Media arts redesigns core curriculum

By Kelly Canright

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Department of Media Arts has implemented a new core curriculum to enhance the work of undergraduates in their program.

Michael Gillette, department head, said the change in the program went into effect at the beginning of this fall semester.

The change involves the reduction of the number of units media arts majors are required to complete in their general education core curriculum.

"Reality prompted these changes. We had to downsize our programs because of the large number of majors," Gillette said.

Without the faculty or equipment to aid students with their work and with no budget increase forthcoming, he said the revision was inevitable.

Gillette said he suspected that many students chose to pursue media arts degrees to hide from degree requirements in other majors. Unlike most other majors, media arts has no requirements for a foreign language, a second science or college algebra.

A survey taken in 1991 revealed that only 27 percent of students working towards a bachelor of fine arts degree in media arts were interested in production.

This year there was a massive redesign of the B.F.A. and the bachelor of arts in media arts. Now, only 25 students can participate in the BFA major each year.

Media arts majors will now be required to complete four 200-level courses dealing with subjects ranging from major legislation and critical issues in media arts to media arts aesthetics.

The third course, which will focus on race and gender in the media, is currently being designed and will be ready by the spring semester of 1996.

The final course, based on media production, will be composed of three sections to allow instructor rotation every five weeks.

"The serious courses on the lower divison level are a precursor for what lies ahead, but it gives students a base," Gillette said. "The core curriculum is there to provide the same background for all majors."

Last year's department head Caren Deming said the new curriculum focuses on sophomore level classes which will be heavily endowed with history courses.

Deming said the new curriculum is in the spirit of the new general education idea and will be basically theoretical.

"It is a straight forward liberal arts introduction into the field with a restricted number of courses," she said.

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