Dean Diane Gayeski gave the annual Roy H. Park School of Communications state of the school address Thursday. Gayeski opened the presentation with a broad spectrum of overall goals of the school, then continued into the finer points of the current plans for Park.
The address focused on the recent upgrades to the Park School, administration mergers within the school, upcoming changes and this year’s notable speakers.
“Certainly the number one priority is to maintain excellence in undergraduate distinction. That’s what we’re about.” Gayeski said, speaking to the 10 students in attendance.
Freshman Alex Cammy attended the address and said students should attend these events about school changes, because it is what their tuition dollars go toward.
“It’s important to go and understand what is happening with the school,” Cammy said. “I feel like, if you’re spending this money on programs for you, you should know what’s going on.”
At the address, Gayeski announced a new student-run “movie studio.” This new program will be the co-curricular parallel of ICTV for film students. The studio will be used for transmedia projects, such as films shot on phones or a web series. All projects would be developed and distributed by students.
“It’s for students’ own programs, things you come up with yourselves that doesn’t necessarily fit into ICTV,” Gayeski said.
Carol Jennings, manager of ICTV, will advise the movie studio. Chris Wheatley, manager of radio operations, will be taking over management of ICTV.
To make curriculum changes easier on the administrative level, two departments have merged. The Department of Television-Radio and the Department of Cinema, Photo and Media Arts have been combined into a new Department of Media Arts, Sciences and Studies. There will not be new degrees, only the departmental structure has changed.
Professors in the formerly separate departments, particularly screenwriting professors, found that they needed to update their curriculum to include aspects of the other departments.
“The reason that we did that, as all of you realize, is that there’s increasing overlap between what had been done in TV, and what had been done in film,” Gayeski said of the merging.
The Kesh Center for Global Communications Innovation is a newer addition to the Park School and was named in honor of the founding dean, John Keshishoglou. The center focuses on helping communication students be global. The interviewing process for a director of the center is now under way.
There will also be a new graduate communications program aimed at communications professionals looking to expand their platform in the expanding media age. This is planned to start in Fall 2013. The two-year program is mostly online courses, with several weekend intensives throughout.
Another key area of the address was budget and upgrades. School upgrades from the past year cost more than $750,000 and included the large expense of upgrading the production truck to high-definition equipment. Infrastructure upgrades included new cameras, paint, carpets and flooring.
“There have been pipe leaks over master control and the tape area for ICTV,” Gayeski said. “There have been doors that wouldn’t lock. Things that are not very sexy, but had to be fixed.”
Gayeski also announced that this year’s Park Distinguished Visitor will be Dan O’Shannon, the executive producer for “Modern Family.”
Melissa Gattine, marketing communications and Park Design House manager, works with Gayeski on the many initiatives that improve the school.
“What she’s trying to do is to open the door, have that communication. When people see changes happening in the building or get emails about it, they’re kind of up to date,” Gattine said. “That’s the bigger picture of where her goals are and where she’s trying to lead the school.”