New College of Media, Design and the Arts at the University of Colorado (CU – Boulder)

The University of Colorado (CU) has put forward a proposal to develop a new College of Media, Design and the Arts, at its Boulder, CO campus. The Steering Committee responsible for this initiative has identified recommendations which:

respond to the needs and interests of a growing body of students who seek to master digital media and information and communication technology (ICT) for successful careers in the fine and performing arts, journalism, design, organizational communication, and related fields, and who value an education that can provide them with a deep understanding of the meaning and impact of ICT across a wide range of human endeavors, from the local to the global and from the historical to the contemporary.

The full proposal can be downloaded here. It involves establishing new disciplines in Information Studies and Design Studies, as well as bringing together established disciplines such as Architecture and Environmental Design; Art and Art History; Communication; Film Studies; Journalism and Mass Communication; Music; and Theatre and Dance. As the proposal notes:

New areas of emphasis in the College, which could become topics for undergraduate and graduate degrees, minors, or certificates, will include the design, management, and study of social media; experimental digital arts and technology; gaming and animation; media entrepreneurship; multimedia digital publishing; narrative for emergent media; networked organizations; and sound/audio and visual design for digital arts and media.

The College will emphasize creativity; media fluency; design thinking; collaborative, project-centered learning; practical, marketable skills and an applied curriculum; and a core education in the liberal arts and sciences.

I am pleased to say that I was invited to the University of Colorado in March 2012 to discuss the development of the Creative Industries Faculty at QUT, and the experience of bringing together an array of disciplines into a new institutional formation. I have noted that some of the programs that go in a similar direction to that developed at QUT, and proposed at CU, include:

• UCLA Design Media Arts, University of California, USA;
• School of Arts, Media and Design, University of Westminster, UK;
• School of Arts and Communication (Konst, kultur och kommunikation – K3), Malmo University, Sweden;
• Media Design and Multimedia Arts, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Milan, Italy;
• School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore;
• New School for Public Engagement, New York, USA.

As my colleague Brian McNair has noted elsewhere, the University of Colorado suspended entry into its prestigious journalism program in 2010, on the basis of an external report finding that there was insufficient research among the Faculty, and the program had not kept pace with changes in the media industry. This was despite high student enrolments and a strong track record of placing graduates in the news media industry. The new configuration, referred to as Journalism-Plus, stresses additional coursework outside of the Journalism major.

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About Terry Flew

I am Professor of Media and Communication in the Creative Industries Faculty at the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. I am the author of New Media: An Introduction, the fourth edition of which was published by Oxford University Press in 2014. I am also the author of Understanding Global Media, published by Palgrave in 2007, and The Creative Industries, Culture and Policy, published by Sage in 2012.