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Chair's Corner: Fall 2020

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Media, Film & Journalism Studies

Grad & Undergrad Enrollments Up

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This Fall the Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies welcomed a record 26 new graduate students into our two graduate programs, the MA in Media and Public Communication and the MA in International and Intercultural Communication (the latter is shared with the Korbel School of International Studies). We also welcomed 41 new undergraduate students into our four majors (Journalism Studies, Film Studies and Production, Strategic Communication and Media Studies) and 11 into the brand-new Minor in Media, Film & Journalism Studies that launched in September 2020. The influx of new students, combined with the cancellation of study abroad experiences that kept many juniors on campus rather than travelling abroad, meant that the department was able to offer more classes than had been originally planned. Six undergraduate and one graduate course were added to our schedule in the final months before the academic year started, and we are also planning on more for the winter quarter than we were able to offer last winter.

Many of our alumni and friends have been curious about what we’re doing on campus these days, so here’s a review of what we’ve been up to. Most of the classes on offer this fall had a synchronous component, meaning that students met with one another at the same time. Several classes met in person at least once a week, including those that had a production component and those offered in a small seminar format. A large section of the Media Law course, popular with both MFJS and with socio-legal studies majors, also met in person through early November. Other students met on Zoom either as an entire class or in small groups for project-based learning. Students in several classes also had opportunities to fulfill assignments through asynchronous learning, meeting one on one with faculty members and receiving extensive feedback via Canvas, the campus online learning portal. The university used extensive contact tracing and testing methods throughout the quarter. With students needing to move in and out of self-isolation as they came into contact with people who were infected, they sometimes attended their in-person classes entirely by Zoom, and faculty members were glad to accommodate them as our students remained conscientious about staying healthy and keeping others healthy, as well. The quarter presented its challenges, but the learning continued, nevertheless.

We also found new ways to engage with one another outside of classes. While we miss seeing one another in the temporarily-empty halls of the MFJS and Sturm buildings, the Department has held a weekly Zoom social hour on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. and has launched a Critical Race Theory book club. The DU Clarion, the student run news source that involves many MFJS students, has been taking advantage of the Zoom format, welcoming many students to their weekly Monday evening meetings at 6 p.m. and inviting several recent and not-so-recent grads to join in and speak with current students about professional journalism and communication work. And the DU Media Instagram has continued to feature impressive student productions, as does our newly-updated MFJS website. Many students also pursued internships remotely, as you’ll also read in this newsletter.  We have some exciting remote events coming up in the winter and spring that will also keep the bonds of friendship and collegiality strong as we learn together.

We acknowledge, though, that we have experienced losses and have reckoned with disappointments, and our hearts go out to those who are struggling. As the year of 2020 draws to a close, we wish you peace, and we invite you to be in touch. Please share what is happening in your own life and how the department can partner with you and continue to learn from and grow with you.  We recognize that it is our connections, however they are mediated at this time, that bring us joy in living and learning together, and we look forward to deepening the joy we find in learning as we face new opportunities and challenges together.

For more information on how to participate in any of our activities or to share your news, contact us: