By Erin Roberts
A tradition of excellence at Ohio University has a new name. The Scripps College of Communication's School of Telecommunications now is the School of Media Arts and Studies, a name approved by the Ohio University Board of Trustees on Feb. 9.
"This was a very important change for the school because the term telecommunications had become somewhat confusing within the industry," said Roger Cooper, director of the school. "The definition of telecommunications has changed in the past 10 to 12 years, and certainly since we became the School of Telecommunications in the early '80s."
The School of Media Arts and Studies serves approximately 625 undergraduate and 50 graduate students. Degrees awarded include a doctorate in mass communication, a master of arts in media arts and studies, a master of arts in communication and development studies and a bachelor of science in communication. The school's undergraduate sequences include video production, audio production, media management, media studies and digital media: special effects and games animation.
Cooper reports the school name had started to become a problem for students and graduates because it led many employers to think of information technology rather than the creative industry.
"Many employers thought our students had skills in areas like voice, data and network security," he said. "Our undergraduate program focuses primarily on the collaborative, creative industries. We needed a name that encompasses the depth and breadth of our programs, which include the recording, television, games and animation industry, plus the social, cultural implications of media."
Dean Gregory Shepherd said the name also speaks to the college's willingness to keep abreast of current trends in media.
"The Scripps College takes great pride in our successful efforts to continually adapt our programs to ensure that we lead the way in communication education," he said. "Changing the name of the School of Telecommunications to the School of Media Arts and Studies is really a reflection of that commitment to adaptation and leadership. The new name both better reflects the school's current areas of focus and suggests where the school will most likely be moving and leading in the future."
Cooper said the fact that applications for enrollment are on the rise speaks to the school's appeal to prospective students.
"Applications are up significantly, particularly in the digital media sequence, which was established in 2006," he said.
Cooper said more than two years of discussions and planning resulted in the name change. While he's pleased with the new name, he wants alumni of the program to know that the school's offerings and legacy remain the same.
"TCOM will remain an important part of our legacy," Cooper said. "Our connection to our students and alumni is as strong as ever. The school's new name will help to better align the school and its graduates within today's media industry."
A new Web site is in the works and will be located at www.mediaschool.ohio.edu. Until then, information on the school can be found at www.tcomschool.ohio.edu.
To speak with a media consultant about this story, contact Scripps College External Relations Coordinator Erin Roberts at 740-593-0030 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jennifer Krisch, university media specialist, at 740-597-1939 or email@example.com.