This past Wednesday, Emory College released the last of five strategic reports which discussed plans for establishing new initiatives announced in tandem with the September 2012 department changes. These “new directions” included focuses on Digital Studies and New Media, China Studies and Neuroscience.
The most recent report on Digital Studies and New Media discussed Emory’s Journalism program, which will close at the end of this semester due to the September 2012 department changes. The report suggests that the College retain many of its journalism courses given their emphasis on new media. The report mentioned discussions about incorporating such courses into the Film and Media Studies department.
Unfortunately, because this report was released four months past the expected deadline, it was not published in time to provide “timely advice” to College Dean Robin Forman, as the report itself mentions. Consequently, the decisions about journalism courses for next year have been “random” and “disconnected,” eliminating many of the courses that the committee recommended to keep. The report states the committee chair met with Forman last summer to inform him of the recommendations that the report would make.
We at the Wheel understand the necessity of a long-term focus for the University; it is important that Emory plans initiatives that will take decades to implement in order to create thoughtful and eminent academics. However, as students that are often only at the University for four years, we will be unable to experience the full impact of initiatives like Digital Studies or China Studies. Instead, we feel acutely the dearth of the departments and programs that will be officially ending this semester, which include the Journalism program and the Visual Arts department.
We believe that the presence of the Journalism program that will remain after this semester is insufficient for a well-rounded new media or digital studies education. Additionally, while we appreciate the continued presence and emphasis of visual arts on campus with the new Integrated Visual Arts Co-Major announced by Emory’s Center for Creativity and Arts (CCA), this presence is a shadow of what the Visual Arts department offered. We do not believe that the reinstitution of these programs is feasible, but we hope that the University will infuse the remains of these disciplines with more strength and power.
We regret the lost vigor of these disciplines that we will feel during the remainder of our time at Emory, but we have hope that the University will develop the new initiatives to serve its community in the years to come.
The above staff editorial represents the majority opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.