CU-Boulder college 'the kind of innovation this university is capable of'

The University of Colorado Board of Regents voted 8-0 with one regent absent to approve the new College of Media, Communication and Information ​at the regents’ June meeting.

The college will open in fall 2015.

“The new college will deliver groundbreaking teaching and research that will ensure our students’ success by providing them with the expertise and versatility they need to thrive in a rapidly evolving communication landscape,” said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano.  

“This marks a transformative period for media education across the nation, and CU-Boulder’s College of Media, Communication and Information places the campus at the vital center of these exciting changes,” he said.  

The vote marks the first creation of a new college at CU-Boulder in more than 50 years. It moves forward the reorganization of the Department of Communication and the Program in Journalism and Mass Communication into one college.

The next step in development of the college will come in September when the regents will be asked to formally approve departments of advertising, public relations and media design; communication; critical media practices; journalism; information science; and media studies.

Plans for the new college have been underway since the Board of Regents’ charge in 2011 to create a journalism program with innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to propel CU-Boulder to national leadership in media education. The process has included input from faculty, students and staff, as well as alumni and industry.

Industry professionals who attended the meeting praised the design of the new college and said it would be a vital feeder for their professions.

Tim Wieland, news director at Denver television station KCNC, member of CU-Boulder’s Journalism Advisory Board and a CU alumnus, told the board that the new college would be an investment in a successful future for CU broadcast students and other graduates of the college.

“What’s happening in our business is game changing; just because it’s changing, doesn’t mean it’s dying . . . it’s thriving,” Wieland said. “The students at CU-Boulder can look forward to a bright future, and they’ll be well prepared for it thanks to this new college.”

Daniel Junge, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker from Colorado, said the new college’s documentary filmmaking courses are an innovation occurring at exactly the right time.

“At this year’s Tribeca film festival, there were four films by Colorado filmmakers,” Junge said. “I challenge you to find another state outside of New York and California represented that way. We’re in a golden age of documentary right now, and I would like to advocate for the creation of this program.”

CU journalism student Halley Terleski, a junior who serves on the J-Board – a journalism board composed of CU students, said she and her fellow journalism students thought “CMCI will be an amazing addition to CU,” and that it “will strengthen a CU-Boulder degree.”

At the meeting, CU-Boulder Provost Russell L. Moore, Vice Provost Jeff Cox and Journalism Director Chris Braider presented the vision of the college to the Board.

The vision for the college was praised by a number of the Regents.

Regent Sue Sharkey, who opposed the vote to discontinue the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2010, said she was won over “100 percent” and that she wished the program had been in place when her daughter was a CU journalism student several years ago.

“There was an incredible amount of thought and talent and ideas that went into this,” Sharkey said.

Regent Joe Neguse, who also opposed the 2010 discontinuance vote, was impressed at how CU leaders had brought an outside-in approach to conceiving and designing the college.

“You all have done exceptional work and it’s clear that you have engaged the industry in a way that has been difficult for the university in the past. I’m proud to support it,” Neguse said.

Outgoing CU Regents Chair Michael Carrigan put it even more simply.

“It shows the kind of innovation this university is capable of,” he said.

The college is projected to open with about 1,750 students and will be funded from existing resources.

More information about the new college is available at http://www.colorado.edu/cmci/.

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