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EMDA majors (B.A. & B.S.) proposal submitted to Associate Dean Karen Stone, 24 September 2012
Early 2000s: The EMDA idea was built on projects like the Applied Multimedia Unit (AMU) and Digital Media Foundations (DMF) courses over a decade of innovation, curriculum development, and a vision for interdisciplinary design at SOU.
2010 – 2011: The Center for Emerging Media & Digital Arts (EMDA) opens its doors at Southern Oregon University with about 200 square feet of space in Computing Services – East* with Robert Arellano as its founding Director. Miles Inada, Warren Hedges, Howard Schreiber, Pete Nordquist, Dennis Dunleavey, and the late, great Don Kay teach the digital-media foundations (DMF) courses that would become the basis for EMDA. Other VIPs our first year are Alissa Arp, Dean; Jim Klein, Provost, and perhaps most of all EMDA’s first student-employee, Austin Gurwell. Even with SOU’s President, Provost, and Dean all on our side, it is this undergraduate student whose hard work is perhaps most integral to our success in launching EMDA. (This teaches us all a lesson that became the slogan of the first Emerging Media Convention, and which still resonates today: By students, for students, welcoming all. Thank you, Austin!
*click the button below to view the layout of the original EMDA Department office from 2010.
2011 – 2012: David Bithell joins the full-time faculty, and Randolph Jones brings awesome new courses into the mix as a part-time instructor. Our EMDA Artist/Scholar Residencies allow a half-dozen faculty across other departments to contribute to the synergy, and from the very beginning they are paired in interdisciplinary teams: collaboration is key!
2012 – 2013: Erik Palmer joins EMDA’s affiliated faculty in Communications, and he has remained a great developer and advocate of visionary new curricula like Social Media & Public Engagement and Digital Cinema. Vicki Purslow and Karen Stone, who served as Alissa Arp’s associate deans during EMDA’s early years, are tireless supporters of our new-program developments, and EMDA builds collaborative ties across departments like Business, Communications, and Computer Science. We award students who complete 16 core credits and 8 elective credits the first EDMA-minor degrees in June. Meanwhile, Provost Susan Walsh stewards the development of EMDA’s new-major proposal throughout the entire process of conception, creation, revision, and ratification by Oregon’s state higher education system. At the time Associate Provost, she generously mentors the faculty in creating the minor and major programs (both B.A. and B.S.) in EMDA. Thank you, Sue!
2013 – 2014: With the EMDA majors approved and included in the new university catalog, thirteen SOU students who are already pursuing other degrees declare EMDA as a second major, and by June all of them have succeeded in completing the required coursework: the first EMDA graduating class of 2014, our lucky 13! This year we also launch an articulation agreement with Rogue Community College, and to this day students may earn a two-year A.A. in EMDA at RCC and continue straight into their bachelor’s degree with third-year standing at SOU. EMDA students Amanda Denbeck and Chazline Lovely organize a major digital-media convention: EMCon. EMC^1, in partnership with the Ashland Chamber’s annual Technology Summit, features panels, a tradeshow-style “Artists’ Alley” display of creative innovation, and internationally renowned designer Jelly Helm (who doesn’t know it yet, but in 2020 will become the parent of an SOU student and EMDA major) as keynote speaker. Robert Casserly takes the role of EMDA’s office administrator for part of this year, providing a much-needed rescue by streamlining efficiency and communications with systems that are still in place today. Rob: you soothed our minor growing pains and made an essential contribution to our continued success!
2014 – 2015: EMDA relocates from CS-East to the Art Building and finds a home in the new combination of programs and departments we still call the Oregon Center for the Arts. With our creative and always-industrious Division Director David Humphrey at the helm, EMDA manages to continue developing its innovative, interdisciplinary connections with Business, Comm, and C.S. while fostering new opportunities for collaboration with Theater, Music, Creative Writing, and Art. EMC^2 is a great success, with Amanda Denbeck assuring that EMCon will be a highlight of EMDA students’ Capstone experience for years to come.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the 10th Anniversary Blog
If you are an EMDA alum who would like to share a few words (and even some art) in celebration of our 10th anniversary, contact Robert Arellano through the EMDA alumni LinkedIn group.