Interdepartmental Resource Sharing/Coordination; Interdisciplinary Minors

At Whitworth, faculty from English, communications and journalism, computer science, and art are all teaching courses that in some ways cross into the digital humanities by dealing with media studies or media production in some way.  The oldest of those courses are a group of film studies courses, housed in English.  The newest, my own Digital Storytelling (on new media writing) and Visual Narratives (addressing graphic novels and visual communication), are also housed in English.  That means it’s likely that my department is going to end up in a leadership role, more than likely, for any digital media/new media/emerging media initiative on campus.  I’m interested to hear about how other small schools are handling (or not) interdepartmental majors and minors dealing with emerging media.

I’m particularly interested in what arrangements other campuses are using to share and house equipment, and in any initiatives to create shared media labs or classrooms.  At smaller campuses, it’s easier to get to know (and like!) colleagues from a lot of different departments (in my experience, so far), and that’s good for coordinating efforts.  But to create something like a shared media lab or a shared pool of equipment still raises a lot of tricky coordination problems.  E.g.: What if we all contribute equal resources to maintaining our equipment and spaces, but English or communications hogs the equipment?  What if we all run our most new media-intensive courses in one semester (or one January-term) and create too much demand for our limited resources?  What if we build around present faculty members and then lose the key player for one department or another?  And maybe a question for another forum: How do we manage to keep the equipment and facilities up to date?

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About Fred Johnson

I teach recent/contemporary American lit, writing, film, and new media courses at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington.

3 Responses to Interdepartmental Resource Sharing/Coordination; Interdisciplinary Minors

  1. Profile photo of bboessen bboessen says:

    I’m interested in this as well. There are lots of things I could say here about this (I just drafted a *much* longer reply and then realized it was mostly specific to my situation), but probably the best is just to say that this is a topic we very much ought to address this weekend.
    :)

  2. Amen. This is both a problem and an opportunity, it seems, for many small campuses. I’d add to the list of complications: turf wars; overlapping curricula and resources, terminological confusion. I’d love to hear how people are working with some of these issues!

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