June 2, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 67°F


Commentary: ICLA program is not inclusive for all

Editor’s Note: This is a guest commentary. The opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial board.

The Ithaca College Los Angeles program sounds like something out of a dream: live in Los Angeles for a semester and do an internship all while still taking classes to complete your degree. What could be better? 

I was recently accepted into the program for Fall 2023. I was beyond thrilled. This has been a goal of mine since sophomore year, I planned my semesters around going to LA and now I am finally going! 

Except my excitement was quickly met with confusion, frustration and disappointment. 

To go to LA you still need to be enrolled as a full-time student with a minimum of 12 credits. These credits include a six to eight credit internship and Media Industries, a onecredit course required for all ICLA attendees. 

That is nine credits at most. How do you fill the rest? You take classes that are specially offered to students in LA, plus you may take classes on the Ithaca College campus that are offered remotely or asynchronously. For Fall 2023, the special courses offered on the Los Angeles campus are Fiction Film Theory, Writing the Feature Film, Thesis Writing for Screen Media and Electronic Media Criticism. 

My major is in the Department of Strategic Communications. Looking at the Fall 2023 course offerings, there is nothing relevant for me. 

What perturbed me most of all is I was recommended by my adviser to wait and take Government and Media — a required complementary liberal arts course for my major — until I go to LA since it is usually offered remotely only for it to not be offered this fall. 

What salts the wound is how the resolution feels lose-lose: fill my time with classes for credits that will count for nothing toward my degree … or don’t take those classes and still get no credits toward my degree.

Furthermore, there has been discussion among students in the past about whether students are guaranteed internships while out in LA. We have been assured that everyone will have an internship and everyone will receive guidance on getting one upon request. Plus, a perk of ICLA is getting access to a database of companies seeking interns and contacts to reach out to. However, it is clear which types of internships the program is prioritizing.  

As of April 11, there are 113 internships in the database. Of these 113, 68 are tagged with “Production” as a department (which includes post-production) and 65 are tagged with “Film.” Only 37 contain “Marketing,” 37 contain “Social Media and 28 contain “Public Relations,” bearing in mind some of these postings have multiple departments. 

These complaints have not only led to immense frustration, but they have forced me to ask the question: Is the ICLA program really for all students in the Roy H. Park School of Communications? Or is it really for film and production-related students? 

I am not suggesting there is an issue with the ICLA program as a whole or suggesting there would be an issue if it was only for film students; this is a great opportunity to get on-set experience in the hub of the film industry. I am suggesting there is an issue with misleading advertising. 

ICLA cannot continue to promote itself as a program for all Park students if one group is prioritized over the rest, both in academic and internship offerings. Perhaps the solution is to offer more non-film-centered classes remotely on campus or integrate them into the specialized ICLA offerings. Perhaps the solution is to make the resource of the internship database more inclusive to industries that are relevant to non-film majors. 

So what could be better about ICLA? Make it actually inclusive to all Park majors. Or reframe the program as being for film and production majors. Either way, there must be a more honest representation of the program so students are no longer disappointed by a lack of options for them.


Keenan Griebel (she/her) is a junior Integrated Marketing Communications major. Contact her at kgriebel@ithaca.edu.