Beloit unveiled a new media studies major this spring after the program was in the planning stages for several years. While media studies courses and a media studies track within the theatre department had been available to students previously, the new major brings courses under a cohesive curriculum and unifies existing resources that had grown organically at different sites across campus.
The interdisciplinary major is designed to help students develop a theoretical and critical framework for becoming thoughtful, critical consumers of media while acquiring technical proficiency in various aspects of media production. The program seizes on some of the unique resources that already existed at Beloit, including a community access cable television station and robust internship and off-campus study programs.
Professor of English Shawn Gillen, who also chairs the journalism minor at Beloit, spearheaded the effort to create the major. Assistant Professor of Media Studies Joe Bookman joined the faculty in 2016 in a key move toward initiating the major.
Gillen points out that the media studies major is unique among Beloit’s peers. “We are, for example, the only school in the Associated College of the Midwest with our array of resources integrated into this new major—CELEB [Beloit’s entrepreneurship center], our television and recording studios, study abroad opportunities in media production, and student media like WBCR and the Round Table. Our college now has film equipment that any student, faculty, and staff member can check out from the library to produce work.”