Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Inching ever closer ...

I'm on two different Grady College (at UGA) committees examining how (not if, really, but how) to restructure the college both administratively and in terms of curriculum. As I've mentioned here before, the provost has accelerated the process some -- not necessarily a bad thing given how slow academe can creak and grind its way to a decision.

So both committees met this week. We mostly talked at the conceptual level, not at the nitty-gritty course level. That said, here's how I sense things are going (keeping in mind I could be completely wrong):
  • Journalism and Digital and Broadcast Journalism (the old Broadcast News but now with fancy modifiers) will merge.
  • That merger will likely include a mix of 1-hour skills-based classes at first so students are more multimedia savvy before walking into journalism-oriented classes.
  • Something will replace WUGA-TV. What? Still so far up in the air you can't even see it. The odds? I'd put it at 30 percent some kind of big teaching hospital newsroom thingie, 70 percent a more innovation lab thingie.
  • We'll have three departments but with the potential for faculty to be associated with more than one department. Call 'em, for now, Ad/PR, Journalism, and Media Studies.
  • While we'll remain administratively vertical, we're inching toward a more horizontal approach when it comes to areas of interest. What's this mean in English? I'll write more on this later.
  • "Yes," you ask, "but what's media studies?" All the stuff that doesn't fit in the other two, largely entertainment or documentary oriented but also critical studies. The name will probably reflect this "critical" aspect as well, so it might be Media and Critical Studies. I dunno.

Again let me stress the information above is merely my sense of where things seem to be headed after only two meetings (one for each committee). The faculty will of course have to approve any changes, and we haven't even begun to address the zillion little issues that will crop up in merging faculty and coming up with a more (ugh, c-word warning) converged curriculum.

Also it's unclear now the New Media Institute fits in whatever happens downstairs in that TV space. Hell, a lot is unclear. There's a college-wide meeting next week to discuss the results of focus groups all the faculty participated in, or were invited to participate in. They make for a fun read. While there are no names attached, I can easily spot some people who have been singing the same song for years and years. That meeting next Friday (3/7) will hopefully bring into focus some of the expectations and plans.

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