JUNE 17, 2022 — The University of Texas at San Antonio will offer a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies: Film and Media Studies beginning fall of 2022.
UTSA is adding this new program option at a time when both the television and film industry are poised to bounce back from the sluggish development and release cycles suffered during the pandemic. The program will prepare UTSA students for the careers taking shape in the contemporary film and media sectors, and also shine a light on San Antonio’s growing profile in this industry, according to Paul Ardoin, associate professor of humanities in the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts and director of the program.
“The film and media talent in San Antonio are both stunning and plentiful. The city and region offer endless great locations and enthusiastic community/government support for filmmaking. This is part of how San Antonio ended up on Moviemaker magazine’s recent lists of ‘Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker,’” Ardoin explained. “We would like to build on some of the great extant work at local high schools and community colleges and work to make San Antonio also one of the best places to train as a maker, critic, or scholar of film and other media.”
Film and Media Studies is one of four new options within the B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies that are being introduced through University College this fall. Also being added are options for Applied Data Science, Strategic Leadership and Defense, and Hospitality and Events Management.
“By utilizing the customizable structure of the Multidisciplinary Studies curriculum as an incubator, the university is able to offer niche programs in response to workforce demands in advance of offering full degree programs,” said University College Dean Heather Shipley. “One such example is UTSA new bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, which began as an offering within Multidisciplinary Studies and is successfully transitioning to the College of Sciences this fall.”
While the Film and Media Studies degree plan will be launched under the Multidisciplinary Studies umbrella, the university anticipates offering it as a dedicated degree program within COLFA within a couple years, Ardoin said. At that point, students will have the opportunity to select specific areas of focus for their film studies, such as screenwriting or directing, depending on their interest.
“This multidisciplinary program will see students learn from a number of different departments such as communication, music, anthropology, political science, art and more,” he said. “When brought together, these seemingly disparate fields offer a film studies student a comprehensive education effective for the contemporary film industry, as well as knowledge and skills that are immediately transferable to countless careers or further education.”
This cross-disciplinary approach means UTSA students will have the opportunity to learn from experts in a variety of fields, added Glenn Martinez, dean of COLFA.
“As part of the tactical visioning process underway at COLFA, we are examining the potential for students to learn a varied curriculum that may better prepare them for a job market today that seeks effective candidates with diverse experiences and skill sets,” he said. “COLFA has helped address this need through our variety of humanities programs, and we are proud to see this philosophy also present with the Film Studies program.”
To ensure students receive the highest quality classroom experience, COLFA is expanding the space and equipment that will be available to Film Studies students—including a new Film Production Hub currently under development at the McKinney Humanities building.
“COLFA is investing significant space and funding to making this new center for collaboration, writing, shooting, editing, community-building, and education,” Ardoin said. “When completed, there won’t be a comparably designed and equipped space in the region. Students will be able to take a film or other media project from conception to creation to exhibition—all in the same space.”
Students across the UTSA campus already engage in filmmaking as a hobby either independently or through student organizations such as Roadrunner Productions and as part of their curriculum through classes such as MES 3333: Digital Video Production and in MES 4333: Digital Practicum. It is Ardoin’s hope that the Film and Media Studies program illustrates to these students how their passion projects could blossom into a fully-fledged occupation.
“With signature academic programs in highly in-demand fields such as film production, COLFA is representative of UTSA’s commitment to serving as a prosperity engine for the region and as a driver of social mobility for its students. We are optimistic about a bright future for San Antonio’s film community and this degree plan could help jumpstart the careers of many future writers, directors, producers, and technical production staff who want to make their name in cinema.” Ardoin declared.
UTSA is a Tier One research university and a Hispanic Serving Institution specializing in cyber, health, fundamental futures, and social-economic transformation. UTSA aspires to become a model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence.
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