September 23-24, 1999

ITEM 104-1003-R0999 Approval of Proposal to Add an Undergraduate Minor in Media Arts to the Program in Fine Arts; The University of Montana-Missoula

THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes The University of Montana-Missoula to add an undergraduate Minor in Media Arts to the program in Fine Arts.

EXPLANATION: Students from across campus have been expressing the desire for courses dealing with digital technologies for a number of years, and departments from across campus have offered application courses that have generated interest in a more integrated conceptual use of the technologies involved. This led to the development of the graduate level Media Arts emphasis within the School of Fine Arts. Since the approval of that program, two undergraduate general education courses have been added by Media Arts. Advanced level undergraduates have also participated in existent graduate level courses in media production and theory. These experiences have generated numerous inquiries from students as to what will be offered in the future to help them continue their growth and training in these areas. This has confirmed our belief in the value of the principles being taught and has led to this proposal.

The University of Montana-Missoula has, since its inception, developed strong and successful fine arts programs. Presently, The University of Montana-Missoula continues to have the leading fine arts program in the Montana University System, offering an extensive undergraduate and graduate curriculum in the visual arts, music, and theater, plus undergraduate work in dance. With the addition of the Master of Arts Degree in Media Arts last spring, the University has affirmed its commitment to working in the areas of narrative and integrated media. The addition of this unique Media Arts Minor will continue the tradition of innovation in the arts and arts' teaching that is at the heart of The University of Montana-Missoula.

The proposed Minor in Media Arts is intended to be a campus-wide, service-oriented minor. Students from throughout the campus and varied disciplines are discovering a need, not only for basic computer literacy, but also for additional knowledge and skills in the application of new technologies available in computing. They wish to effectively integrate and utilize these new tools as a means of communication and expression of their ideas, concepts, and stories in their own areas of interest or study. The new technologies integrate "word" (written or spoken), "picture" (video, photography, animation), and "sound" (audio, music) as a means of expression. These technologies include: digital video and audio, photo manipulation, multimedia, and web page tools, as well as 2-D and 3-D animation and MIDI/music technology.

The Media Arts Minor is meant to supplement the work of those undergraduate students whose major area of study can be enhanced through the application of Media Arts principles and technologies. Whether through the creation of better business presentations, the accurate display of scientific information required for making critical decisions, the development of interactive educational programs, or the artistic expression of personal story--more and more students, campus-wide, need the expertise this minor will provide.

The minor consists of five core classes: two in the application of technology, two in writing for media and basic story theory, and a final project that integrates in a longer format the principles and technologies studied in the program. Supplementing this 15-credit core, the student takes six credits divided among arts theory and criticism classes already existing in the School of Fine Arts.