College launches the Media Sandbox

Posted on: September 19, 2011

Michigan State University has launched an integrated media arts program designed to fill the growing demand for graduates with creative and multimedia skills and experience.

The program is part of a new collaborative called the Media Sandbox in the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences. It includes an integrated media arts curriculum, visiting artists, special events, creative projects by faculty and students and more.

In today's digitally connected world, the need for creative solutions and well-designed multimedia is more important than ever - and more in demand than before, said Pamela Whitten, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.

"Today, we don't just read or watch media - we experience them," Whitten said. "Demand for well-educated media students who can create stories and experiences in an integrated and creative way is exploding, and MSU can fill that need."

The integrated media arts program includes a new hands-on curriculum that begins the moment students arrive at MSU as freshmen. The curriculum will be the foundation for students in advertising, journalism and media and information, said MSU faculty member Bob Albers, who is leading the program.

"This curriculum will provide students in their freshman year with a common base of understanding, technique and creative energy that will springboard them into specialized curriculum in their major," Albers said. "It also will encourage collaboration between these majors, which is important with media convergence today and for the exciting future of media - whatever shape that takes."

Most importantly, Albers said, students will have more opportunities to make job connections.

"These graduates will be the most employable new media artists, innovators and storytellers who will be well equipped to tackle the challenges of a continually evolving and unpredictable industry," he said.

The foundation of the new curriculum will be three courses: Creative Process, The Digital Image and Story, Sound and Motion. These courses will be available to incoming students majoring in advertising, journalism, and media and information. Students will then choose from a series of one-credit courses ranging from animation to web design.

Albers said the sandbox metaphor is a good one for this program: "A sandbox is a receptacle for holding lots of sand. This is one large enough for great ideas, amazing tools and creative play."

For more information about Media Sandbox, go online to

(NOTE: On Oct. 21, the public is invited to hear a Media Sandbox presentation by MSU distinguished alumni W. Clark Bunting and Craig Murray. Their talk, "Building a Better Sandbox: The Art of Story Telling in the 21st Century," will be from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Room 147 Communication Arts and Sciences Building. Bunting, president and general manager of the Discovery Channel, and Murray, CEO of mOcean, are both MSU Distinguished Alumni award winners and executives at top media and entertainment companies.)

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