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The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Film & Media Studies propose new major

Dickinson’s Film & Media Studies program is looking to put forward a proposal that would establish a Film and Media Studies major. The proposal, which is still in the works, is set to be officially put forward around 2024-2025 with the major becoming available in 2025-2026, as explained by Professor Nicoletta Marini-Maio, the head of the program.

“The major is not yet happening. The Film & Media studies faculty have been advocating for it for a long time, around 10 years. But now they are actively working on it,” Marini-Maio told The Dickinsonian

When asked why there was this sudden push for a major, Marini-Maio said, “We want our students to be able to read and play a role in today’s mediated reality. It’s a fundamental need and in fact there is an unmet demand of the students. Many students are enrolling in film classes and even prospective students who are exploring what Dickinson can offer are showing a lot of interest in film & media studies, it really has been growing every year.”

Indeed, the program has been growing. In the fall of 2024, Dickinson is offering 12 different Film & Media studies classes. 13 courses were offered in the spring of 2024, in comparison to fall and spring of 2023 which offered nine each.

Marini-Maio explained that the program also needs more stable faculty. She said that only she and her colleague, Professor Greg Steirer have a joint appointments as professors in both their original departments (English and Italian respectively), and in the Film & Media Studies Program. Alternatively, other professors can teach film & media classes more sporadically. “We need one more professor who can dedicate themself exclusively to film & media, allowing us to move forward with the proposal of the major,” said Marini-Maio.

Steirer agreed with Marini-Maio. He added, “Most professors at Dickinson teach cinema classes so we need another person who can do both media and communications classes.” He explained the long process that the department has had to go through such as looking at other schools’ film & media departments, looking at the number of students enrolled in such classes, and speaking to admissions.

Steirer explained how the department has come to the end of the long process, and what remains is getting a budget line increase for the potential new professor. The proposal must also be approved by the College, and subsequently the faculty and provost who will vote on it.

“I think I would agree if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen within the next couple of years. There is very low risk for the College and faculty approving the proposal. The biggest question is whether we get the money for hiring another professor.” said Steirer.

“In general, I think that a Film & Media Studies Major has the potential to be a positive development,” said Max Abramson ’24, “I can picture it allowing students whose primary area of interest is film to gain a more robust and well-rounded understanding of both filmmaking and its associated fields. It is hard to imagine the college offering a Film Major as being a bad thing.” 

Currently, students can take pursue a Film & Media Studies minor, which requires six courses. Dickinson first introduced the film minor in the early 2000s, which was then modified to Film & Media studies in 2018.

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