3 Tips to Supporting Your Student’s Return to Campus in Spring Semester

With another semester at MIAD in the books, there is a lot to celebrate about our wonderful students: from their resiliency in this continued pandemic, to their creativity showcased in the MIAD Holiday Sale, to their ongoing compassion and support for one another, which has been incredible to witness.

It has undoubtedly been a difficult semester for many, with all of the stressors that college brings, on top of balancing the struggles of processing the world around them. Now more than ever, it is important for folks to take the time to practice self-care, students included.

We are halfway through the school year and spring semester will soon be upon us. Here are three tips to help your student feel grounded and energized for their return to campus in January.   

  1. Make time for connection: Everybody wants to feel connected and celebrated! Make time for connecting with your student and celebrate the things that have been happening in the past few months. This can look like grabbing a coffee together, going for a walk, cooking a delicious meal or anything in between. 
  2. Encourage personal creative projects: The end of any semester often leaves students feeling too busy or tired to pursue their own creative endeavors. Encourage students to make time for their own personal practice to help them keep their creative energy flowing and to revitalize their passion for art.
  3. Encourage establishing healthy sleep routines: Right after school is out, students often need extra time to sleep and rest. Towards the end of break, it is wise to start preparing for the return back to school, such as going to bed before midnight, continuing to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and waking up at a reasonable time. 

MIAD Advising: End of Semester Check-In

MIAD advising is here to support your student in their personal and academic growth, as well as their career exploration. It is important for them to reflect on what being a college student means to them. Encourage them to use this break to think about things such as:

  • What study habits were working well? What didn’t work?
  • How was my time management and organization?
  • Did I reach out to my professors, instructors and advisor with questions? How can I incorporate them into my study strategies and utilize them as resources?
  • What type of career questions do I have? Utilize the Professional Preparation Plan (PDF) as a guideline to begin/continue this discussion with your advisor. 
  • Do I feel as though I have ways to de-stress?
  • What are my academic goals for the spring 2022 semester?
  • How can I utilize the MIAD resources? Have them review the Guide to Campus Resources to learn how to contact for academic advising, career development, disabilities and accommodations, equity & inclusion support, financial aid, housing, tutoring and mental and emotional support services.

Remind your student that it is never too early to begin these conversations and that it is okay to reach out for support. We are all here to help and want to see your student succeed!

MIAD announces new gallery to showcase student and alumni work

This fall MIAD plans to open a new gallery to showcase MIAD student, alumni, faculty and staff work in all art and design fields. The new gallery, called MIAD Gallery at The Ave, will be located at 301 W. Wisconsin Ave. near the new 3rd Street Market Hall at The Avenue in Milwaukee. The Avenue is anticipated to attract more than one million visitors annually.

MIAD Gallery at The Ave Mission: To inspire our community by making art and design work accessible to all. To support student and alumni careers by providing professional opportunities.

This is an exciting opportunity for MIAD to expand its footprint and connections with the Milwaukee community, raise the visibility of the college in the community, and provide learning and professional development opportunities to students and alumni. 

MIAD students, faculty and staff were invited to attend a listening session about MIAD Gallery at The Ave on September 22 to share their ideas and questions about the new gallery. Additional information will be sent to students throughout the semester as the plans for the new gallery become finalized. Encourage your student to check their emails for important information from MIAD throughout the semester.

Career Resources Your Student Can Access at MIAD

MIAD students will soon be on a much-deserved break between the fall and spring semesters. This break may be a good time for students to think about their professional goals. The MIAD Career Services staff has many resources for professional development.

The MIAD Career Services Handshake website is a primary resource we encourage students to use. If they have not activated their account and created a profile, the winter break is a great time to do this. On Handshake, students can:

  • Access the Art/Design Careers booklet: Available in the Career Center Resources section, this booklet introduces students to many visual design and art professions and potential career paths.
  • Search for professional opportunities: Students can view postings of professional opportunities (full-/part-time and temporary jobs, internships, freelance projects and exhibitions) in the Jobs section.  
  • Research potential employers: Using the Employers section, students can search in the Labels field to learn about the specific businesses that have recruited for MIAD students. Students can start creating a list of businesses that they may want to consider for professional experience opportunities and start contacting these businesses to inquire about opportunities.

Students are strongly encouraged to create a resume and LinkedIn account if they haven’t already. The information they provided in their Handshake profile provides good content for their resume and LinkedIn. If a student already has both, they could update the content with the skills developed during the fall semester. Some students may now have class projects they could include in their resume.

The Career Services staff are available to further discuss any of the above resources with MIAD students. Student can contact Duane Seidensticker and Christina WickHeiser, MIAD Career Services, at careerservices@miad.edu.

Where your student can look for professional opportunities

With the semester quickly passing by, now is a good time for students to make summer plans.

For all students, pursuing a professional experience is strongly encouraged. A professional experience is any opportunity that helps explore career options, develop specific skills and accomplish professional goals. Students should research and pursue opportunities in February, March and early April, as waiting longer will present challenges. 

Here are some places where your student can look for opportunities: 

MIAD Innovation Center: The MIAD Innovation Center connects corporate and nonprofit organizations with MIAD students, giving students the opportunity to work with real clients, apply their creative thinking skills and build their professional portfolios. Encourage your student to check with the MIAD Innovation Center Executive Director Drew Maxwell to learn about potential projects.

MIAD Career Resources: MIAD offers a variety of services and information for students looking for internships and professional opportunities. Through Handshake, students can look for opportunities and learn about companies looking for talent. Students can make their own profiles that employers can view. It is similar to LinkedIn, but designed more for students.  

Job Boards: Online job boards are a great way for students to look for diverse opportunities that they may have never considered. Some great places to look: Big Shoes Network, Indeed, Milwaukee Jobs and Glassdoor.  

Company websites: The majority of company websites include a “Careers” or “Get Involved” page that contains current position openings. This is a great way for students to find opportunities for companies they are specifically interested in. For example, the Milwaukee Art Museum has a page for internship opportunities that are currently open and are updated often. 

Networking: Face-to-face networking is a great way to find opportunities that may not be online and get to know someone personally within an organization. Word of mouth references give a higher chance of getting hired. Just showing up and talking to a couple of people shows professionalism and the willingness to grow. 

If your student is struggling with finding opportunities or are unsure of what to look for, they should discuss their professional interests with their MIAD Advisor and Career Services staff to learn what types of professional experiences may be options for them.

Welcome to the MIAD Family Forum!

Parents and family members,

We are excited to welcome our new and returning students to campus this fall. Our incoming class is the largest in the college’s history. Over the summer, we have been busy preparing additional studio spaces, a new science lab and other areas of campus. In addition, we have hired several new staff and faculty members, including a new student support counselor and director of inclusivity.

Our dedicated faculty and staff are committed to supporting your student to achieve success and graduate prepared to launch a successful career in art and design.

This fall there are many new and exciting opportunities for students to nurture their passion and career aspirations. Here are a few highlights:

  • MIAD Innovation Center – Launched in Fall 2018, the MIAD Innovation Center provides students opportunities to explore their own creative ideas outside of the classroom, as well as professional experiences working with businesses and nonprofits in Milwaukee.
  • MIAD Creativity Series – On October 25, the four founding members of the Strange Fire Collective deliver a public presentation, “Institutional Questions/Questioning Institutions.” Strange Fire seeks to create a venue for work that critically questions the dominant social hierarchy and highlights work made by women, people of color, and queer and trans artists.
  • Student organizations – The college has a growing number of student activities and organizations. Participating in an activity or group that matches their interest is a great way for students to be involved and make new friends.

I encourage you to check back on this blog often for tips and advice on how you can best support your student this year. Also, be sure to sign up to receive our monthly MIAD Family Forum emails to stay up-to-date.

Jeff Morin
MIAD President

P.S. If you haven’t already, check out our information for new students in Fall 2019 for information on supplies, new student orientation and more.

Curricular collaborations with Milwaukee organizations offer professional experiences to MIAD students

Each year, MIAD collaborates with corporate and nonprofit partners on a variety of curricular projects to enhance students’ real-world, professional experiences while providing invaluable intellectual property and products to our partners.

Jess Schindler

Projects span all majors, but in the Spring 2019 semester alone, Illustration and Communication Design departments worked with several organizations. Here are the highlights:

Colectivo Coffee – students created new coffee cup designs; four winners were chosen to have their designs on cups at area locations for one month.

Trusted Media Brands – students created illustrations to accompany stories in Country Woman and Reminisce Extra magazines; winning will be published in the magazines.

Fromm Family Foods – students designed posters for Fromm Petfest; the winner’s poster will besold at the event in September 2019 and student designs will be on view at the event.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee – students designed logos and other materials for specific 88Nine Radio Milwaukee programs; winners’ work will be used in summer promotional campaigns.

Prevent Blindness Wisconsin – students designed t-shirts for this nonprofit; the organization is selling the winner’s t-shirt design online


Read more about each collaboration.

2019 Year In Review

2019 has been an extraordinary year for MIAD and its students. Take a look back at a few of their accomplishments as we head into the summer.

1. MIAD Innovation Center launches. In Fall 2018, the college launched the MIAD Innovation Center, which combines technology and students’ creativity to design solutions for Milwaukee business and nonprofits. The center also serves as an incubator to help students take their creative ideas to market and offers educational programming.
2. MIAD receives national accolades. For the fourth consecutive year, Graphic Design USA magazine named MIAD a Top Design School. MONEY magazine named MIAD a Best College for Your Money.
3. Industrial Design students help MPS kidsThrough empathy and design, MIAD Industrial Design juniors created assistive devices to help MPS students at Manitoba Elementary & Middle School with special needs.
4. Printmaking Week starts strong. In the fall, students taking Arts Management brought 12 renowned artists to MIAD for a weeklong residency, when they collaborated with students and created special prints for the college.
5. Record number of designs patented at Delta. This year, Delta patented an unprecedented 10 MIAD Industrial Design student designs.

I Do Declare: Preparing for Majors Declaration Day

At MIAD, advising works to support your student in both their passion and future profession! Majors Declaration Day is Thursday, November 8. At this event, your student will be able to declare their major and interact with department chairs, other students and alumni with a more intentional focus and direction.

For First-Year Experience (FYE) students, it’s time to declare. This semester, students received a Professional Preparation Plan (PPP) guidebook that can help them on their journey toward academic engagement as well as career development as an aspiring professional.

Use the guidebook as a conversation-starter to ask your student:

  • What mediums do you use in class? Which do you enjoy using to demonstrate a concept?
  • Have you identified your interests and skills?
  • Are you researching the majors and occupations that derive from degrees offered at MIAD?

It is never too early to begin investigating majors and career opportunities. Below are videos on each academic major, as well as academic and career development tools for your examination:

Communication Design
Industrial Design
Interior Architecture + Design
New Studio Practice: Fine Arts

Professional Preparation Plan
Careers in Art & Design


Students with questions about academic programs and/or career options may contact Director of Advising Alea Cross at aleacross@miad.edu or Assistant Director of Career Services Christina WickHeiser at christinawickheiser@miad.edu.


Short-Term Study Abroad – What Parents Need to Know

Short-term study and travel abroad programs offer students a chance to broaden their world-views, immerse themselves in other cultures and environments and elevate their artistic and design practices.

This year, students have one short-term study abroad opportunity:



Led by Courtney Maloney, Bob Lynch and Ben Dembroski, this trip is three weeks on-site in Glasgow, Scotland (May 20 – June 11) with scheduled pre- and post-trip class meetings at MIAD.

Through this course, students will investigate the relationship between creative work and the historical, social and cultural dynamics of Glasgow. Students will be challenged to consider how artists/designers make work that is uniquely expressive of their time and place, and how artists and designers, in turn, make the place.


3 Studio + 3 Liberal Studies credits (6 total)


Completed WR120 and has instructor approval

Estimated travel/course fee

$4,250 includes six credits of MIAD summer tuition, housing, field trips and museum admissions, travel health/safety insurance during program dates, and several group meals.

Financial aid and need-based grants are available for eligible students.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: December 3, 2018


  • Read more.
  • Encourage your student to attend the first information meeting on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 11:15 a.m. in the 4th Floor Screening Room.
  • Your student can contact Jenny Krantz at jkrantz@miad.edu or in Office 450B.

Follow MIAD on social media

From a behind-the-scenes look at MIAD’s 3D Lab and Sewing Lab, to insider info on what New Student Practice: Fine Arts students are doing, to upcoming events and news about alumni, there’s a lot you can learn about MIAD by following our social media accounts.

Here’s a few social media accounts we recommend you follow to stay up-to-date on everything MIAD:


Senior Exhibition opens this week at MIAD

MIAD’s annual Senior Exhibition, Wisconsin’s largest exhibition of its kind, features more than 100 artists and designers representing all of MIAD’s Bachelor of Fine Arts majors and minors. The 2018 Senior Exhibition opens to the general public on April 20 and runs through May 12, 2018.

The Preview Night on April 18 is the MIAD community’s chance to see the work before the exhibit opens to the general public.

Learn more about the 2018 Senior Exhibition.

New academic minors at MIAD expand career opportunities for students

Chairs designed by furniture design students

Did you know that MIAD offers 17 academic minors? A minor can help a student expand his or her skill set in a focused area of study. Minors are available in all five majors, as well as several liberal studies areas, including advertising, art history, business, copywriting, humanities, natural sciences, psychology and writing.

In the past couple of years, MIAD has added several new minors as well, including the majors detailed below.

Arts Management
The first classes for this minor are happening this semester. The Arts Management minor prepares students to lead and manage arts organizations and events. Courses allow students to explore the theory, practice, knowledge and culture necessary to managing individual practices, community arts organizations, traditional and experimental art spaces, museums, galleries and nonprofit groups.

Book Arts
The Book Arts minor offers students a wide-ranging set of experiences within the broad definitions of a book. In an introductory class, students explore a variety of binding and folding techniques that incorporate interdisciplinary processes and utilize a variety of media. Then students use a variety of required and/or elective courses to complete a focused minor in book arts that fits their interests and skills.

Digital Media Production
The Digital Media Production minor is perfect for a student with a passion for storytelling. The minor allows students to explore the production process, from concept to completion in a variety of applications and media. Through one focused required class and then selecting four elective courses from a broad list, students build a set of experiences that match closely with their career goals and interests. Students gain an understanding of professional practices and issues related to the real-world employment market of filmmaking, animation, video games and sequential storytelling.

Furniture Design
This cross-disciplinary minor is ideal for students interested in designing and building well-crafted, modern furniture. Students learn the core principles of woodworking, joinery and fabrication, as well as more exploratory bending and forming techniques. Students embrace all phases of the design-build process from conception to completion.

Learn more about academic minors at MIAD.

Important dates and deadlines through May 2018

The spring semester is more than half over, but there’s still a lot more happening on campus. Check out the important dates and deadlines you and your student should know about from now until the end of the semester.

March 30 – AH213 Field Trip
Sophomores and juniors in AH213 engage in an all-day field trip.

April 6 – First-Year Juried Student Exhibition Awards Reception
The First-Year Juried Student Exhibition represents the best of first-year student work. An outside juror selects students to receive awards. The exhibition and award ceremony are held in MIAD’s East Gallery. The Awards Reception is April 6 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.. The exhibition opens April 4.

April 18 – Senior Exhibition Preview Night
MIAD’s annual Senior Exhibition, Wisconsin’s largest exhibition of its kinds, features more than 100 artists and designers representing all of MIAD’s Bachelor of Fine Arts majors and minors. The Preview Night is the MIAD community’s chance to see the work before the exhibit opens to the general public on April 20.

April 24 – Guest speaker: Glenn Adamson, “Make or Break: Inside and Outside the Rules”
Curator, writer and scholar Glenn Adamson discusses his current research into the work of two artists/designers and what goes into career-shaping breakthroughs. This programming is generously sponsored by the Caxambas Foundation. The event is at 7 p.m. in the MIAD Student Union.

April 25 – MIAD DEFINES: Sustainability
All classes are canceled for this unique learning event. The entire college participates in a day of panels, gallery talks and events.

May 1 – RPC Pecha Kucha Presentations
Selected first-year students will present pecha kuchas they’ve created in their RPC classes. The presentations will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

May 12 – Graduation
Congrats to our graduating seniors! MIAD’s commencement ceremony is held at the Pabst Theater from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Find out more about commencement on the MIAD Graduation blog.

Alumni Profile: Melissa Thornton ’02, Owner of Milwaukee Home

MIAD Communication Design alumna Melissa Thornton ’02 designed a t-shirt in 2011 that said simply: MILWAUKEE HOME. She designed the shirt as a Christmas gift, and soon people began asking her friends where they got the shirt. Her gift turned into a full-time business for Thornton, who owns a store in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward where she sells the t-shirts.

Read more about Melissa’s success in a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article.

Helping your student with their academic action plan

A note from Alea Cross, Director of Advising

As the spring semester is underway, Academic Advising is excited to support students in their academic planning to develop them as creative minds and emerging professionals.

This semester, advisors have shared an action plan guide with your student. This guide will assist your student in developing and setting academic, personal and professional goals for the semester. MIAD encourages your student to take time to reflect on their plan for the spring semester. As educators, we know academic success aligns with personal satisfaction. To equip students, we are challenging each student to proactively meet with their advisors about their academic action plan during 4-week reports.

As parents and family, MIAD encourages you to be a supporting advocate for assisting your student learn how to plan life proactively. How can you help?

Talk with your student, using these guided talking points. Ask your student:

  • When do you plan to meet/did you meet with your advisor?
  • How do you plan to maintain or increase your GPA?
  • What are your academic and personal goals and challenges?
  • Have you reflected on how you will be successful with both your academic and personal goals?

The importance of student success has been reflected in research addressing the challenges that shape young adults navigating college with effective decision-making skills. With advisors reaching out to students, we are performing a best practice that supports students being able to effectively plan for the future.

We encourage all students to:

  • Meet with their advisors at least 3 times per semester.
  • Proactively consider scheduling time in the Learning Resource Center for time-management support and tutoring.
  • Continue a working relationship with their advisor and the Career Services Office for career planning.
  • Cultivate a mentoring relationship with faculty to gain insight into their art and design practice.

For tips on how you can continue the support of your student adjusting to adulthood, consider reading Marjorie Savage’s You’re On Your Own (But I’m Here If You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years.

Also, download MIAD’s Creating an Action Plan PDF.


Reminder: Complete the 2018-2019 FAFSA

FAFSAStudents who will attend MIAD in the fall of 2018 need to fill out the 2018-2019 FAFSA to ensure continued financial aid. Tax data from 2016 can be used. We encourage students to submit the FAFSA as soon as possible.

See more information about the 2018-2019 FAFSA filing and financial aid process.

Spring semester underway, important dates & deadlines through Spring Break

The spring semester is now underway, and there’s a lot happening at MIAD. Here’s a roundup of the important dates and deadlines you and your student should know from January through March 2018:

January 19 – Winter Gallery Night in the Historic Third Ward
MIAD’s galleries are open 5 – 9 p.m. on Winter Gallery Night. A reception for “Humanly Possible: The Empathy Exhibition” will be held. Plus, “Chair^5: Five Perspectives on Form, Function and Innovation” is on view. See more about current and upcoming gallery exhibitions.

February 1 – Empathy Through the Visual Arts: An Artist’s Discussion
Three artists from “Humanly Possible: The Empathy Exhibition” (Lois Bielefeld, Tina Blondell and Gondrun Lock) along with curator John Schuerman and moderator and MIAD Professor Leslie Fedorchuk discuss the concept of empathy and its manifestation in the visual arts. Reception to follow. The discussion begins at 6 p.m.

February 8 – 4-Week Reports
Four-week reports are due for all first-year students.

February 13 – MIAD Creativity Series: Jaime Hayon
Iconic international artist-designer Jaime Hayon presents “Form Follows Function, and Then What?” February 13 at 6 p.m. While visiting, he will be working with students at the Milwaukee Art Museum, where he has an exhibition, “Jaime Hayon: Technicolor.” Learn more.

February 15 – Empathy, Connections and Borders: An Evening of Poetry and Storytelling
A night of visual and oral storytelling between artists and writers from Milwaukee and Minneapolis exploring empathy, creating human connections and crossing borders. The evening begins at 7 p.m. Learn more.

March 1 – 100 Lullabies (Lullaby Songs for Refugees)
An experiential platform for listening to stories of war, face to face with artists who grew up during war in the Middle East. Audience members will be invited to sing and record a song of comfort or lullaby in their own language for children who are affected or displaced from their motherland by war. The event begins at 7 p.m. and is part of the special programming for “Humanly Possible: The Empathy Exhibition.” Learn more.

March 12 – Midterms
Midterm grade reports are due March 12. If your student is struggling, encourage him or her to reach out for help through tutoring, counseling and other academic support resources at MIAD.

March 12-16 – Spring Break
No classes are held during spring break. Enjoy the break!

A Note from MIAD President Jeff Morin: Welcome to the Spring 2018 semester

Parents and Family Members:

As the new semester begins, we are excited that students are back on campus and for the many opportunities available to them to develop their skills and prepare them to be innovators that meet universal challenges in new ways throughout their education and in their careers.

This semester marks the launch of the first courses in our new arts management minor, which is a series of coursework that prepares students to lead and manage arts organizations and events. Throughout the year, we’re also adding new technologies to our Maker Space, like our stereolithography 3D printers that turns liquid into models, prototypes, patterns and parts.

In addition, our Student Services and Advising areas are adding new events and programming. Plus, in February we will be opening a new self-service market in the Student Union to provide students with fresh and healthy food options during all the hours the academic building is open.

Best wishes for a wonderful semester,

Jeff Morin

Activities from Fall 2017 Orientation & Move-In Day

Fall 2017 Move-In Day and Orientation activities are complete! Students enjoyed everything from presentations by other students and a picnic in Catalano Square to a studio experience with faculty and mentors and the annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Atwater Beach. Click the photo below to see a photo album that provides a glimpse of the activities students participated in.
Orientation/Move-in 2017

Welcome new students!

Hello, MIAD Parents,

Thank you for trusting MIAD with a new member of our community. Students arriving to campus are surrounded by caring, engaged professionals who are committed to student success.

I continue to be impressed with the quality of our students. They have a professional drive that is tempered with kindness and inclusion of those around them. They seek innovative solutions to problems. They create with courage and integrity. MIAD is genuinely that place where passion finds purpose.

Warm regards for a great year ahead,

Jeff Morin, President