Woodbury University Announces Groundbreaking Master’s Program in Media for Social Justice

Woodbury University has announced the formation of a groundbreaking advanced degree program in Media for Social Justice.  Students in the two-year M.A. program – which will reside in the university’s School of Media, Culture and Design -- will learn how to cre­ate and lever­age media for social change.  The program, accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), will welcome its first cohort in September 2014.

Through­out the two-year pro­gram, stu­dents will explore their com­mit­ment to social jus­tice, develop skills in trans­me­dia pro­duc­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship, and work closely with award-winning pro­duc­ers Harry Wiland and Dale Bell of the Media Policy Cen­ter in Santa Mon­ica (http://mediapolicycenter.org/).

The M.A. cur­ricu­lum will com­bine tra­di­tional course­work with an inno­v­a­tive, hands-on appren­tice­ship pro­gram that runs the entire course of the grad­u­ate degree.  The program’s trans­me­dia approach will pro­vide an immer­sive media expe­ri­ence as students work together to advance the cause of social jus­tice across mul­ti­ple media formats and plat­forms.  Students will emerge from the pro­gram as media entrepreneurs, with the knowl­edge, tools, and net­work­ing skills nec­es­sary for pro­duc­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing media that pro­motes greater social justice.

“The Media for Social Justice program is a very special collaboration between Woodbury University and the Media Policy Center,” said Nicole Keating, Ph.D., Chair, Media for Social Justice, Woodbury University.  “Whether students want to produce documentaries, develop websites, design games, engage in research and writing, or design their own approach to transmedia production, our program teaches social entrepreneurship with an emphasis on civic engagement.  Students will have the privilege of working with Harry and Dale, two media luminaries whose experience and expertise will shape apprenticeships that promise to be transformational.”

The Media for Social Justice curriculum consists of three core elements:

Transmedia Production – Transmedia production relies on varied yet related parts that work together to advance the cause of social justice and create a more immersive experience for audiences.  Components may include documentary, graphic design, game design, print media, web design, animation, emerging platforms and more.

Creative Entrepreneurship – Students learn how to become social justice entrepreneurs in the creative economy through case studies and through the design, implementation, and evaluation of their own business plans.

Social Justice Media Studies – Students develop an in-depth understanding of the connection between media and social change by exploring historical and theoretical foundations as well as its political implications.

“We’re embracing new models in education and new models in media,” Keating said.  “In serving as both school and studio, the new program strives to create a bridge between the classroom and the working world.  We view them as complementary and as central to the notion of ‘practical idealism.’”

According to Bell, the program “fits in a new space between documentary filmmaking and journalism, a space created by the rise of digital media.  The various forms of digital media are linked, whether game design, graphic design for print, or film and video production, and so on.  We’re focused not just on students learning the skills of the medium but on how to get the word out regarding social justice, which in turn will foster entrepreneurship.”

“As the media production landscape shifts, hands-on experience becomes more vital than ever,” Wiland said.  “Apprenticeship will be at the center of the program, in part because apprenticeships, unlike internships, provide real-world on-the-job training and will be fully integrated into the curriculum.”

Wiland and Bell -- whose individual projects have won an Oscar®, five Emmys, a Peabody, and two Christophers -- founded the not-for-profit Media Policy Center in 2003.  The Ashoka Foundation, which showcases emerging ideas from highly effective social entrepreneurs, has recognized Wiland and Bell as Ashoka Fellows.  Students enrolling in the inaugural class starting in Fall 2014 will be eligible to apply for Ashoka Graduate Fellow Scholarships as well as Dean's Scholarships that will pay 50 percent of the program’s tuition.

Learn more: http://communication.woodbury.edu/msj2/