For La Sierra University freshman Kyleigh Sanchez, the slate of new degree programs this school year represented an opportunity to cultivate her creativity and prepare her for potential careers in photography or the film industry.
She enrolled in the Digital Media & Visual Effects Bachelor of Fine Arts program, one of La Sierra’s four new bachelor’s degrees organized under a newly developed digital media umbrella that weaves together classes from the departments of art and design, communication, computer science, film and television production, and marketing. Three other degree programs offer bachelor’s degrees in digital media in design and communication, digital media and web technology, and digital media and marketing.
The university launched the new interdisciplinary digital media degrees beginning in fall 2020, with an eye on better preparing students for employment opportunities that will increasingly require combinations of artistic creativity and skills in the most recent technologies.
“The digital media program sits at the crossroads of emerging industries and future employment opportunities combining technology with creative disciplines,” said Art+Design Department Chair Terrill Thomas, who spearheaded development of the new initiative. “The four digital media degrees were created to serve both the academic and employment goals of our students.”
“The digital media program sits at the crossroads of emerging industries and future employment opportunities combining technology with creative disciplines.”
Occupational trends through the end of the decade from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics point to above average growth in multiple career tracks related to the digital media programs—as examples, jobs for special effects artists and animators are expected to grow 16%, work for film and video editors and camera operators is anticipated to surge by 29%, web developers and digital design jobs by 13%, and media and communication occupations by 14%.
Sanchez’s degree in digital media and visual effects is offered through a partnership between the Department of Art+Design and the Film and Television Production Department. Instruction includes classes in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, motion graphics, music editing, video editing, photography, and others. Degree graduates will be prepared to test for and receive industry certifications in creative technologies, apply for graduate animation programs, and enter other career avenues.
Photography has been a favorite class, said Sanchez, a Mesa Grande Academy graduate, because she was able to design her own magazine. “Something that attracted me to my digital media degree program is how creative I can be,” she said. “I can somewhat do things freely and make them unique in my own way.”
By Darla Martin Tucker