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Mt. Sierra College

Dealing with digital worlds requires creativity, which is why at Mt. Sierra College, a student can learn about telecommunications, e-business, computers, and still have time for some creative design.

As any technologist knows, dealing with information and digital worlds requires creativity. At Monrovia-based Mt. Sierra College, a student can learn about telecommunications, e-business, computers, and still have time for some creative design. The college’s CEO and president, Vaughn Hartunian, talks about convenience, the new economy, and having a good backbone.

How did the Mt. Sierra programs get started?

The college laid its foundation for Bachelor of Science degree programs in 1994. After receiving accreditation in April of 1996, the college began offering Bachelor of Science degree programs in design and media arts, business, and technology areas. Also, the college’s online educational model, designed for working adults, offers an interactive environment that enhances learning. Students receive the flexibility and convenience of anytime, anywhere learning, while still receiving the practical, hands-on experience.

Why do you think that there’s a need for these programs?

Even with the changing face of technology and the economy, there continues to be a huge need for computer information, telecommunications, e-business and creative design programs. Technology will play an ever-increasing role in helping our economy become more productive and thus more profitable. There will also be an emergence of new opportunities in wireless communications, digital products, Web services, and wireless networks as well as industries ranging from health care to retail. The focus of our educational programs and of the “new economy” is on the bottom line. Profitability, productivity and efficiency will be increased through the effective use of technology.

What do you credit for the 85 percent employment rate for your students?

Without question, I credit the unique nature of our curriculum and excellent professional instruction. Our students learn by doing. Students not only learn the theory behind complex business and creative challenges, but they learn to develop practical solutions using proven techniques. Hands-on experience is at the core of the Mt. Sierra College degree programs. It is essential that the IT, business and creative leaders of tomorrow learn how to communicate effectively, think critically, and understand the global marketplace today. When I talk to the many employers who employ our graduates, one of the first things that they comment on is our students’ ability to communicate and lead.

How do you think media arts, design, and technology can benefit businesses?

It all comes down to profitability. And to be profitable, you must be efficient and productive. You must also be able to communicate the value of your product or service using new and emerging media. Creative communication is key to getting your message out. We have tried to create a synergy between our creative design programs and our IT programs. Technology is a tool in the creative process at Mt. Sierra College. Merging electronic business, creative design, and a strong IT backbone creates a powerful weapon in the economic battle today.

Do you have anything in the works for the future?

Technology and the creative arts will impact different sectors within the economy. I see Mt. Sierra College continuing to develop new degree programs that will open up new markets for the college. Our multimedia design program has grown tremendously over the last several years and this will definitely continue. September 11th changed the world, and it is also changing education. Information security will continue to emerge as a force within IT and the business community. Securing our basic IT infrastructure is of international importance. I look toward Mt. Sierra College playing a role in this arena.

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