March 23-24, 2000
ITEM 106-2007-R0300 Authorization to Offer a Master of Fine Arts in Science and Natural History Filmmaking; Montana State University-Bozeman
THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Bozeman to offer a Master of Fine Arts in Science and Natural History Filmmaking.
EXPLANATION: Montana State University-Bozeman proposes a unique, inter-disciplinary Master of Fine Arts degree in Science and Natural History Filmmaking in response to the need to bridge the gap between science, scientists and the public. This sixty (60) credit program will be the first program of its type in the United States and, to our knowledge, the world. The primary thrust of the program is to train new generations of film makers who are proficient not only in the film making arts, but also in the subject matter about which the film makers present: namely, science and natural history. The public understanding of science has been identified as a top priority by the Committee on Science in its commissioned report to the United States House of Representatives, "Unlocking Our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy Study," 1998, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman. The gap between science and the public continues to grow as people understand less and less about what scientists do. This proposed program undertakes the task of educating film makers who are going to be making documentaries in the sciences and natural history. There is overwhelming support for such a program from principals at the National Academy of Sciences, and by managing directors at The Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, NOVA (PBS), and National Geographic Television.
The Bozeman campus of Montana State University (MSU) has an unusually high potential to design and offer a program of this nature because of the unique convergence of a top-ranked film school that has several faculty who are internationally recognized natural history filmmakers, exceptionally strong science programs (biology, ecology, chemistry, physics and environmental studies), and because of its location in theNorthern Rockies, close to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. In addition, MSU has a nationally recognized engineering college where both students and faculty are engaged in cutting edge research in both science and engineering.
Proposed Starting Date: Summer 2001