EMDA’s newly launched Artist/Scholar Residency program “enhances opportunities to take a risk” for professors across the campus who might have previously not had time to work extensively on original research or developing new courses. Not only that, but faculty are encouraged to do what they consistently require students to do—work on projects and discuss big ideas together. “It’s the dream grad seminar,” says Robert Arellano, director of the Center for Emerging Media and one of the people behind launching the program.
The application process was opened during spring 2012 and of the professors who applied, Melissa Geppert, Ariel Tumbaga, Bill Gholson, David Bithell, and Terry Longshore were selected to receive a course release in order to pilot the program. The professors have paired up based on the areas they applied to study and after conducting their research, each pair will co-teach a course based on their findings in either the winter or spring term of this academic year. Through this, the program could act as a catalyst in the university’s discussion about redesigning the general education requirements on campus so that students don’t feel like they’re forced to choose between disciplines. Instead of strands, there would be many opportunities for interdisciplinary courses. Thus far, the work being done has allowed the program to accomplish its short-term goal of “offering a dynamic opportunity for faculty with interdisciplinary ideas to get involved with other faculty here” as an alternative to taking a sabbatical to conduct individual work. Hopefully in the future, Arellano commented, there could be more faculty taking part in the program with longer residencies offered.