School of Cinematic Arts Introduces New Minor


The School of Cinematic Arts will offer a new minor in media and social change starting in the fall of 2015.

The minor will teach students how to make impactful media by studying the professional practices of creating, analyzing and distributing media centered around social change.

Some of the courses offered in the minor include documentary production, writing and social change, nonfiction film and television and gender, sexuality and media.

Michael Taylor, executive director of the Media Institute for Social Change, said that the program’s courses will prepare students to create social change in their fields.

“It’s really to provide an opportunity for students who are interested in media content creation and research to take classes in a focused curriculum on various aspects of media for change,” Taylor said. “Students will gain insight into the professional practices of creating media content and analyzing existing content and learning how they can influence the future by integrating social issues into the work they are doing in related fields.”

Taylor created the minor after students came to him and asked how they could include issues of social change in their fields. Taylor said students wanted to use the social change skills to strengthen their work.

“What became clear to me was that so many students, not just in the School of Cinematic Arts, but from all over the university were starting to realize that media is the language of the 21st century,” Taylor said. “They can better do what they do by learning to speak that language and they can better do what they do in terms of spreading the messages that they want to spread- — having to do with various social issues — by working across disciplines with people from all over campus, and that’s what this minor is really intending to provide for students.”

According to Taylor, the minor strives to bring students from different majors together.

“It’s a pretty broad curriculum that’s really meant to appeal to people across various disciples, because what we are thinking is that by bringing people together from different schools [and] from different programs all around this subject of media and social change, it will enrich everyone’s point of view and everyone will be contributing a slightly different point of view,” Taylor said.

Students will benefit from working with other students with different majors, Taylor said.

“By working across disciplines and learning something about business, something about journalism, something about filmmaking, something about documentary filmmaking, fictional filmmaking, [and] by bringing public policy and sociology and education all together, I think it makes everyone stronger and enriches what everyone does in whatever career path they eventually take.”

Currently, there is a minor in photography and social change offered through Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and a nonprofit social innovation program in the Price School of Public Policy. Both programs are similar to media and social change in that they inspire social change and innovation.