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Department of Media Studies to join Curb College in October

Provost Thomas Burns announced Wednesday afternoon that the Department of Media Studies will be moved from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences into the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business starting Oct. 1.

New opportunities for department collaboration were one of the biggest perks of the change, Burns wrote in an email to students Wednesday afternoon.

The Media Studies department was originally placed in the College of Liberal Arts when journalism was mainly print media. As the times have changed for print journalism — the focus now more to TV and video media — with the move, the Media Studies department will be making a change as well, Burns said.

One of the big hopes, though, is that this switch will foster more opportunities for collaboration across departments and majors, namely in new interactions between faculty members, said Burns.

“Right now, the media studies faculty have their meetings for professional development with the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. If we move them into the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, now they’re having those meetings together. It also puts the chair of the media studies department into the chair meetings for the Curb College,” said Burns. “It increases the likelihood of these unplanned collisions, or shared ideas or happy coincidences.”

Burns isn’t the only member of Belmont staff feeling optimistic about the move.

“I think that there are very real co-curricular opportunities that being in the same college might allow for our students to be able to be exposed to. Likewise, the Curb College students being able to sample some of our offerings,” said Department of Media Studies Chair Thom Storey. “And there’s also the prospect of new programs — interdisciplinary programs — that could be very marketable.”

Dean of the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business Douglas Howard is excited for the new change as well.

“Change can be scary, change can be tough, but I think they’re viewing it as ‘we’re all under the same roof.’ We have so many tools,” Howard said. “There’s certain things that are very unique to journalism, but there’s so many things when you’re starting to talk around the edges of that and writing for entertainment and things like that.”

There’s still lots of discussion that needs to take place between the members of the media studies department and those of the Curb College, said Storey, but the media studies staff is very optimistic.

The first step in these meetings is a meeting Thursday between Storey and Howard, Howard said.

“We have the facility, we have the tools, we have the ability. It’s really a matter of direction,” Howard said. “I think our initial thing is to dream big. How do we want to collaborate, how do we want this to look? Because it is all Curb now.”

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Contributing reporting from Sara Scannell and Bronte Lebo. 

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