Officials discuss merger of Media, Cinema Studies

By Amanda Liberatore

If all goes well, the Department of Media and the Unit of Cinema Studies will be one by next year.

On Wednesday, officials from the College of Media and Cinema Studies in the College of LAS held a public hearing to discuss the future merger of the two departments. The date of the proposed merger is not officially set, but if it happens, the two will be the Department of Media and Cinema Studies in the College of Media.

“Media Studies needs to be organized into a department so that it can act parallel in the College of Media to Advertising and Journalism,” said Clifford Christians of the Institute of Communications Research. “It is the appropriate time to merge Cinema Studies into Media Studies, and the idea has been approved unanimously at every level from both faculties.”

Abbas Aminmansour, chair of the Senate Educational Policy Committee, said the merger will most likely not go into effect until fall 2009.

The convenience of the two programs merging would greatly benefit Media students because many of them minor in Cinema Studies.

However, many officials expressed concern over what would happen to the students currently minoring in Cinema Studies. In Media, there is a requirement of 80 hours of credit courses outside the college.

Since Cinema Studies has been a part of the College of LAS, it is uncertain what will happen to the credits students have earned in the current college.

Ashlea Thomsen, freshman in Media, expressed these concerns.

“I definitely have some reservations about the merger,” Thomsen said. “I’m afraid that if Cinema Studies combines with Media, I will lose all of the credits that I earned when Cinemas Studies was still a part of LAS. I’m worried that I’ll have to start all over again next fall.”

Nevertheless, Thomsen’s worries were addressed.

“After Cinema Studies and Media Studies have merged into the College of Media, all courses taken in cinema when it was a part of LAS will be counted towards a student’s minor,” Christians said.

Additional concerns were expressed by Ramona Curry, an English professor and affiliate with Cinema Studies.

“A concern that I possess with this merger is maintaining affiliation with cross-college relations,” Curry said. “Also, what will happen with the cross-listed courses in LAS?”

Christians quickly cleared up any misconceptions.

The officials said that all of the cross-college affiliations, cross-listed courses, curriculum and faculty are expected to stay the same.

The proposal will be discussed at the Oct. 13 meeting of the Senate Educational Policy Committee. From there, the senate will discuss it at its next meeting, Nov. 3. If approved, the Board of Trustees will vote on the proposal, and it will be moved on to the Illinois Board of Higher Education.