New media going the way of the typewriter
Digital communications arts degree to replace new media communications major
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:07
Beginning fall 2012, in-coming freshmen, as well as current students, will have the option of pursuing a degree in digital communication arts at Oregon State University, which will be replacing the new media communications major.
Faculty members belonging to OSU’s College of Liberal Arts, President Ed Ray and the state of Oregon itself have decided to replace the current new media communications major available at OSU with a more intensive and disciplined digital communication arts program.
While the current new media communications major provides a generalist approach to the topic of new media and helps students establish a broad base of knowledge, members of the College of Liberal Arts want to develop a program that focuses more on certain aspects of media such as management, society and production.
Jeff Hale, current chair of the new media communications department, said the new major is “more responsive to the interest of students and the marketplace.”
Hale is a graduate of San Diego State University and has been working at OSU since 1992. He has been the director of liberal studies for 10 years as well as chair of the new media communications department for five years, and has a lot of expertise in the subject of new media.
“(The new program) makes us able to train students to be much more nimble in a very competitive communications marketplace by giving them courses that mirror their real world experiences,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
“This is really a change designed to capitalize NMC’s faculty strength, and provide the best opportunity for the many hundreds of students who are going into the workplace needing these kind of skills,” Rodgers said.
The new media communications major was created in 2004, a few years after OSU abandoned its journalism program. There are currently 340 new media communications majors and 33 minors, with the program predominantly consisting of women. The current major focuses on social media, gaming, reporting, marketing and public relations.
“It will train students in the art of storytelling and narrative in every possible part of the work environment, alongside all kinds of social media which companies and the educational sector now need to present themselves,” Rodgers said.
The digital communications arts program differs from new media communications by offering a BA, BS and BFA, with the BFA degree in production specialty requiring far more credits than the current BA in new media communications. In addition, a liberal arts core will not be required for those who pursue the BFA in production.
Current new media communications majors need not worry according to Hale. These new media communications students will remain unaffected by the change unless they choose to switch into the new program. They will also be allowed, in most circumstances, to enroll in some of the classes offered under the new program. Some of these new courses include social media, the meaning of video games, the history of broadcasting and recording techniques.
The college has made a significant investment in new instructors and faculty and as far as equipment is concerned.
“Our challenge is that we continue to upgrade, but we do have quite a bit right now,” Rodgers said.
Hale, who is also the academic adviser for current new media communications majors and will take on the role of adviser for the new program as well, has reiterated that any students who wish to switch from new media communications or any other major to the new one are encouraged to come in and seek help. The advisers will be doing everything they can to make for a smooth transition and prevent students from being set back.
“We foresee additional majors in the future under new media, such as scientific visualization, media in society, gaming, etc., and possibly even a digital communication arts minor for those interested,” Hale said. “NMC is positioning itself to give students the newest portfolio of tools students need to be effective communicators in today’s very complex communications environment.”
Gabby Morrongiello, reporter
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