Chair: Associate Professor Jerald Swope
Associate Professors: Jon Hyde, Kimberly Sultze, Traci Griffith
Instructor: Allison Cleary
The Department of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts was established in 1974 through grants from the Frank E. Gannett Foundation and other sources, the proceeds of which continue to support the program.
The Department of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts at Saint Michael’s College prepares students to be media professionals and communication consumers in an increasingly technological age. The new media revolutions of 1990s and 2000s have fundamentally changed the way we think about concepts like community, interpersonal relationships, and democracy. At Saint Michael’s, students integrate theoretical knowledge in media studies with practical abilities to gather, evaluate and communicate information using state-of-the-art technologies. There are two versions of the Media Studies & Digital Arts major: one with a Journalism concentration, and one without. Both versions combine the arts and sciences with hands-on communication skills, critical to our students as they learn to become effective communicators in our Information Age.
Some of our graduates are employed in newsrooms all over New England and beyond. Many other graduates are working in web design, film production, photojournalism, advertising, public relations, marketing, and politics (one of our graduates is the press secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee). Some are doing jobs that weren’t even invented a decade ago, like Director of Social Media. Others have gone on to a range of graduate programs: law school, media studies, American studies, and other fields.
As a media studies student, you will learn to write quickly, accurately, and under deadline pressure. You will learn to conduct research using traditional and electronic sources. You will acquire a deep understanding of the ethical and legal responsibilities associated with being a mass communicator—whether in the newsroom or the marketplace. And you will develop a mastery of current technologies, including multimedia, desktop publishing, the internet and the World Wide Web, digital photography, digital video and digital audio.
All students at the college are required to earn a 2.0 GPA overall and in their major. Media Studies & Digital Arts is a challenging major and we strongly urge students who drop below either of these numbers to select a different major.
The media studies curriculum at Saint Michael’s is designed to ensure that students acquire a specific set of essential skills and understandings. They include:
- A firm grounding in the liberal arts. A professional communicator must be a generalist’s generalist, a Renaissance person in an age of specialization. Courses in philosophy, theology, English, humanities and the sciences are necessary preparation for a career dedicated to the communication of information and ideas.
- Verbal and computer literacy. Each of our students takes two semesters of writing, as well as a series of courses designed to instill the creative problem solving and intellectual flexibility they will need in a rapidly changing technological environment.
- Fundamental skills essential to their chosen field. Our curriculum retains a focus on basic journalistic skills, including newswriting, editing, and information gathering.
- A grounding in the ethical responsibilities of a professional communicator. Students preparing for a career in media must understand the roles, freedoms and responsibilities of the media in contemporary society. Our curriculum incorporates theoretical and philosophical concepts related to the media’s role in society, with a strong emphasis on ethical considerations and issues.
- Connectedness. The course sequence is designed to allow students to draw connections between and among the various technologies and to develop understandings of the ways in which the delivery system impacts the message. This approach encourages students to think critically about which delivery system is appropriate to the message, to the context in which it is being communicated, and to the audience to which it is being delivered - in short, students will become familiar with the different ways of knowing and understanding mediated information.
- International understanding. Marshall McLuhan long ago characterized the mediated world as a global village, and there is no question that he was correct. Saint Michael’s requires all of its undergraduates to acquire experience in a foreign language. In addition, the department requires that all of our majors study abroad at some point during their college careers.