The School of Communication and Multimedia Studies
With an internationally known and award-winning faculty, the School provides innovative and dynamic opportunities for study for those interested in a wide array of human communicative activities, ranging from face-to-face human interactions to mediated communication to computer animation.
As one of Florida Atlantic University's largest and most dynamic program areas, The School of Communication and Multimedia Studies (SCMS) offers two distinct, yet aligned, baccalaureate degree programs with over 1,200 majors, a Masters of Arts in Communication Studies, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Media, Technology, and Entertainment.
The B.A. in Communication Studies (approximately 700 majors) is a problem-focused program that emphasizes contemporary cultural concerns while situating these within the broader historical context of communication and cultural theory. The purpose of the degree is to provide students with the awareness, knowledge, motivation and skills to develop communication strategies to address the problems of a global society, and the emphasis is on all forms of civic engagement. Rhetoric and intercultural communications are also emphasized.
The B.A. in Multimedia Studies: Film, Video and New Media concentration (approx. 300 majors) is a comprehensive curriculum including courses in film and television studies, video production, computer animation and new media. Courses analyze the power and responsibility of American and international film and video and new technologies from formal, historical, economic, and ideological perspectives. Courses consider both mainstream and alternative media and include industrial and artistic approaches, linking production techniques and aesthetics to industry, history and politics.
The B.A. in Multimedia Journalism concentration (approx. 300 majors) prepares students to work in the new media convergence environment. Students are expected to develop strong basic writing and analytical skills, become adept at writing and producing for multiple media platforms simultaneously, exhibiting the versatility necessary to succeed in a quickly evolving and growing media market, as well as to fully exercise the civic responsibilities of journalists for the lively functioning of democratic institutions.
The Master of Arts in Communication Studies program is designed to help students navigate as well as understand the rapidly changing communication landscape. The program trains students to conduct original research that both promotes new knowledge in the field of communication and inspires new career trajectories in academia, the media industries, the public sector, and non-governmental organizations. Critical study of political communication, persuasion, rhetoric, gender and the media, digital media, radical film, social media, documentary, political economy of the media, as well as interpersonal and intercultural communication represent some of the primary areas of study for our school’s faculty and graduate students. The program has approximately 30 active students and is supported by 12 Graduate Teaching Assistant positions.
The Master of Fine Arts in Media, Technology, and Entertainment (MTEn) program, located principally on our Davie campus, combines film, video, interactive media and computer animation faculty with computer science and engineering faculty with the aim of fostering innovative approaches to digital entertainment that stretch creative and scientific boundaries. Students are challenged to think in artistic, scientific and industrial terms about: 1) innovative forms of digital media practice within film and video production, video gaming, web-based interactive media and mobile media; 2) new pipeline models for media production, such as 3D processing for film and game development and physics-based medical and scientific visualization; 3) practical applications, such as interface design, hardware and software, enhanced content delivery and ubiquitous computing. The program has approximately 12 active students and is supported by 6 Graduate Teaching Assistant Positions.
In addition to their coursework, students in SCMS are involved with many aspects of co-curricular life at FAU. From public debates and Speakers' Corner events, to participation in events promoting understanding, tolerance, and civility in public discourse, to film festivals and exhibitions, to student clubs such as the Film Club and Zeta Iota (the FAU chapter of the national communication honorary society Lambda Pi Eta), to digital media initiatives such as Wavelengths and South Florida Journal, to cooperation in student run media such as The University Press, OWL Radio, or OWL TV, SCMS students have myriad opportunities to apply skills learned in the classroom to their engagement in campus and community life.
The School of Communication and Multimedia Studies includes 30 full-time faculty (including 20 tenure-line and 10 instructor-line faculty), two emeritus faculty, approximately 15 part-time or adjunct faculty. SCMS has full-time and part time staff supporting the program on both the Boca Raton and Davie campuses.
SCMS faculty are active in initiatives in the College, University and in engagement efforts with the community. Several of our faculty serve as associates for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, on the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights university-level initiative, and on the Executive Committee of the University Leadership Minor. Our faculty members also volunteer as advisors for various student clubs (e.g. Owl Film Club, Japanese Animation Media Society, Lambda Pi Eta), and three of our journalism faculty members fulfill the important function of advising for FAU’s Student Media (especially The University Press and Owl TV). In addition, several faculty members play active roles in faculty governance, with roles that include chair of the College faculty assembly, elected Senators in Faculty Senate, and chairs or members of many key committees in the College and University (e.g, College P&T Committee; College Graduate Programs Committee).
The School’s faculty is also active in professional service to our discipline. Our faculty serve as committee members and officers in major professional associations including the National Communication Association and Southern States Communication Association. Currently, one of our instructors is the president of the Florida Communication Association, one of our professors is president of Romanian Studies of America, and one of our professors is Immediate Past President of the Kenneth Burke Society. Our faculty members are also journal editors (Journal of Literacy and Technology) and manuscript reviewers and/or editorial board members for the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Philosophy and Rhetoric, the Western Journal of Communication, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Jumpcut, the Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, Argumentation & Advocacy, The Journal of Argumentation in Context, Oxford University Press, and Routledge, among others. Our faculty members also serve as manuscript reviewers for academic conferences, including The National Communication Association, the Southern States Communication Association, the European Conference on Argumentation, and the Kenneth Burke Society. One of our Professors is co-director of the Biennial Wake Forest Argumentation Conference (including the “Venice Conference” versions), a long-standing international conference on argumentation. SCMS also hosts the International Center for the Advancement of Political Communication and Argumentation, a small research consortium.
Because our academic programs in the School emphasize engaged citizenship, many of our faculty are active in civic engagement initiatives. Our School, through the Multimedia Journalism program, manages and hosts Wavelengths (FAU’s internet radio) as well as South Florida Journal, a radio program which examines local government, education, human services, the environment, and the arts. Faculty in the Multimedia Journalism program also play leadership roles in FAU’s annual Constitution Day celebrations and the Robert J. Bailyn Symposium on the First Amendment. Faculty in Film, Video, and New Media developed FAU Faculty Chat, which offers post-screening discussions to area patrons of the Living Room Theatre (housed in the Culture & Society Building on the FAU campus). Faculty also routinely host various film series and lectures (for example, the recent Latin American Film and Documentary symposium). Video production faculty are active in ACM SIGGRAPH, an organization which hosts speaking events and digital video screenings.
For over a decade, the School has hosted an annual series of six student cross-examination policy debates on campus which are open to the public. Similarly, annual student led civic engagement events in Democracy Plaza are hosted each year by the School (some examples include navigating difficult conversations, workshops on strategies for social activism, teach-in on the Occupy Wall Street movement, and political engagement and voter registration). Communication Studies faculty also direct individual and small group service learning projects with their students (examples include volunteering for Helping Hands [an organization offering meals and shelter to the homeless], recreational therapy programs for nursing home residents, supply drives for animal shelters, and college preparedness programs for at-risk high school students). Finally, several faculty members are active in a variety of community organizations, boards, and councils. They serve as guest speakers, members, and officers (e.g. Palm Beach County Scholastic Achievement Foundation, Coalition for Black Student Achievement, Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee). Many of the SCMS faculty are also active in the United Faculty of Florida, including the current UFF President, Secretary, and Recruiting Office as well as the previous Chief Bargainer for the Union.
Presence and Partnerships
SCMS has a substantial and impactful presence on both the Boca Raton and Davie campuses as well as in the vibrant, diverse and technologically-driven South Florida region. SCMS enjoys a unique cooperative, public-private alliance with The Living Room Theaters, a four-theater complex located with the School in FAU's Culture and Society Building. Commercials theaters by night, the Living Room Theaters serve as important teaching spaces during the day for our film classes. We also have joint partnerships with the main library (where we recently launched a post-production editing lab) and with Student Media for a video production cost center that will be available to both internal and external partners. We eagerly seek additional partnership opportunities with other entities in and outside the university.
For more on the School, its degree programs and faculty visit http://www.fau.edu/artsandletters/scms/