No enrollment leads to Ampersand shutdown


Eric Rothenbuhler, dean of the School of Communications, said the lack of enrollment surprised him. Students can sign up for the class next semester.

By Alyssa Quinonez

Webster’s biannual student-produced magazine will not be published this semester due to zero enrollment in the magazine production class. Eric Rothenbuhler, dean of the School of Communications, said Webster offered the class successfully twice a year since 2003. 

Rothenbuhler said he is proud of the work that the students have done in previous issues. The magazine won national awards almost every issue. 

“We were quite surprised and disappointed that no students signed up for it, so we had no choice but to cancel it,” Rothenbuhler. 

Rothenbuhler said the course, JOUR 4290 Magazine Production, will be offered again in the spring.

Graphic courtesy of the Ampersand.

In class, students work all semester to design a student-life focused publication, free to the student body. Students from any department can enroll in the class since there is no prerequisite. 

Students learn the basic components of writing, design and layout skills, photography, advertising sales and distribution. Students that become an editor will build leadership and management skills according to the course description.

Karen Burch is the adviser of the Ampersand and has taught the magazine production class since its inception in the spring of 2003, totalling 33 issues.

Burch’s goal for her students is that they walk away understanding more about the process of producing a magazine as well as building on their creative skills.

According to Burch, the Ampersand has had many success stories in the 16 years of the magazine’s existence. Ampersand alumni have worked from St. Louis Magazine to graphic artists in Boston, New York and Los Angeles said Burch.

“I am always amazed by what our Ampersand alums are doing,” Burch said.

Today, Alum Tara Jones uses her design skills to illustrate and design magazine pages. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in studio art, Jones found her passion for design while being the art director for the magazine’s spring 2019 issue. She believes this course aided her career path by refining her graphic design and illustration abilities as well as challenging her creative perspective.

Jones said her communication and team-building skills were put into practice while being art director. Jone’s position also kept her consistently focused on meeting and beating deadlines.

Jones recommends this course to any student with an interest in the components of magazine production such as writing, photography, design, marketing, advertising or video.

Senior Nermina Ferkić was co-editor-in-chief of the Ampersand her junior year at Webster.

Ferkić is a film, television, and video production major with a design minor.

“I felt like I was missing something education-wise my first two years of college,” Ferkić said. “I couldn’t quite figure out what until the Ampersand showed me the design side of my creativity.”

The Ampersand helped Ferkić in her career path by showing her how much she enjoys design. Ferkić said she loves laying out editorial pages as well as making her own illustrations to go with them. 

Nermina Ferkić said she learned responsibility, leadership and creative skills while being co-editor-in-chief of the Ampersand for two semesters.  She enjoyed working within a team talking over ideas with individuals that have different interests and views. Ferkić said if JOUR 4290 magazine production was offered as an extracurricular activity, Ferkić would have added the class to her class schedule her senior year.. 

She recommends adding magazine production to your schedule to use as a creative outlet. 

Adrianna Dreckmann took a chance on joining the Ampersand staff in spring 2018. Dreckmann is a junior majoring in film, tv and video production with a minor in photography. 

After two semesters of taking magazine production, Dreckmann said joining the Ampersand improved her skills as an editorial writer.

Dreckmann said while magazine production is a ton of work, the ability to create something that can be seen outside of campus is rewarding. 

Dreckmann’s articles in the spring and fall 2018 issues landed her a job as a writer and photographer for multiple online magazine publications. She currently works for Poptized Magazine, Dreamstate Magazine and Tuesday Zine. 

“Isn’t it crazy how one college class can lead to an entry-level career opportunity,” Jones said. 

“My advice? Take a chance.”

Share this post

+ posts