1. Where did the inspiration for the program come from?
Years ago it became clear to us that New York City is not simply a place where many opportunities exist for Communication students, but that the entire city generates an atmosphere conducive to creativity, higher learning, and expanded cultural experience.
The actual genesis of the idea, however, was two-fold.
The first major impetus came from Baylor Film and Digital Media students. We've spent countless hours talking to creative, intelligent, well-trained students about their plans after graduation, and those conversations often left them a little disillusioned: they felt like they were "all dressed up with nowhere to go"; few professional contacts, no strong place to start professionally. The prospects of entering a career in media, with a deflated technology sector, were rather depressing. As a department, we'd worked very, very hard to establish a vibrant internship program, and professor Brian Elliott had worked wonders in that area, but the practical difficulties remained. Students wanted to intern with major companies and make the sorts of contacts that would lead to other contacts. In short, they wanted to be in the heart of the media world without sacrificing a semester or two of school to travel to New York or LA.
The second impetus emerged from our desire to thread more philosophical and theological ideas throughout our curriculum. We wanted to provide a more solid foundation for students to think critically about culture, the moving image, and the influence the two have on each other. We had a growing sense that a wider and more immersive experience of culture would be very helpful for a fuller understanding of these concepts and their practical application. After talking with Prof. Elliott and Dr. Korpi, Dr. Kickasola expressed his willingness to think about New York as a good option, as the city itself is a media and business hub, extremely diverse, culturally dense, and practically well-suited for an initial effort.† The program that emerged was a promising synthesis of our goals for the students, and their own practical needs as beginning professionals.
We hope our students will become more enriched, well-rounded, thoughtful, and experienced scholars through this experience, not simply better-connected professionals.
2. How do you see this program as moving Baylor toward the 2012 vision?
The 2012 vision looks to propel Baylor into the top 50 universities in the country. Everyone realizes that one of the greatest difficulties in achieving that goal is that another university must yield its spot. One can build a great university anywhere, but gaining the notoriety necessary to usurp a top-50 position requires a terrific amount of ingenuity. We believe this program provides Baylor with a reach of influence and a national visibility that far exceeds what it had before. Faculty peers, teaching in places like Harvard, MIT, and Columbia, have praised the vision of the program. One scholar, one of the world's foremost film historians, wondered why his institution, Notre Dame, hadn't developed a similar program itself (and asked us to keep him apprised of our success).
Top-50 schools trade on their name: students get great jobs because they are associated with an esteemed school. Building Baylor's recognition level nationally requires our students be exhibiting their strengths to nationally-influential people, both in the professional and academic worlds. New York is a great place to do that, and our efforts here will heighten our name-recognition dramatically.
Other top-50 schools, like MIT, have programs that endeavor to integrate the practical workplace experience with the critical, intellectual strengths of the classroom. So, in some ways, this program is built on the "emulation" model, but with one key difference: we consider worldview to be important.
A major component of Baylor's mission is the integration of faith and learning. We sincerely hope that, through this experience, students see this phrase expand and deepen on a personal level. Through cultural experience, challenging curricula, open discussion, and community living, "faith and learning" will reach its proper end: the "integration of faith and life." We believe, after all the issues are on the table and the students have intensely examined the culture themselves, the continuing relevance and power of the Christian faith will be clear to them.
3. What about majors other than Telecommunication and Communication Studies participating?
Anyone involved in communication (including Telecomm. majors) will find it incredibly valuable. The nature of communication studies is such that it tends to be pan-disciplinary, because communication is key in every field. Likewise, every Baylor student, regardless of major, would benefit immensely from the study of communication and contemporary culture. We are working on ways to open up the application process to virtually every student in the university.
4. May I repeat the program?
Possibly. If slots are available after the initial deadline for the next semester, you may be considered for those slots. You will be chosen only if you are in good standing with the program (disciplinary, academic, etc.), AND if you are wishing to return in an opposite season from your original semester in New York (e.g. Ė Fall students may return for a spring semster, but not another fall semester).
5. Can I take an internship or independent study outside of FDM or CSS?
Possibly, but the sponsoring department (e.g. Journalism) must issue a permit to take the course with the corresponding BCNY numbers, such that BCNY receives the tuition dollars from the course. This is critical for the financial health of the program, and most Baylor academic departments have agreed to this arrangement, as it benefits their students. Contact Dr. Kickasola with any questions and he will attempt to help you with this.
6. Describe a typical week.
In many respects, the schedule is like that of a person with a part-time job, with classes and rich cultural events thrown in. In this light, it might be easier to describe a typical week... Most days students will go to work: they will report to their internship. Their time served there each day depends on the job, but most students will work about 4-6 hrs. per day. Classes are planned around the students' internship schedules, which will likely mean that some evenings will be filled with class time. On the weekends, and sometimes during the week, trips to museums and cultural events will take place, in support of the ideas discussed in class that week.
About every two or three weeks individual meetings with students and Dr. Kickasola will take place, to discuss internships, independent studies, and anything else the students wish to discuss. About once a month group activities will be scheduled to reinforce the community we are building with each other.
As for the rest of the time, the student is required to organize his/her time in productive manner. There's lots of studying to be done, and the nearby New York public library offers valuable resources and quiet places. Students will each be assigned housekeeping responsibilities for the maintenance of the living spaces, and they will also need to organize the chores that make their life function: laundry, making meals, shopping, etc.
This week is a typical week (see graphic next page), however, if special opportunities arise (i.e., special guest speakers or events) we will re-arrange the schedule for that week. The classes are fixed times. The internship times (in gray) are typical, but may be adjusted or shuffled based on your own particular internship. You should not schedule internship hours for Saturdays, because we will meet on several Saturdays for field trips (but not all Saturdays).
|Sunday||Sundays are free for worship and rest, except in very unusual circumstances.||†||Most evenings are free, with the exception of class nights (Tue. and Wed.)|
|Itís a good idea to keep the afternoon before class free, if you can arrange it with your internship.||Class|
|Wednesday||Itís a good idea to keep one weekday free to rest, do homework, and get your weekly chores done (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.). This could be any day of the work week, but days when you have class arenít a bad idea.||†||Class|
|Saturday||Some Saturdays we will take field trips in the morning.||Usually the field trips extend into the afternoon.||†|