In the past six years, Cayuga Community College has introduced seven new concentrations and two dozen new courses in the media and arts subject area. The College has experienced an increased interest from both students and employers in these programs, and the U.S. Department of Labor predicts the addition of 342,500 jobs in these fields by 2020, or an increase of 12.6 percent from current levels.
In response to these trends, the College has formed the School of Media and the Arts (SOMA) to bring more cohesion to the academic programs’ faculty, facilities, and students. The school umbrella will enable like-minded students to bond and form cohorts, which academic experts say support degree completion and success in college.
The school format also offers more opportunities for course and program development. For example, the departments within SOMA could take advantage of the planned Schwartz Family Performing Arts Center on State Street and the College’s partnership with the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival to develop new courses, internships, academic programs, and hands-on learning opportunities for students and student activities, such as the College’s award-winning Harlequin Productions.
The school structure also provides a coordinated way to market all these related programs together so students can see the wide variety of arts and media opportunities in one place.
“The school structure within a community college is a rather new concept,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Anne Herron. “The College faculty members are developing a similar structure for other academic areas at Cayuga. This is all part of a larger institutional planning effort within Academic Affairs to draft a strategic vision, mission, and a five-year plan. These conversations will lead ultimately to the College being better able to organize, market, and deliver our programs to our students.”
The College Facilities Master Plan includes a proposal to develop a new Center for Media and the Arts that would adjoin the Library Building along the quad. The preliminary proposal includes two-story, 16,000 square-foot addition, including labs, classrooms, and four radio stations.
“We’re pleased to be able to offer our students such diverse programming in the media and arts,” said Steve Keeler, professor and chair of SOMA. “For decades, we have maintained a strong reputation in these programs. According to our most recent graduate follow-up report, 90 percent of Telecommunications graduates were either employed in the industry or pursuing studies at a four-year institution. Our alumni are leaders in their fields, and our faculty members are nationally recognized.”
Cayuga is home to its own college radio station, WDWN-FM, which was nominated for the Most Creative Programming and Best Taste in Music in 2012 CMJ National College Radio Awards. Cayuga students produce the Inside Government television show, and they create award-winning documentaries and short films C3Video, a student-run video production company, won three Telly and two Hometown Video awards. The College is also home to Cayuga Records, the student-run recording label.