Capital University Sees Opportunity for Real-World Experience For Students with New Convergent Media Center

The Convergent Media Center (CMC) on Capital University’s campus houses some of the most sophisticated technology available in Central Ohio for students pursuing a variety of media- and art-related disciplines. Officially opened on Saturday, November 12, the CMC is the first academic building for the University in more than 30 years.

The building’s purpose is in the name: convergence. It’s presented in the building’s layout and the classes and programs that will eventually call it home. As Betsy Pike, assistant professor and director of media & film explains, the CMC takes studios that were once tucked in basements across campus and corrals them in one place.

A studio for the school’s student-run radio station is just steps away from the TV station. There are conference rooms for The Chimes, the student-run newspaper, and the English department and its publications. Lecture rooms and active learning classrooms utilize technology to create a more interactive experience for students. That’s just the first floor.

On the lower level there’s a recording studio with three solo studios and a floating floor that’s not connect to the rest of the building for optimal sound quality. A total of four sound mixing bays are split between 5.1 surround sound and classic stereo. Twenty-seven inch 4K monitors, brand new Macs and a professional-grade coloring board will be of use to scholars of electronic media & film. (The board is the only of its kind in Columbus.)

On the second floor 36 empty offices and two conference rooms are waiting to be filled.

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The convergence of these disciplines all in one place is representative of a larger trend in today’s workforce.

As Professor of Communication Steve Bruning explains, the integration of disciplines and technologies will help students develop skills and abilities in several areas instead of just “swimming in their lane.” In speaking with recent graduates, “They felt that they had wonderful training in their silo, but they wished that they would have had training in two or three or four different areas,” Burning says.

A baseline understanding of different disciplines will mean a more well-rounded student.

Pike speaks of a student who was a PR and electronic media & film major who is now working at a small marketing firm in town.

“She’s aware of everything and doing a little bit of all of it,” Pike says. “The jobs seem to be moving in that direction.” 

What exactly this converging of disciplines will look like is still somewhat unknown. The University is looking for primary faculty that recognize the multi-disciplinary nature of today’s media. One way that might be accomplished is through some creative faculty appointments, like working with entrepreneurs. They might teach in one area while drumming up business that, “They are able to use some of our facilities, and especially our students, in project-based work,” Bruning says. 

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It introduces real-world work into a student’s experience. The University is still working to make those contacts that would have exciting and interesting projects for students to work on.

In all likelihood we are probably looking at more projects for people who are either in startup capacity, or a little bit beyond startup capacity, or non-profit organizations,” Bruning says. 

For example, Pike is working on securing a grant for 2017 from the Bexley Community Foundation. In the Fall, she envisions bringing the best students in a number of areas together to shoot videos for local businesses that otherwise couldn’t afford it.

There are several steps yet to be completed to put these plans into action, but Bruning and Pike see the unknown as a tremendous opportunity not just for Capital, but for Central Ohio,

For more information, visit capital.edu/cmc/

All photos by Susan Post. 

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