A Day in the Life of an Educator in Graphic Communications

June 9, 2021 | Posted in: Ken Macro | PGSF News | Careers Resources

By Ken Macro, PhD

California Polytechnic State University, Graphic Communications

Ken Macro, PhD California Polytechnic State University, Graphic Communications

“What the hell was I thinking?” – A Day in the Life

I was in the third month of my new job at Cal Poly, running the in-plant printing plant and university mailroom. I was attempting to get my “feet on the ground,” so to speak, with the new job, when I received an email from the department head of the graphic communication department, asking for a moment to talk about my “career goals.” He was in need of an adjunct instructor to teach a production management class within their curriculum for that fall to fill in for a recently retired faculty member.

Admittedly, I was aware of the famous Graphic Communication program at Cal Poly and aspired to develop an academic career in the department. However, I thought it would be within my five-year plan.

Instead, they assigned me to teach one class, which quickly evolved to two classes that quarter and, well, let’s just say, the rest is history.

One always asks, “how did you end up in education?”  With hesitancy and simultaneously fiddling with the few remaining coins in my pants pocket—revisiting the ever-present and long-lasting words from my mother permanently embedded in my brain from many years ago: “you should become a country singer and make me proud”—my response is always, “there is nothing more satisfying to looking out upon a sea of faces to see them staring back at you—wide-eyed and engaged—in pursuit of individualized knowledge (except, of course, for that nodding-head kid in the back row who is video-gamed-out from the night before).

Educators don’t make a lot of money, and they don’t make many friends (at least in my case). They are guides to a journey of enlightenment. That journey can be unplanned, fragmented, arduous, scary, and often unforeseen. However, the choice to engage the human mind in a discipline that is so vast, such as in graphic communications, only perpetuates engagement and an affinity for a changing and unique “industry.” We dedicate our energy to preserving the means to create, modify, and distribute knowledge.

I hope you continue to join me in this periodical venue of reminiscent journeys and continuous exploration into the future of education within this discipline of graphic communication. In doing so, you can hopefully become my friend, and, if not, at the minimum, we can break your video gaming addiction. Or not.


Dr. Ken Macro is a professor of Graphic Communication at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. He is serving his 21st year. His areas of interest are management (contemporary, production, human resources, and Lean manufacturing), sales, and marketing. He is also the faculty advisor for the Charles Palmer Collection – The Shakespeare Press Museum housed within the department. Ken sits on the PGSF board of directors as an educational institution representative. Should you wish to contact him, his email is kmacro@calpoly.edu.