theory, the communication arts program is effectively tailored to provide students educational opportunities to develop the types of quality skills and meaningful understandings that are relevant and sought after in the expanding universe of communication medias.

It is a curriculum that endeavors to provide a balance between past, present and future, valuing artistic traditions and techniques, while thoughtfully embracing new tools, technologies, opportunities and outcomes.

Woven throughout the program, the study of communication arts is concerned with the powerful and timeless relationship between art and narrative — image and story — which invites each student to embrace, amplify and build upon their unique views and life experience so that they may, in the lifetime beyond university, add to humanity’s ongoing evolution and unfolding.

The communication arts department offers a B.F.A. in Communication Arts as well as a B.F.A. in Communication Arts with a concentration in scientific and preparatory medical illustration.