Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Grady Update

I'm on two different committees looking at restructuring Grady College and how to use the space occupied at present by WUGA-TV. I wrote a month ago on the process. See that for background.

So where are we?

Running out of time, but making (I think) significant progress.

There are two committees I'm involved with. The Alpha committee is about structure and curriculum, the Beta committee is specifically about the space downstairs. Beta is further along, in part because its mission is more specific. Right now, that WUGA-TV space looks similar to what I wrote about before, at least at the top level, of themed courses. But let's talk about the bottom. At this level, students would take a large course and then perhaps a set of 1-hour technology-specific courses so everyone in Grady walks into their next set of classes with some expertise. Departments would choose which of the maybe 10 different classes are best for their students. Yes, we'd hire a professional faculty member or two.

Again, this is all in the air, but a proposal of some kind is due to the provost in a few weeks.

Alpha meets this coming Monday. That's the biggie, because at present I see us continuing to have three departments. They'd be:
  • Advertising/PR. No real change. The department is practically perfect in every way.
  • Journalism (combining Journalism with Digital and Broadcast Journalism from the awfully named Department of Telecommunications, which sounds like it's about telephones). The new department could simply be Journalism, or something longer.
  • Media Arts (a work in progress, this name, expect some to push to put critical in the title). This is the more entertainment-oriented folks from Tele but also a few from Ad/PR whose research tends to focus on entertainment kinds of stuff, or critical-cultural kinds of stuff. It'd be the smallest of the three departments. Too small? Don't think so, but its stability is critical.
Theoretically, people could have appointments in two departments, which works really well for some folks in Ad/PR who might be more at home in the Media Arts but who teach a lot of stuff in Ad/PR, like graphics.

(there's also a push for two big departments but its getting no real traction)

Any proposal of restructuring would, of course, go to the faculty for a big up-down vote. I'll move for a secret ballot because I don't want a lecturer or assistant professor pissing off some our full profs who, frankly, are a taco short of a combination platter.  If it comes to a vote, I predict a 40-10 vote for three departments listed above (assuming 50 votes, I don't know how many voting faculty we have). Of course Nate Silver may handicap it differently. The real nitty gritty, then, will be crafting a curriculum in the new-and-improved-yet-maybe-not department that may-or-may-not go by Journalism or may include lots of lazy modifiers before it. Stay tuned on that one. A lot of work needs doing there.

Funny. I put out an email to Journalism faculty updating them on the process and asking them to email or catch me in the hall if they had any concerns, etc. No. One. Did. At least not to me. Perhaps they spoke to other committee members. Dunno.

There is so much we (the Journalism we, not Ad/PR which is practically perfect in every way) need to update in our curriculum. That's another post for another day.

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