The Film & Media Studies program has specific learning objectives for students, on top of the general goals outlined in the mission statement of the College. (These objectives are stated broadly, here. The manner in which they are accomplished is deliberately left open, to accommodate a variety of teaching styles and course designs.)
First, every student who enrolls in any Film & Media Studies course, even as an isolated general elective, should improve in basic media literacy, in this way:
1. The student will gain in understanding of key technical elements and formal features of film and media texts and will apply this knowledge in analyzing how media texts are put together and how they work. This knowledge will be assessed through written and oral analysis of film and media texts.
Every student who graduates with either a minor or a major in Film & Media Studies should be able to demonstrate the following accomplishments, as well:
2. The student will have a practical understanding of how to make movies. This will include working knowledge of technical tools of production, including video cameras and editing software, and critical awareness of the connections between technical choices and aesthetic and rhetorical aims. This knowledge will be assessed through the production of creative short videos.
3. The student will become familiar with the broad range of forms, modes, and genres of motion picture, including fiction and nonfiction, traditional and non-traditional, American, European, and non-Western. This will be achieved by coordinating the films screened and topics covered in the two basic analytically oriented courses in the program (“Introduction to Film & Media Studies” and “Film History”) so that, together, they cover this range.
4. The student will understand how movies and other media are shaped by social and cultural factors, how they reflect those factors, and how they may in turn influence them. This knowledge will be assessed through written work that puts media texts into historical and cultural context.
5. The student will be able to reflect, in a sustained, logical, and critical way, about how movies function in general theoretical terms—to persuade, to entertain, to prompt emotional responses, aesthetically, ideologically, economically, or in some other manner. In this enterprise, the student must engage in rigorous, scholarly fashion with the ideas of other scholars. This skill will be assessed by means of an advanced seminar paper on some theoretical topic in the field.
Every student who completes the major should be able to demonstrate the following further accomplishments:
6. The student will deepen his or her understanding of how film and media texts function as cultural artifacts (beyond the introductory level), through additional study of a particular film historical or theoretical topic. The level of the student’s understanding will be assessed by means of a substantial research paper.
7. The student will deepen his or her practical knowledge about how to make movies for different purposes and how to respond creatively to the challenges and obstacles that media producers routinely face, through the production of substantial works in two of the three major modes of production (narrative, documentary, and experimental). The level of the student’s practical knowledge will be assessed by means of those finished works.
8. The student will have designed, planned, and executed a major creative or scholarly project, either independently or with one or two peers, that demonstrates the level of the student’s accomplishment and his or her ability to do graduate level or professional work in the field. Finished projects will be reviewed and assessed by the entire Film & Media Studies faculty, with additional outside jurors when appropriate.
Finally, it is a goal of the program,
9. To provide every interested student at the College, regardless of major, with opportunities to learn about careers in film and media production and to cultivate professional connections. This will be accomplished by regularly bringing professional film and media makers to campus, sponsoring career talks, supporting internships, and taking select upper class students to film festivals.