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Provost details proposed Media School merger

POSTED AT 12:41 AM ON Sep. 25, 2013 

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Provost Lauren Robel today made public a 34-page proposal outlining the possible merger of the departments of communication and culture and telecommunications and the School of Journalism.

The Media School proposal codifies previously released details, clarifies speculation and introduces new information for aspects including faculty, academic programs and administrative organization. It also establishes a merger timeframe through 2016.

The new Media School was so named as it “... deemphasizes the boundaries that have been repeatedly identified as problematic in this area ...” according to the
proposal.

The trustees will vote on the proposal during their meeting Oct. 17  and 18 at IU.

Aims

Broad trends in the proposal emphasize a digital focus given the rapidly changing media and technological landscape. To this end, the proposal calls for increased collaboration between specialties, particularly the School of Informatics and Computing.

There’s also focus on improving digital and technological resources, such as top-of-the-line production facilities.

The “MSchool” would draw upon “humanistic approaches” from CMCL, “social-science expertise, industry knowledge, and policy analysis” from telecommunications and “professional and industry knowledge and expertise and award-winning international programs” from journalism.

Faculty

The proposal also focuses on collaboration and connectivity between faculty, resources and production from multiple disciplines across campus.

The school would comprise core faculty from all three units and affiliate faculty members with relevant expertise from many schools on campus, including many from the School of Informatics and Computing.

Currently, 75 faculty members are employed through the three units, and the proposal identifies more than 200 other faculty members on campus that could be invited as affiliated faculty.

Tenured faculty members in the three units whose expertise does not fit under the umbrella of the Media School will be assisted by the College in finding new tenured homes within the College.

Fifteen additional core tenure track faculty and nine professors of practice have been factored into the projected budget.

Academics

Academic programs would emphasize three areas: a broad liberal arts education, professional skills and understanding of the media.

Looking three years out from inception, the proposal states a conservative enrollment goal of 1,875 undergraduate majors, which is an increase of 250 students from current totals of the three units.

Undergraduate students will earn their degrees through various tracks. Proposed tracks include Communication Studies, Film and Media Arts, Journalism and Advertising and Strategic Communications, among various others. 

The MSchool will also aim to create concentrations and certificates, in addition to offering BAs and BSs. One such certificate would be a certificate in Digital Media, offered jointly with the School of Informatics and Computing.

Additionally, the new school will work on developing five-year combined BA/MA and BS/MA degrees, as well as new Ph.D. degrees. Online master’s degrees and certificates aimed at “midcareer professionals” will also be offered.

Location

Existing production space at the Radio-TV Building would act as counterpart to the main home of the Media School at a renovated Franklin Hall. The proposal calls for faculty, media-related centers and programs and most student media — including the Indiana Daily Student, IU Student Television and WIUX— to be housed in Franklin Hall, which has already undergone renovations in part made possible by $21 million of state funding.

The proposal notes that even with state funding for Franklin Hall renovation, additional funding for its renovations will be critical.

Timeframe

If approved, the MSchool would join the College on July 1, 2014. Academic programs for the MSchool would begin in fall 2015, and faculty would move into Franklin Hall no later than spring 2016.

Administration

The school will be led by a dean and associate dean, who will report to Executive Dean of the College Larry Singell. MSchool academic, administrative and fiscal matters will fall under the purview of the College.

Three boards will be created to boost external visibility and strengthen external relationships. An External Board will comprise alumni and “friends of IU” who have found success in journalism, film and integrated media.
Faculty, chairs and directors from various disciplines will form a Faculty Advisory Board.

Students, too, will have a voice in the form of the Student Advisory Board. This board would aim to include broadly representative undergraduate and graduate voices.

The proposal also referenced “Faculty Groups” that will help form the school’s organizational structure. Led by an appointed faculty chair, these groups will be responsible for faculty recruitment, mentoring and evaluation.

The Process

Robel, along with College and Journalism leadership, began drafting the proposal this summer, following the completion of the Memorandum of Understanding, which established mutually understood guidelines between journalism and the College for the future of journalism in the new, merged school.

The proposal went live on the provost’s website Tuesday and has been shared with faculty and members of the Board of Trustees.

 

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