Home / Spring 2016 / 2016-03-24 / Changes in store for mass media department

Changes in store for mass media department

Photo Illustration by Kayla Stroud/THE SPECTATOR

Written by Kenzie Kesselring, Opinions Editor

In fall 2016, the Mass Media Department will roll out its new curriculum for students who have not yet completed their pre requisite courses.

At a March 10 meeting, students were invited to attend a meeting where upcoming curriculum changes were discussed, and students were informed on how the changes would affect their education and graduation path.

Students were informed at the meeting that a writing and media diversity class would be added to the pre-requisite course list. The production and workshop classes will also be changed.

Production classes will now be broken into levels instead of divided into specific areas. The workshop classes however, will be divided into specific areas such as news, video, sports and audio.

There will also be a three-credit hour senior capstone class as well as a senior seminar class that will be worth three credit hours instead of one. Students will also take one media law and ethics class as opposed to two separate classes.

The good news for graduating seniors in the current spring and upcoming fall semester is they can still stay with the old curriculum if it would work better for their graduation path. The only students who will be required to make the switch to the new path are students who have not yet completed the pre requisite program.

Like all changes, some mass media professors are excited for the change, while others do not believe the program will benefit from the changes.

Jason Brown, assistant professor of mass media, is excited about the change the new curriculum will bring and hopes the emphasis on writing, social media and audio will make for more well-rounded graduates.

“I’m excited about where we are going,” Brown said. “Like most programs, the world changes and you want to have classes that help to inform our students about the world they are about to enter.”

While Brown believes the new curriculum is good for the program, he does understand why some students and professors are upset.

“Change is hard for everybody,” Brown said. “However, the transition will be a lot less painless than people think it’ll be.”

People who oppose the new curriculum, like Frank Barnas, professor of mass media, believe that it will produce less well-rounded students and could be less what is different about VSU’s mass media program.

“The hallmark of our program was that students could gain expertise in their chosen field; I’m not sure how we get that back,” Barnas said.

Professor Barnas believes that the removal of specialized courses will affect students’ ability to stand out among mass media students from the University of Georgia and Georgia Southern. According to Barnas, Valdosta State has the only Bachelors of Fine Arts in Mass Media program in the state, which has been a strong selling point for the program, but he now believes that the new curriculum will enable the program to live up to its name.

“My primary concern is the negation of our production classes,” Barnas said. “When you see the surge of Georgia Film Academy in the Atlanta area, it’s evident that our students need to be the best trained to compete.”

The main positive Barnas sees in the curriculum change is the flexibility of the university to work with students on substituting and waving classes to best meet students’ needs.

The mass media department will be hosting another information session about the curriculum change today, at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Union Theater.

Brown encourages all students not graduating in May to attend to become more informed on the changes. He also encourages mass media students to talk to their advisors about how the changes will affect their education path.

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