Thursday, December 29, 2005

A CellFlix update: 276 and climbing....

Park's all over the media map these days, which is great news for the school, for our current students, and for our alum. The value of a Park School diploma just keeps climbing....

So far, we've made television, radio and/or newspapers in 276 different cities -- including in Spain, India, Canada and Nigeria! We've made every major newspaper, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, the Indianapolis Star, the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, the Kansas City Star....And I've been on the radio in LA and San Francisco, with another interview scheduled in Detroit on Saturday....

Just to give you a sense of the geographic and media spread, here's the list I got off Google (there may be a few repeats in here, but not many....):
Orlando Sentinel
Lowell Sun
Mobile Tracker
All Headline News CNN
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Indianapolis Star
WHBF, Illinois
WBIR-TV Tennessee
Kansas City Star
What is the Word, India
Austin American Statesman
Winnipeg Free Press
ESchool News
New York Times
This Day – Nigeria
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Pittsburgh Post Gazette Canada
Wyoming News
San Francisco Examiner
El Paso Times
The News Journal, Delaware
Daily Breeze, CA
South Bend Tribune
San Jose Mercury News
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Seattle Times
Los Angeles Times
Evansville Courier & Press
Biloxi Sun Herald
Miami Herald
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Monterey county Herald
Akron Beacon Journal
San Luis Obispo Tribune
Orlando Sentinel
Lakeland Ledger
Daily Press, Virginia
Duluth News Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Baltimore Sun
Business Week
Hartford Courant
Chicago Sun-Times
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin State Journal
The Ledger, Florida
News-Tribune, Washington
Washington Post
KDKA Pennsylvania
CBS 11, Dallas
CBS4 Boston
CBS 4 Denver
CBS 2 Chicago
CBS 5 Green Bay, Wisconsin
Press Enterprise
Albany times Union
WNBC-New York
NBC 13-Birmingham
CNN International
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Information Week
Mexico Ledger, Missouri
Charlotte Observer
Boston Herald
Cincinnati Enquirer
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Beloit Daily News
Burlington Free Press
Ceres Courier, California
Sun Herald, Missouri
Biloxi Sun Herald
Indianapolis Star
Long Beach Press-Telegram
The State, South Carolina
Salt Lake Tribune
Standard-Speaker, PA
St. Petersburg Times
Naples Daily News
NBC 17 North Carolina
Fort Worth Star Telegram Michigan
Daily Journal, Venezuela
The Porterville Recorder, CA
Back Stage NY
Brenham Banner Press, Florida
Champlain channel. Com
Boonville Daily News
Grand Forks Herald, ND
Worcester Telegram Ohio
Centre Daily Times, PA Washington
Team 4 News, Texas
KLAS-TV, Nevada Connecticut
KSBW California
Houston Chronicle
Channel, Florida
WBIR-TV, Tennessee Georgia, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Georgia
Durant Daily Democrat, Oklahoma
Carthage Press, Missouri
WMUR-TV, New Hampshire
Click 2
NBC DC Maryland Ohio North Carolina
The Denver, Indiana
Milwaukee North Carolina
ABC News
WPBF-TV Florida California California
WLWT, Ohio
Channel Oklahoma
Fox Reno
The New Mexico
Grand Forks Herald, ND, Florida, Mississippi
Monterey County Herald, CA
Technology Review
Brooks Bulletin, Canada
Providence Eyewitness News
WSTM-TV, New York
Happy News, Texas
WBOC-TV, Maryland
WLBT-TV, Mississippi
WHO-TV, Iowa
KRIS-TV, Texas
WBAY-TV, Wisconsin
WBNS, Ohio
WREG, Tennessee, Arizona
KLFY, Los Angeles
WLUC-TV, Michigan
KLFY, Los Angeles
Tahlequah Daily Press, OK
Brandon Sun, Canada
Wane, Indiana
CJAD, Canada
KLAS-TV, Nevada
KRON 4, California
KFVS, Missouri
Eyewitness News, RI
KESQ, California
WOI, Iowa
WAVY-TV, Virginia
WHBF, Illinois
Ohio News Network, Ohio
KPHO Phoenix, Arizona
KAIT, Arkansas
WRIC, Virginia
KXAN-TV, Texas
KWWL, Iowa
WTVM, Georgia
KCAU, Iowa
KTRE, Texas
WALB-TV, Georgia
WLNS, Michigan
Pioneer Press, Minnesota
Boston Globe
Mobile Tracker, Florida
Sun-Sentinel, Florida
Daily Press, Virginia
Sacramento Bee
Macon Telegraph, Georgia
Bradenton Herald
Business Week
Myrtle Beach Sun, SC
MSN Money
Kansas City star
News Tribune, Seattle Washington
Centre Daily Times, Pennsylvania
Columbus Ledger-Inquirer, GA
Duluth News Tribune, MN
San Diego Union Tribune, CA
Terra Espana, Spain
Seattle Post Intelligencer, WA
Ceres television, Spain
Lowell Sun, MA
New York Times, NY
WCAX-TV, Vermont
WSTM-TV, New York

Friday, December 23, 2005

CellFlix hits the big time...

Hi everybody,

I thought I'd let you all know that the Cell Flix Festival ( is enjoying its fifteen minutes of fame this weekend. The story went out on the Associated Press wire a few days ago, and I've heard from folks in LA, Cincinnati and indianapolis already this morning.

Even cooler? The festival was on the news ticker in Times Square yesterday, and I just got an email from Good Morning America, which is interested in doing a story on the finalists. The New York Times ran a story last weekend on the festival, and NBC has already asked to sponsor it next year (we didn't accept outside sponsors this year; we want this one to be a Park School project).

In short, we're least for the moment. it's nice to be recognized.

And it'd be even nicer if one of the blog's readers actually WON. The contest is open until January 10, and it offers a $5,000 cash prize. Not a bad return for a 30-second story....

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 12, 2005

OK, so here's a personal one...

I know, I know, this is my Park School blog. But I may be the dean, and I may be your biggest advocate, but I also happen to be a mom.

And one of my four kids (you got it: FOUR KIDS) happens to be in a band called the Static Age ( And it just so happens that his band is now being featured on in the Oven Fresh section of the site (under the TV SHOWS menu).

He just called to ask me to vote for his band -- which at this point has the highest rating of the bands they're up against. And he asked me to blog it.

So here I am -- blogging it -- just in case you all want to take a look. Go to and click on enter site. Then click the far left tab, 'TV shows." Click on Oven Fresh about halfway down the list.

There are eight thumbnails of various bands. One is the static age.

I know, I know. But hey: He is, after all, my kid.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Have an opinion. Articulate it forcefully. Win.


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience is asking high school and university students to write an editorial explaining to their communities why the genocide in Sudan’s western region of Darfur matters today. Students can enter their published editorials in the Committee on Conscience’s editorial contest.

“I will continue to speak out because I survived genocide. I will not — cannot — remain silent during another genocide.”
—Nesse Godin, Holocaust survivor

Students should...
Learn more about the Genocide Emergency in Darfur
Research current conditions in Darfur
Propose ways to respond to the crisis today
Effectively communicate their views to their audience

The authors of the two winning essays, one at the high school level and one at the university level, will be flown into Washington, D.C., to join us for the annual Holocaust Days of Remembrance at the Capitol Rotunda.

The contest will be judged by: New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof; Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, Samantha Power; and the Oscar-nominated star of Hotel Rwanda, Don Cheadle.

Please review the requirements and guidelines for entering the contest. Make sure to include a completed entry form (pdf) with a copy of the editorial as published or a printout of the Web page if published online. All entries must be published by January 5 and postmarked by January 10, 2006. Make sure entry form is complete before mailing it.

You are amazing.

I spent much of the past week attending screenings and viewing installations produced by some of the most talented students I've ever had the privilege to know: You.

So far, we've seen amazing work by the students in Senior Photo Workshop Exhibition, Doc Research, Video Production, Motion Graphics, Intermediate Field, Sound, Senior Thesis, Experimental, Sound, and Advanced Field.

This week, do what you can to stop in to the programs still to come (all in the Aud):

Animation - Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Cine Prod 1 part 1 - Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.
Cinematography - Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Cine Prod 1 part 2 - Thursday, 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Cine Prod 2 - Thursday, 7:30 p.m.
Fiction - Friday, 7:30 p.m.

I look forward to seeing you there.

(And if there are other programs going on in Park I haven't included here, PLEASE let me know....I don't want to miss a thing.)

Florence, anyone?

Cinema & Photography is once again offering its amazing student trip to Italy, where students will pursue their photographic work in the rich cultural environment of Florence and central Italy. Conducted over four weeks, the class focuses on both spontaneous and deliberate image-making approaches, accommodating a wide range of students' photographic interests and emphases.

Included in the cost of the course is a three-day trip to Venice. Additional excursions include walking art history tours of Florence and Siena. During their time in Italy, many students elect to take weekend trips to such destinations as Rome, Pisa, and San Gimignano.

The course is taught at the facilities of the Santa Reparata International School of Art, whose up-to-date darkrooms and computer facilities are located within the historic city center. Housing is within easy walking distance of the school.

The prerequisite for Photo Italy is Introduction to Photography, or demonstrated competence in the area of black and white darkroom skills.

Inquiries may be directed to Professor Steven Skopik at


This just in from one of our own: Jeff Hellman worked as a grip, still photographer and camera assistant on a film called MOONSHINE, which has been accepted into the Sundance Film Festival!

Here's the description:

MOONSHINE / U.S.A. (Director: Roger Ingraham; Screenwriters: Roger Ingraham, Lori Isbell Salvage)— At night in a working-class Connecticut town, beneath an incandescent bulb in the cellar, a young convenience store clerk’s monotonous life is about to end. From in the shadows an unseen man, a vampire, waits, moving slowly closer. World Premiere.

Congratulations, Jeff! We'll be watching for those credits!

FLEFF? Take a course...or two

The 2006 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, scheduled March 30-April 6, will include a variety of special events, including screenings, installations, lectures and mini-courses. Every school on campus is offering a special mini-course. Take a look at these amazing options and contact the professor to sign up:

School of Business

Sustainable Enterprise and Environmental Challenges
Dr. David Saiia, Assistant Professor,
Contact:, 274-1915
1 Credit Mini Course
Time and Location: TBA

This course will explore the theory and design of sustainable enterprise. Using the experience of the Fundacion Maquipucuna in Ecuador, this course will examine existing and proposed sustainable micro-enterprises and the environmental and social problems that arise as these businesses unfold. This course will draw on written text, field experience and film (highlighting the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival) to provide sources for information and perspective. This course is available to all students interested in participating in the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival and also those students interested in probing sustainability issues. This class will also serve as a preparatory class for students that will be traveling to Ecuador in May and will be assessed at two credits for students planning study abroad in the program.

Dr. David H. Saiia, Ph.D.,is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business. He is offering this class to further explore ideas about sustainable business practices. Dr. Saiia has been involved in sustainability projects nearly 20 years including experience on the Island of Guam, in Singapore and most recently in Ecuador. In Ecuador, he is working with Fundacion Maquipucuna to establish sustainable micro-enterprises as part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy for the Choco-Andean Region of Ecuador. As part of this long-term project, Dr. Saiia will be taking I.C. students to Ecuador to assist with the implementation of this sustainability strategy. The Sustainable Enterprise and
Environmental Challenges course will be introduce students to this exciting field of study.

School of Health Sciences and Human Performance

Contagions and Contaminations
Dr. Stewart Auyash, Associate Professor, Health Promotion and Physical Education
Contact:, 274-1213
1 Credit Mini Course
Time and Location: TBA

The course will engage students in discussion and debate around the connections between health, disease, politics, art, and diversity related to the films and activities of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. First,students will participate directly in the preparation of and research for an artistic installation by landscape designer Mary Zebell. Second, students will view, discuss, and write about the films, videos, as well as the artistic installations. Among the public health films students will see include Darwin’s Nightmare, a documentary on the effect of fishing the Nile perch in Tanzania'sLake Victoria, and Chagas- A Hidden Affliction, which chronicles a parasitic disease affecting nearly 700,000 people and killing 14,000 in Central and South America each year. Students are expected to participate in the installation, view the films, discuss the health implications of the Festival’s events, and write about those aspects of particular interest to them.

Dr. Stewart Auyash, MPH, PhD, is an associate professor of public health policy in the Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education. He conducts research, writes, and teaches courses on the connections between public health, health communication, international politics, and culture. He has recently been working on the transnational media representations of SARS, avian flu, AIDS, and other mobile diseases. He participated in World AIDS Day in Namibia. He has lectured in Singapore, China, Canada, England and United States about international public health and communications.

School of Humanities and Sciences

Installation Art Practicum
Dr. Cheryl Kramer, Assistant Professor, Art History
Contact: 274−3548;
1-Credit mini course, Pass/Fail
Block II Spring 2006
Rooms: Handwerker Gallery and Classroom TBA
Class size: 10
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor is required. Sophomore standing required.

Installation art is a genre of Western Contemporary art that came to prominence in the 1970s. Installation artists use sculptural material and other media to modify the way in which a viewer experiences a particular space. In this instance landscape designer Mary Zebell uses the ephemeral material of snow fencing to represent the collective loss we as a society face from contemporary tragedies such as the Iraqi War and the AIDS crisis, which affect not only individuals and communities, but on humanity. This mini-course provides students with the opportunity to work with Handwerker Gallery Director Cheryl Kramer and artist Mary Zebell in preparing, installing and striking The Count, a site-specific installation in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. Students are required to complete a series of readings and lectures/demonstrations prior to working on the installation. Students must submit a reading journal and a reflective journal. Readings: Nicolas De Oliveira et al, Installation Art in the New Millennium: The Empire of the Senses (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2004) and Claire Bishop, Installation Art: A Critical History (New York: Routledge, 2005).

Dr. Cheryl Kramer received her PhD in Art History from the University of Saint Andrews (Scotland) with a research specialty in the Russian avant-garde. She specifically researches the depiction of outsiders in the neo-primitivist works of Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova. Currently the Director of the Handwerker Gallery and an Assistant Professor of Art History at Ithaca College, Dr. Kramer teachescourses on Contemporary Art, Museum Studies and Russian Art.

School of Music

Cultural Ecology
Dr. Peter Rothbart, Professor, Music Theory, History, Composition, 274-1497
1 credit mini course
Time and location: Selected Tuesdays, 1:10-2:00,
Whalen Center for Music room 4206.
Prerequisite: 1 course in liberal arts, one course in fine arts.

This course will examine the philosophic, sociological and artistic issues surrounding the transmission and assimilation of cultures. Through the prisms of film, music and dance, we will ask more questions than we answer about the relationships between cultural diversity, sustainability, assimilation, artistic integrity, authenticity, novelty and creativity. Students should be prepared for active participation in group discussions and a significant amount of readings, listenings and viewings in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. Attendance at many of the Festival events is required.

Dr. Peter Rothbart is a Professor of Music Theory, History and Composition, and Director of Electroacoustic and Recording Studies at the Ithaca College School of Music. He is active as a composer, performer, writer and artist, with performances and art shows throughout the US, Europe and Russia. He has published over 300 articles and is currently at work on two books about film music. His music is published by Seesaw Press, Lorenzo Music and the International Trumpet Guild.

Roy H. Park School of Communications

Hacking, Bending and Recycling the Media
Prof. Simon Tarr, Assistant Professor, Cinema and Photography, 274-7003
1 credit mini course
Thurs, 9:25-10:15am, beginning in January
Location: Not yet determined.

This mini-course involves the study of the political economy of media technology, innovation and design, and introduces students to methods of creating and modifying hardware and software to suit specific media art applications. Through analysis of digital rights management systems, legal tactics, marketing campaigns, and the devices themselves, students will examine their own relationship to technology and how that interaction effects the global media economy and the environment. This course will be offered as a part of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. It will culminate in a live media performance incorporating methods and technologies developed in the class. In concert with the Smithsonian Institution's Human Studies Film Archives at the National Museum of Natural History, in the first partnership of its kind with undergraduates, students from all areas at Ithaca College will participate in tactical video projects that illuminate local environmental issues.

Prof. Simon Tarr made his first movie at the age of eight. The strip of film wasfashioned from sandwich bags. The projector was a shoebox and a lamp, the lens was a magnifying glass on a toilet paper tube. The film premiered on the wall of his bedroom, and melted. Since then, Simon Tarr’s eleven films have been screened on every continent (yes, even Antarctica) in hundreds of film festivals. Rubicon, Tarr’s first feature, has received wide acclaim as groundbreaking avant-garde digital animation, while Quark
Star has crossed over and won awards as new media art and a popular video podcast.

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival is supported through a major collaboration between the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies and the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Additional support is provided by the School of Business, the School of Humanities and Sciences, the School of Health Science and Human Performance, and the School of Music. The festival is a campus-wide event featuring screenings, lectures, performances, exhibitions, and installations. The mini-courses are supported through the generosity of each of the schools on the Ithaca College campus in an effort to explore sustainability in all of its social, political, aesthetic, technological and ecological dimensions. For more information on the festival, please contact co-directors Dr. Patricia R. Zimmermann, and Dr. Tom Shevory,

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Laptops in Park: Details, details

Hi everybody,

As at least some of you probably know, the Ithacan today published an editorial about the Park School's laptop program. (See "Sour Apples,"

While I am unwaveringly supportive of the newspaper's right to take a stance on any issue it considers important, I was somewhat concerned that the editorial presented an incomplete picture of the details and evolution of the laptop program over the past 14 months.

So, if you're interested in the topic, here's EVERYTHING you EVER wanted to know about the Park School's new laptop initiative. The first part is the FAQ I wrote for the Park faculty, which was also distributed to the Dean's Council and the ITPAC group. The second part is additional information I wrote this week.


Why should the Park School adopt a laptop program?

A laptop program is an essential element of the Park School’s plan to continue to rank among the best undergraduate communications schools in the country. It puts a full suite of multimedia tools in the hands of every student, encouraging each of them to become proficient and comfortable with all kinds of media production capabilities. Research shows statistically significant improvements in learning among students who use laptops.

Why establish a laptop program only in the Park School?

Media technologies are the core learning tools of a media/communications education. In the same way that music students must invest in high quality instruments that meet their learning needs, and science students spend a great deal more on textbooks than many other students do, media students need consistent access to the hardware and software they must use to produce mediated messages.

How would laptops impact pedagogy in the Park School?

Unlike most other academic programs and schools at IC, students in the Park School already work with computer technology as an integral part of their learning experiences. While we expect a gradual culture change because of the laptops, the program would not necessarily have an immediate impact on the way any particular instructor teachers his or her course. Faculty who would prefer not to use the laptops in their courses can certainly choose not to.

If that’s the case, why bother?
At this point, and increasingly into the future, students come to the Park School with the expectation that they will have consistent access to all types of media production technology: audio, video, design, multimedia, and text. At this point, we are not coming close to meeting that expectation: students have the right to access the Park School’s portable equipment and laboratories based exclusively on their current classes in any given semester.

That kind of limitation is increasingly unacceptable and illogical to students, in large part because they have enjoyed much greater flexibility in their high schools and even in their homes. Basic multimedia production capabilities have become common consumer technology; it isn't reasonable to expect students to accept sharp limitations on their access in the Park School.

What kind of laptop would Park students be expected to acquire?

Park students would be required to purchase an Apple PowerBook laptop computer that meets the minimum standards established by the school. The computers would come loaded with a consistent software package that would provide all students with an introductory capacity to produce media content for text, Web, audio, video, and still-image platforms.

How much would that laptop cost?

We are working to hit a price point below $2,000; we are hopeful that it will be well below. That would include the computer, the software, and a four-year Apple service contract. An estimated 98 percent of Park students come to campus with a new computer; because they are interested in media production, it is reasonable to assume that those computers are not low-end word-processing machines. We will also work with Apple to provide low-cost loans to families who wish to receive one.

Why Apple?

ITS is convinced that Macs offer the best combination of resident software, price point, support options, and virus protection. It would not be feasible for the school to support a wide variety of different kinds of computers, so we've made a decision -- as have many other schools around the country -- to become an Apple school.

Would there be additional costs associated with this over time?

Students in some courses may be required to buy more sophisticated software specific to their individual majors, much as they are required to buy expensive textbooks, cameras, and (in other schools), musical instruments. Not every student in Park needs to have Final Cut Pro on their computer; even so, many students will find the investment in the software builds great flexibility and opportunity for creative work into their learning experience.

Is this kind of “extra fee” particular to a single school or program unique at Ithaca College?

Many IC programs have unique or specific fees or costs associated with their particular course or program requirements. For a summary of those fees, see:

In the Park School:
The Park School does not require laboratory fees. However, students enrolled in certain courses may be required to supply their own equipment or materials, including computer data storage media. In cinema and photography, students are expected to furnish their own light meters and their own cameras for all still photography courses. In addition, students must purchase materials such as photographic film and paper, motion picture film, and mounting board. Because of the large number of production courses, B.F.A. majors will incur additional costs for materials.

What’s the timeframe of the phase-in?

The program would be implemented over the academic years 2006-2009.

What are the budget impacts within Park?
Budget implications of a laptop program are related to both capital and personnel expenditures. In order to serve non-Park students enrolled in Park courses, the school or college will establish a “loaner program” that will provide laptops to students in particular courses at particular times of the semester. In addition, we will have one full-time staffer to support the program, and we will hire part-time students to provide software-installation and support during the first week of the semester.

What about non-Park students who take courses in the Park School? How would they access the technology they need to participate fully in their courses?

Students who enroll in our courses from outside the Park School will continue to have access to fixed-station labs to complete their work. We will also have a set of ‘loaners’ that could be made available to students on a sign-out basis for classroom activities and participation.

What about faculty development?

Most of the Park faculty use technology in their teaching already; it’s the nature of the discipline. But all faculty would have opportunities over the course of the four-year integration process to attend workshops and conferences on teaching and learning with technology. Oddly enough, for some faculty, the laptop program would relieve them of the obligation to spend enormous amounts of their classroom time on technology, freeing them up to engage with students in other ways.

What’s the impact on Park’s competitive position?

At this point, the Park School is working to respond effectively to a professional communications environment that no longer distinguishes its work by media type. Convergence of media genres – audio, video, text, imagery – is a given in the industry, but that is not yet the case in Park, which still assigns particular students in particular majors to particular laboratories that have particular kinds of software. One of the compelling reasons for the laptop program is that it will eliminate that segregation: every Park student will have a high-end Mac laptop that will be loaded with the same suite of communications software, so that ALL students will be able to master the tools they need to create and process audio, video, text and still imagery.

Is the laptop program consistent with the Park School’s institutional plan? With the college’s institutional plan?

The Park School’s proposal is consistent with the College’s Institutional Plan and with its own strategic plan, completed last spring after two years of faculty effort. In fact, it allows the school to take a leadership position in meeting the Plan’s key technology priority: “Ensure that Ithaca College is a recognized innovator in blending contemporary technology with educational techniques….” The laptop proposal embraces a new and innovative approach to teaching and learning that employs digital technologies within the context of the college’s most “wired” discipline; it helps establish IC as a “recognized innovator” in its engagement with a contemporary technology that is both culturally pervasive and educationally relevant. In addition, the program specifically meets one of the six strategic priorities established by the Park School in the area of Physical and Technical Resources.

What follows here is some information I compiled in response to student questions and ideas raised in the past week.


I understand and appreciate student concerns about cost, and we're doing everything we can to keep them as low as possible -- in fact, so much so that I've had upper-class students and alumni ask if they can 'get in on the deal.' (The answer is yes.)

While the college won't be providing financial aid directly, we're working diligently with Apple to develop a Park-specific loan program that families can use to buy the computer; they'll be able to make the same kind of monthly payments as they would if they were given student loans to cover the costs. We plan to develop some kind of a safety net for students whose families truly cannot afford to purchase a laptop, even through the loan program, but nothing I've seen or heard suggests that that will be an issue. In addition, Apple has agreed to extend its warranty service program to four years from the standard three years, which means students will enjoy significant support (it's literally a 48-hour turn-around) during their entire four years in Park.

We will also be establishing a reserve of machines that students will be able to take out of PPECS, just like they do a camera; those machines will be available for non-Park students who enroll in our classes, and for students whose machines have been sent out for repair. We'll have a full-time tech support person assigned to the laptop program, however, so most of the work will be done right here in-house. We'll also have workshops to teach students to use the various software programs included in their laptops.

A School-wide Program

After 18 months of ongoing research, conversations with every stakeholder group, and benchmarking, I'm confident that this is the best next step for the school.

All students in all majors will soon need an understanding -- if not a mastery -- of the full range of media platforms; that doesn't mean they'll all be Final Cut Pro wizards, but it does mean that they'll all understand how to tell a story in moving images. They may not all know Dreamweaver but they do need to know how to capture audio, video and interactive media for presentation in an online story. In short, all Park grads will need a working knowledge of the full range of what will basically be considered consumer technologies by 2008.

In addition, as I explained, we cannot hope to stay current in terms of our discipline and the rapidly changing media industry unless we can find ways to make more effective use of our fixed physical space. That doesn't mean we won't have fixed-station labs; it does mean that we can't provide enough lab seats to ensure that all students in all majors will be able to access basic audio, video, web and imaging technologies whenever they want to. And that's what we need to be able to do -- which is why the laptop program is the best solution over the next five years.

We've Really Thought this Through

Finally, it's important to understand that the laptop program is the product of extensive discussion and consideration by every appropriate faculty and administrative body inside and outside the school. In particular, we have discussed the program:

-- at the Park School's Administrative Council (the department chairs and grad chair); I offered to bring it to a school-wide faculty meeting, but the Council decided that each chair would bring the subject back to their respective departments for consideration. I received two emails with questions, and I responded to them. I also wrote an FAQ about the program that was distributed to all Park School faculty.

-- at the Dean's Council retreat last summer, to assess whether the program should be instituted at one school. After considerable conversation, the deans agreed that there is no reason that one school shouldn't adopt the laptop program, but that that didn't mean all schools should do so. The support was unanimous.

-- with ITS. Again, there were lots of questions. After discussion, Ed Fuller and his staff agreed that the Park School program will be an important and appropriate pilot program for the college, in the event that other schools do decide to follow our lead. The business school, for example, is likely to adopt a laptop program when the new building is built.

-- at ITPAC, the college-wise IT advisory council, comprised of staff and faculty from all parts of the college. They, too, discussed whether one school should do this while others are not. They also discussed costs and the potential impact on students and their families. They sent a recommendation to the president supporting the laptop program.

-- at my Advisory Council meetings with students. The concern was about the cost, which seemed allayed when I described the availability of a loan program through Apple. In addition, some students don't like Macs. We went back to the drawing board on that, but have again concluded that for reasons of cost, software and virus protection, Macs are the best option.

-- with the Admissions staff. Admissions and I have talked at length about the program; they're very supportive, and they are not concerned that the price will deter students from coming to Park -- and if anybody knows the prospective Park market, it's the Admission staff.

The program is also a component of the Park School Strategic Plan, which was completed this year after two full years of discussion and deliberation by the school's faculty and staff. So there is clear consensus among people who are incredibly invested in the quality and the success of this institution that this is a valuable and viable next step for the Park School.

I truly see this as an important opportunity for our students rather than an imposition: we're negotiating the best possible price on one of the best multimedia laptops in the market; we're the only wireless academic building on campus, which means they'll be able to use the laptops effectively, here and in their dorms; we're providing loaners for students who are having problems or need to borrow a machine; we're providing in-house tech support so students will have a place to go when they're having problems; and we're offering workshops to teach students to use various kinds of software, even if it's outside the range of their particular major.

In sum, we've done more homework, benchmarking, stakeholder interaction and budget planning for this program than any other project in the Park School since I arrived here. We're convinced it's the best way to ensure that we continue to meet our students' needs through 2010.

Thanks for taking the time to read all of this. Let me know if you have questions.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Advisory Council meeting tonight; please come!

It's that time again: tonight is the last Advisory Council meeting of the semester. It's your opportunity to talk about All Things Park, to share your ideas about ways we might improve the school, and to hear updates from me about the projects we've discussed in the past.

After feedback from some of you who couldn't make the Monday night meetings, we've decided to schedule them throughout the week (well, Monday through Thursday) to be sure everybody has the opportunity to participate.

Tonight's meeting is from 7 to 8 p.m. in Park 220. I'll bring pizza, you bring ideas.

Hope to see you there.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Want to be a music writer? Enter the MTV-U contest

This just in -- and there's no reason why YOU aren't going to win it -- unless, of course, you don't enter....


“Student Voice” Contest Gives College Students a Chance to be Published in Billboard and on

New mtvU and Billboard “Student Eye” Column to Exclusively Feature College Writers

New York, NY (November 21, 2005) – Billboard, the world’s most trusted source of music, video and digital entertainment news, charts, reviews and analysis, and mtvU, MTV’s 24-hour college network, announced today a partnership to give college students – who may now write for school papers, blogs or just recreationally – a chance to be published in Billboard magazine, as well as on and

As part of mtvU and Billboard’s Student Voice contest, college students nationwide are encouraged to respond to three music-related questions posted on by January 30, 2006. Writers that submit the most insightful answers will be invited to participate in an ongoing Finalist Competition Term, where their essays will be published on and The burgeoning writers’ works will be judged by top industry insiders, and winners will be selected to write an installment of the co-branded mtvU and Billboard “Student Eye” column, a new feature debuting in the March 2006 issue of Billboard. Tamara Conniff, co-executive editor of Billboard magazine, and Christina Norman, President of MTV Networks, are two of the high-profile judges confirmed to participate in the Student Voice contest. Additional judges are to be announced.

“We’re looking forward to offering some of today’s most promising college writers a presence in Billboard and on the newly re-launched, as well as serving as “virtual mentors,” helping the students to further hone their music journalism skills,” said Conniff. “The Student Eye column will be a wonderful complement to the host of new features we’re offering music fans.”

“mtvU was designed as a platform where college students can have their talents and accomplishments recognized on a national level, and we’re excited to extend that platform all the way into one of the world’s premiere music publications,” said Stephen Friedman, GM, mtvU. “College students are prophesying the future of music today, and through this partnership with Billboard, we’ll be able to help unearth and cultivate some of tomorrow’s top music writers.”

To enter the Student Voice Contest, visit or In addition to being published on and, finalists will also receive a one-year subscription to Billboard magazine. Submissions will be accepted through January 30, 2006 and finalists will be alerted by February 11th.

And the winners are.....

Yes, folks, we've picked the names of the 20 lucky Park School students who will be going to France in May. We received at least 300 applications and I wish we could take you all, but the good news is, if you didn't get picked this year, you can try again next year.

In addition to these 20 names, we have picked an additional five "back-ups" in the event that somebody cannot go, after all. We'll fill any open slots in the order in which the names were picked. And we're not announcing those names at this point, so you won't all start hoping that any of the winners comes down with a terrible case of the measles the first week of May...:-)

The group includes four freshmen, three sophomores, seven juniors and six seniors. It also includes three journalism majors; four C&P majors; eight TV-R majors and three IMC majors; and two OCLD majors.

Here are this year's lucky winners (in alphabetical order):

Jesse Borrell, junior
Lucien DeLaBruere, freshman
Michael Demarast, freshman
William Feldman, sophomore
Matt Gogal, junior
Hillary Gozigian, junior
Michael Hubbard, junior
Susan Kraus, senior
Heather Lew, senior
Ana Liss, junior
Marissa Lamb, senior
Amanda Morrissette, junior
Lindsay Piccotti, senior
Laura Rowett, freshman
Michelle Rueda, freshman
Sean Servis, junior
Christine Szudzik, senior
Abigail Lisa Valovage, sophomore
Michael Wechsler, senior
Nicole Zachringer, sophomore

Congratulations to you all! And to everybody else, better luck next time!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Did you say $5,000?? $5,000? For thirty seconds of great video?

You got it.

If you haven't already seen it, log on to and get the details.

You can win $5,000 -- cash -- if your 30-second video is selected as the best in the competition. Here's the catch: You have to shoot it on a cellphone or smartphone.

Why? Because the whole purpose of the festival is to get you to think small, to consider how to create great visual work using mobile devices for both production and presentation.

And because many of you would LOVE to participate but don't have a video-capable cell phone, I just bought one. It's a Sony-Ericsson K700i, recognized for its camera-like qualities. And I paid to have it delivered by Tuesday so you'll have a chance to use it before you leave for break.

It'll be in PPECS, ready to be checked out, by Wednesday morning. So start thinking about it now: You've got 30 seconds to tell a great story. That's a lot more difficult than having 300 seconds -- or minutes, for that matter.

It's all in the planning.

And we'll make sure you have a phone/camera once you're ready to shoot.