EMC changes its name to Media Arts on July 1

Media Arts bannerThe Department of Electronic Media Communication is changing its name to Media Arts, effective July 2017.

The world and the department have changed a lot since Electronic Media Communication became the department’s name. Among other things, a year and a half ago the Multimedia Journalism program and its 170 students were moved from EMC to the School of Journalism, leaving the EMC and its five remaining programs with a much clearer focus on media arts.

Also a year and a half ago, the College changed its name from the College of Mass Communication to the College of Media and Entertainment. Three quarters of the students in the College are studying entertainment-oriented topics, and the whole College deals with media. Mass Communication is no longer the driving force in the industry. A name change was necessary. The College of Media and Entertainment is more accurate and descriptive.

The electronic anachronism

During this same period, the EMC Department dropped the word “Electronic” from three of its program names to update and better reflect the nature of those programs, and to be better understood by prospective students and the industries served.

Amid all of this change, it became increasingly clear that the name Electronic Media Communication was past its prime. The word “electronic” is suggestive of a past era, and the name is not readily understood by key constituencies. The full name is so long that “EMC” has become the default name of the department. Unfortunately the name “EMC” has no meaning outside of the university community.

The search for a new name

The EMC faculty explored options for new names for two years and finally settled on “Media Arts.” A survey conducted by the department found 52 universities around the United States using “Media Arts” as the name or part of the name for programs. The survey also showed that a majority of those programs included studies that align closely with those in the EMC Department.

Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive when we have asked current and prospective students, their parents, and people working in our industries what they thought about the name Media Arts. It has been clear that we found a better name that people understand, is succinct, and accurately reflects the department’s programs. We also believe the words “media” and “arts” will stand the test of time much better than words like “electronic” and “digital.”

The gauntlet of approvals

To make the change, Media Arts was approved by the department faculty, the dean of the College, the College Curriculum Committee, the University Curriculum Committee, the provost, the University president, the Tennessee Board of Regents and finally the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

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