Mercer County Community College
Announces Four New Degree Options

9/24/09


West Windsor, N.J. - Mercer County Community College has unveiled four new degree programs that bring the total number of majors to 68: Culinary Arts, Digital Film, Game Design and Physics. According to Dr. Guy Generals, vice president for Academic Affairs, planning for these initiatives has been ongoing for many months. "With these programs, Mercer is providing new avenues for academic growth in traditional and emerging career fields."

Responding to the rapid growth of the video game industry, Mercer's degree in Game Design embraces the interdisciplinary study of art, writing, sound design, computer technology, and programming to create professional level video games. Students pursuing this major will use 2D digital imaging and 3D modeling and animation software, as they develop games that incorporate narrative structures and level editing.

Michelle Barfoot, associate professor of
Media Arts, is coordinator for MCCC's
new Game Design degree program.

Coordinating the program is Associate Professor Michelle Barfoot, who notes that the role of video games has clearly shifted. "At first glance, games appear to be frivolous, but they are being applied in realms far beyond entertainment," she says, pointing to their growing use in education, for social awareness, and in government and the military. "Video games are played at websites, on mobile phones, and specialized consoles. They are changing the way we teach, learn and communicate."

According to Barfoot, the New York City/northern New Jersey region is in the top ten in the country for video game design and development, with 44 companies located in the area. "Even in the current economy, there is still growth in this field. It's a competitive field, so getting a good education is key to successfully launching a career." She adds that graduates most likely will start as artists or programmers, eventually landing positions as designers of games and game levels.

In Digital Film, students will learn all aspects of creating digital film including directing, producing, editing, cinematography and screenwriting. Film history, theory and criticism will also be explored. Students will work on short films in collaborative teams. According to Coordinator Barry Levy, the curriculum provides a solid foundation and entry level preparedness for jobs in commercial or film production, and prepares students for transfer to four-year schools.

The Culinary Arts program provides another degree option in Mercer's popular majors in the hospitality field. Coordinator Doug Fee explains that it will enable students to pursue their degree as a professional chef or pastry chef. In addition to general education courses, students will focus on areas such as recipe and menu creation, safe and sanitary practices, product purchases and more. "This is a streamlined degree with a hands-on focus. Graduates will be qualified to work in a variety of industry settings including restaurants, catering, food service operations and resorts," Fee said.

Another recently introduced hospitality major is Culinology, which blends the study of culinary arts with food science. Those who complete this program are prepared for transfer to Rutgers University to earn a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Food Science.

In Physics, students will focus on courses that prepare them for transfer to a four-year institution, leading to careers in physics and engineering. In addition to general education classes, students will take three levels of calculus and university physics.

Already underway this fall is Mercer's new 31-credit certificate program in Solar/Energy Technology. With the growing shift towards clean and efficient energy production, this program will offer students a foundation in construction basics, energy sources, energy auditing and solar panel installation. Graduates will be prepared for entry level positions in energy auditing, weatherization, basic circuitry and electronics, solar installation, and building construction.

Additionally, Mercer has new areas of concentration in its Business and Technology Division. Students pursuing their AS degree in Business Administration may concentrate on Global Business, while those seeking an AAS in Business Management may concentrate on Insurance and Financial Services.

For more information about these and other new opportunities at Mercer, contact MCCC's Enrollment Services Office at (609) 570-3795 or see degree programs
here.

Directions to MCCC

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