By Angelique Paccione
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State launched its new major in Digital Media Innovation (DMI) this fall. Texas State University System Board of Regents approved the undergraduate degree last February, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board gave final approval in August.
Founding Director of the Media Innovation Lab, Cindy Royal, was a Knight Fellow at Stanford in 2013-2014 when she was inspired to start the DMI major. Royal said Texas State’s graduate program is impressive, but the undergraduate program could be just as beneficial.
“I wanted to think about digital media as more of its own space and to make it the center of the degree and more immersive,” Royal said.
DMI student Hector Sifuentes was an Electronic Media student who switched majors to learn more skills that could help him with his career goals of owning a creative agency.
“DMI and the coding classes prior really challenged me and had me learning something new everyday,” Sifuentes said.
There is a demand in the media industry for those with technology proficiency and strong communication skills. The DMI major will open a wide range of career opportunities.
“I see recent graduates moving up in positions that never existed three or four years ago,” Royal said. “Times keep changing, and we want students to be able to adapt to that.”
“Coding and learning the philosophy of problem solving and innovation are huge keys to success,” Sifuentes said. “I look forward to being the first to graduate with the degree.”
Royal has been pushing for a digital media lab for years, and the Media Innovation Lab has finally opened this semester in Old Main. Royal plans on having digital media activities and events available for all Mass Communication students outside of the DMI program.
Media Innovation student lab and laptop lounge
“Digital media is something that all majors in this department can learn from and benefit from,” Royal said.
The lab consists of a student lab, laptop lounge, teaching space, maker space and a conference room. Students will have the opportunity to work with drones, 360 video, sensors and other new technology once the lab is completed. Royal said the new lab and courses emphasize skills and strategy in understanding the digital world.
School of Journalism and Mass Communication Director, Judy Oskam, said Royal and the faculty have been working on curriculum for the DMI major since 2014.
“Our Digital Media Innovation degree will soon become a model media education program,” said Oskam.