Dear Alumni and Friends of MCMA:
I’m writing to introduce myself to you as the new interim dean of MCMA. Since Dafna Lemish resigned in the middle of fall semester, the university could not hold a long national search for a new permanent dean, so the Provost initiated an internal search for an interim dean. I began on Nov. 1 and will continue until a permanent dean is hired.
I came here in 2006 as chair of the Department of Cinema and Photography, and became associate dean in 2009. For the last three years, I have also taken on the job of director of graduate studies for the college. My doctoral degree is in cinema from Northwestern University, and I worked at DePaul University in Chicago prior to joining MCMA. In addition, I worked outside the academy before attending graduate school as a radio news reporter and as a producer of public service announcements and short documentaries for the Kentucky Department of Public Information.
Our new acting associate dean, Dr. Aaron Veenstra, joins the management council this year from the School of Journalism. His primary responsibility will be oversight of the MCMA Graduate Program. Dr. Veenstra said, “I'm looking forward to helping guide the college and particularly the grad programs, through a challenging period. I've worked with these students a lot as a professor and advisor, and I'm eager to make sure their talent and hard work is rewarded with our best possible program.”
He joins the rest of our team: Dr. Jyotsna Kapur, Chair of the Department of Cinema and Photography; Professor H.D. Motyl, Interim Chair of the Department of Radio, Television, and Digital Media; Dr. Kavita Karan, Interim Director of the School of Journalism, and Greg Petrowich, Executive Director of WSIU Broadcast Services.
Dr. John Hochheimer, who joined us in 2006 as chair of Radio, Television, and Digital Media, retired at the end of January. After Dr. Hochheimer returned to faculty in 2008, he taught in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. He also has a long-running popular jazz show on WSIU-FM, which he will continue. Please join us in sending John our best wishes for a happy and fulfilling retirement!
Our current initiatives focus on recruitment and curriculum revisions. We are working to become more interdisciplinary, with two goals: a curriculum that shares a number of common courses across departments, and a reduction of redundancy between department offerings. This may lead to some departmental reorganization, but those talks are in early stages. Our recruitment coordinator, Alicia Guebert, is spearheading an intensive series of high school and community college visits, and a revamping of our overall recruitment process and materials.
There is also movement toward collaboration occurring among our departments and several in the College of Liberal Arts, including Art & Design, Theater, and Communication Studies. Our undergraduate and graduate students often take courses in these departments, and their students enroll in our classes. A number of faculty envision a college that would join at least one or two of these departments to our own, creating a new college that would focus on media, communication, and the arts. For those of you who remember, this recalls the college configuration that predated the current MCMA college. We think such a collaborative college would be a centerpiece for the university, and provide a great marketing opportunity.
Our students and faculty have been very busy producing excellent research and creative work, and I hope you take some time to read about their accomplishments in this newsletter.
Best wishes for a wonderful 2017,