University of West Georgia establishes School of Communication, Film and Media



Supporting increased opportunities in emerging disciplines, the University of West Georgia announced today the establishment of the School of Communication, Film and Media, effective July 1.

UWG President Dr. Brendan Kelly said the creation of the new school at UWG, to be led by inaugural dean Dr. Brad Yates, is a significant marker of the university’s commitment to produce skilled talent for in-demand industries.

“With the establishment of the School of Communication, Film and Media, the University of West Georgia is well-positioned to support the talent pipeline needed to meet the demands of a growing industry in the Atlanta metropolitan area and throughout Georgia,” Kelly said. “UWG has demonstrated a depth of complexity and excellence in the communications disciplines, connecting students with careers before they graduate, a key facet of our mission as we dedicate ourselves to the curation of a first-choice university.”

The school will work closely with the University System of Georgia and other institutions in support of the Georgia Film Academy and other statewide initiatives. The school will have a heightened expectation for generating external funding to support its initiatives and the university’s strategic priorities, including building studio experiences for students working with internal and external partners and businesses.

The new school will initially offer two bachelor of science degrees – one in mass communications and another in film and video production – and four concentrations in the general degree of convergence journalism, digital media and telecommunication, film and video production, and public relations. The current department enrolls between 1,600 and 2,100 students each year.

Experiential learning is an integral part of earning a communications credential at UWG, with students gaining real-world experience in a variety of settings: the bluestone Student Public Relations Firm; The West Georgian student newspaper; the WOLF Internet Radio; and WUTV.

“The School of Communication, Film and Media will leverage the resources and strengths in academic and research areas with increased emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborations across the university,” Dr. Jon Preston, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said. “I am confident that as part of this school, the faculty working in this area will continue their past success and be even more impactful in providing needed graduates and service to the state of Georgia.”

The new school will replace the Department of Mass Communications, which was formed in 2011, and Yates said it will be the nexus of coursework, research, scholarship, creative activity, and service for communication, film and media.

“I am humbled and honored to serve in this new role and continue working to strengthen our current programs and expand our offerings as we fully prepare students for career success,” Yates, who has been on faculty at UWG since 2000 and currently serves as the chair of the Department of Mass Communications, said. “My colleagues and I are excited to broaden and deepen our work with industry professionals, campus collaborators and community stakeholders to forge innovative and creative partnerships that will enhance our students' experiences.”

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