Mass Media Pervasive, Report States

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Courtesy of Joseph.Morris

The Digital Studies and New Media (DS & NM) report, which was released Wednesday, outlined Emory’s challenges and strengths within this topic and made 16 recommendations, including five specific hires that should be made.

But Committee Chair and Sociology Professor Tim Dowd made clear the recommendation was not to “just hire five people and watch the magic happen.”

Along with that recommendation, the committee suggested that majors of all types should emphasize DS & NM tools and new media literacy skills; the graduate program embrace digital tools and pedagogy with summer components and training sessions; the maintenance of support personal in these fields; an interdisciplinary committee overseeing each DS & NM search; and a semester of training for each new hire.

“Emory College could emphasize DS & NM in its curriculum because many, if not most, peer institutions are doing so,” the report said. “However, imitation for the sake of imitation is hardly a compelling reason for expanding the curriculum.”

The report appealed to the current curricular digital transformations as one reason for pushing DS & NM, as well as the need for students to apply literacy skills to the new media that shapes their lives.

“We cannot deny the pervasiveness of mass media … shaping the course of global history as well as the daily routines of individual lives,” the report stated. “Our students interact with these platforms multiple times a day … [T]hey have not been taught to think systematically about the workings and meanings of these systems and their manifold cultural impact across the globe.”

Many of the report’s recommendations were tangible proposals, including adding a new media literacy component into freshman seminars.

“Some of the recommendations could happen next year … I’m optimistic about it,” Dowd said, recognizing the progress that this College has made in this field.

Along with Dowd, the committee included Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Eugene Agichtein, Film and Media Studies Professor Matthew Bernstein, former Music Professor and Assistant Vice Provost of Academic Affairs Steve Everett, Religion Assistant Professor James Hoesterey, James M. Cox Jr. Journalism Professor and Journalism Program Director Hank Klibanoff, Faculty Services team member, Theater Professor and Director of the Center for Creativity and the Arts Leslie Taylor and History Professor and Co-Director of the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship Allen Tullos.

— By Karishma Mehrotra