At its meeting on Wednesday, the Kansas Board of Regents approved the university’s request to create the new school, which will become the College of Fine Arts’ fourth school.
The school will encompass all concentrations of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (BBA) program in Media Arts, including animation, audio production, filmmaking, and game design. The BAA program, hosted at Shocker Studios at WSU South, was established in 2017.
Justin Rorabaugh, director of Shocker Studios, said the program has already exceeded five-year enrollment expectations over the past two years – with around 270 students.
With that growth in mind, Rorabaugh said the formation of the new school supports future growth and gives the media arts curriculum a more concrete place at the WSU.
“Formalization [of the School of Digital Arts] provides greater tenure for students, faculty and staff, as well as community partners, âsaid Rorabaugh. âHaving a formalized school structure also allows for easier alignment within the existing university system. “
The identity of the students was also a determining factor in the movement, he said.
âStudents benefit from a stronger sense of belonging. Many voted for their enthusiasm and pride in being a part of the School of Digital Arts, âsaid Rorabaugh.
Prior to the school’s formation, Rorabaugh said he and staff had already explored new media arts degree options. But the new school should help ease that process, he said.
The new School of Digital Arts won’t be officially designated until the next fiscal year, but university officials are working to release the course catalog as soon as possible. WSU also wants to market the program to new students who may enroll in fall 2020.
The dean of the College of Fine Arts, Rodney Miller, said the new school is a step towards supporting the media arts industry in the city and state.
âWhat we are doing at Shocker Studios is nothing less than laying the groundwork for building a media technology industry in Wichita and greater Kansas,â he said. âIt will diversify and improve both the Wichita economy and the workforce we attract to this great metropolitan area. “
The university says media arts students have had the opportunity to work on projects for real-world clients before, including Spirit AeroSystems, the Wichita Police Department, and Snoop Dogg.