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1. Overview and Justification
Description: Uniting faculty and students across disciplines, Pacific’s Center for Digital Media
and Arts (CDMA) will explore the intersections of technology, media, culture, and the arts. With
interdisciplinary collaboration at its core, the CDMA has the following primary objectives:
apply new media in collaborative, original, interdisciplinary projects;
critically evaluate artifacts produced through digital technologies;
develop an understanding of the impact of such technologies on society and culture; and
investigate the pedagogical applications of digital media.
Digital media becomes interesting from an academic perspective when focusing on the
transformative potential of rich media content, the effects of interactivity on the human / computer
interface, and the convergence of communication technologies across a distributed network.
Increasingly, it has become clear that the evolving nature of digital media (e.g., the creation of
new art forms or genres, new communication pathways, new production processes, and new
technologies) merits rigorous intellectual investigation.
Due to its growing and far-reaching impact, digital media studies is not easily contained within the
boundaries of traditional academic disciplines; rather, it requires the forging of new relationships
and collaborations among disciplines spanning the arts, computing sciences, communications,
the humanities and education. Rather than focusing on the impact of technology in isolated
disciplines, the CDMA will foster hybrid thinking, generating new ideas through the amalgamation
of media and art forms that is now possible in the digital realm.
As an academic and administrative unit, the CDMA will offer students a comprehensive degree
program and will serve as a catalyst to coordinate University resources (personnel, faculty,
studios/laboratories, software, and equipment). In addition, the creation of an actual Center
(locus) will reinforce the legitimacy of the CDMA program, providing the physical space necessary
foster an environment for the collaboration of students and faculty across disciplines,
enable recruitment of students,
produce media projects that establish the CDMA as a leader in the advancement of the
showcase the achievements of our faculty and students.
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Rationale: All disciplines that engage in the production or study of media and art have been
affected by the digital revolution. Digitization has changed production techniques, enabled new
media forms, unleashed new pathways for creativity, and radically improved the speed at which
artifacts can be shared and manipulated. As a result, it is not surprising that the study of digital
media has emerged as an independent discipline, as is evidenced by the founding of international
professional societies, academic programs, and scholarly journals dedicated to this specific area.
The CDMA program proposed here will place Pacific at the forefront of this emerging discipline
and further promote the University's reputation as a pioneer of innovative programs.
A common theme among digital media programs is that they are universally and necessarily
interdisciplinary. The CDMA program will place visual artists, musicians, writers, computer
scientists and other students together in shared studio space so that they can collaborate on
projects and advance the learning process. Pedagogically, it is widely held that collaborative and
cross-disciplinary learning offers a number of benefits to the student. The CDMA is proposed as
an interdisciplinary program for the following reasons:
advances in aural, visual, and digital technologies have precipitated dramatic change in a
variety of disciplines simultaneously in a condensed period of time,
increased attention is being given to issues of digital literacy across the curriculum,
the breadth of knowledge required to teach in this field necessitates that faculty from
different disciplines work together, and
students who are exposed to cross-disciplinary collaboration develop skills that allow
them to better respond to the shifting knowledge environment evident in 21 century
Moreover, Pacific has a history of achievement in interdisciplinary studies and can build on our
successful collaborative efforts of the past.
The importance and impact of digital media cannot be over-estimated. In The Global Imperative:
The Report on 21 Century Literacy Summit, Henry Jenkins of MIT observes, “a profound shift is
taking place in the way people communicate and express themselves.” Traditional (unimodal)
forms of communication (primarily static images and text) are being supplanted by more complex,
multimodal forms of expression, which call on the receiver to process different (visual, aural,
textual) components simultaneously. Because the form of communication itself is more complex,
a new set of interpretative skills and activities are required. The investigation of the potential of
For example, performance artists, architects, engineers and game developers, might all become
involved in the use and study of digital media.
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digital multimedia as a creative, artistic and communicative medium is the fundamental scholarly
and curricular objective of the CDMA.
In addition to fundamental scholarship and creative activities in digital multimedia, the CDMA will
support the investigation of the pedagogical impact of new media. The inclusion of faculty from
the Benerd School of Education as founding members of the CDMA reflects the Center’s
commitment to pedagogical research and to the dissemination of information on the work being
done in the CDMA and best practices in the use of digital media.
The creation of the CDMA is a logical curricular response to the changing demographics of our
student base. Growing up in the midst of the digital revolution, students have been continually
exposed to evolving new media forms in popular culture. This has changed the expectations of
students and the manner in which they best receive and process information. In a recent article
on “clip culture” and the massive growth of video clip sharing sites, Micheal Geist, a Professor at
the University of Ottawa, states, “users are increasingly not satisfied with merely consuming
content, but rather demand the ability to share and re-create it”. As a result, the textbook and
lecture based educational model is no longer meeting the needs of many students. Educators
acknowledge that a widening gap is forming between how students process and receive
information in academic settings and how those same students process information and interact
with their peers in the rest of their daily activities .
As a focal point for the study of digital media at Pacific, the CDMA would allow faculty from a
variety of disciplines to engage in collaborative projects exploring the educational potential of
emerging media. Such collaboration efforts will serve as a model for students who are more
participatory, comfortable with multimodal forms of communication, and skilled in the use of
production tools to develop rich media content. The interactions, the pedagogical experiences,
and the media and art projects that are developed by students in the CDMA program will
influence and resonate with other faculty at Pacific who are confronting similar challenges in
educating today’s Net Generation.
There are a number of existing programs that can serve as a models for the CDMA, including:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication
Michigan State University, Digital Media Art & Technology
University of Denver, Digital Media Studies
Miami University, Center for Interactive Media Studies
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Similar programs have recently been established at schools in our region, including:
CSU Sacramento (Communication Studies: Digital Media specialization)
University of San Francisco (Media Studies: emphasis on journalism + technology)
UC Davis (Technocultural Studies)
CSU East Bay
The following peer institutions do not currently offer an undergraduate degree (major) in this area:
Santa Clara University
University of Redlands
The CDMA Student: This program will positively impact student recruitment and retention at
Pacific because there is evidence of demand among students for interdisciplinary programs,
particularly those that involve technology. The current generation, having grown up in the midst of
dramatic technological change, expects fresh and appropriate use of digital media and is
increasingly interested in participating in the evolution of this discipline.
Currently, students with an interest in interdisciplinary programs involving technology (within a
traditional discipline) often have no other recourse than to pursue a self-defined, self-managed
program. While these efforts can achieve great results (often due to the determination of the
students and the commitment of the faculty involved), they lack the legitimacy of an established
major and make it difficult for faculty interested in expanding such a program to recruit new
students and, thereby, ensure sustainability.
Industries are increasingly looking for new employees to enter with experience in digital media
production coupled with design and critical thinking skills. The hope of the CDMA is to produce
students who are not strictly “artists” or “multimedia technicians” but to introduce a new
generation of hybrid thinkers.
CDMA students will graduate with a unique combination of skills that will serve them in careers in:
graphic design and media production
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the film and music industries
game design and development
digital audio creation and production
user interface design
marketing and advertising
Sustainability: The CDMA will be an enduring asset to the University and the local community.
Rapid technological change is foreseeable in the future, which means that the relevance of the
program will be strong in the near term. In addition to relevancy, funding and student enrollments
will have the most significant impact on the long-term sustainability of the program. Anecdotally,
similar programs have enjoyed robust start-up enrollments and sustained continuing enrollments.
Creation of the CDMA program represents a sizeable financial investment for the University.
Moreover, the CDMA will have on-going funding needs, as described in section 5. In general,
funding will be required for equipment and software refresh as well as adjustments to faculty
compensation and departmental funding. Substantial growth in student enrollment would
necessitate further investment. Planning grant money is requested to analyze enrollment growth
rates of similar programs in our region. The CDMA should be established with the dual goals of
financial self-sufficiency (through tuition, grants, and donations) and technological innovation (by
offering our students and faculty access to top-quality studio/lab equipment and software).
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Convener’s name: Michael Doherty, Associate Professor, Computer Science
Academic programs (departments, schools, units, etc.) that are involved:
Department of Computer Science, School of Engineering and Computer Science
Department of Art, College of the Pacific
Department of English, College of the Pacific
Department of Communications, College of the Pacific
Conservatory of Music
Benerd School of Education
Office of Information Technologies (Educational Technology Services)
Key faculty that are current planner/participants:
Michael Doherty, Computer Science
Jim Phillips, Office of Information Technologies
Bob Coburn, Conservatory of Music
Brett DeBoer, Art, Graphic Design
Eric Sonstroem, English
Ken Day, Communications
Cynthia Hsieh, University Libraries
Heidi Stevenson, School of Education
Sue Eskridge, School of Education
Others who should be involved:
Jennifer Little, Art, Digital Imagery
The Center for Teaching Excellence
Identify young alumni, external professionals, specialists, and other clients or
stakeholders who were engaged: The requested seed money includes funds to engage in
outreach to a broader circle of external stakeholders and to create a base of support in the local
community and region. This would include the creation of an advisory board composed of
industries and businesses with a stake in the quality of our graduates and an interest in
collaborative projects. It would also include the engagement of recent alumni who have gone on
to careers in related industries.
Identify thought leaders within and outside of higher education who were involved:
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3. Activities of the Digital Media Center
The CDMA would function as an independent academic unit, offering a BS degree, engaging in
scholarly and creative activities and offering service to the university. Each of these activities is
described in this section.
Academic Program: The CDMA will develop a curriculum leading to a new major degree. The
CDMA will strive to be a leader in innovative pedagogical approaches, driven by the following
team teaching will be encouraged,
commitment to project-based learning ,
hands-on technical training occurring largely in the studios/labs,
a project-based, senior capstone experience,
experiential learning component that may involve an internship component, and
student-centered curriculum and instructional approaches.
Assessment will be a combination of objective instruments and portfolio-based assessment.
Students will meet with faculty to review the adequacy of the artifacts and reflective statements in
their portfolios at three distinct times during the program (with decision points projected at the end
of the second and third year, and then again upon completion of the capstone experience). The
CDMA curriculum will also be tightly integrated with an e-portfolio assessment program that
brings together artifacts (term papers, presentations, digital media, instructor’s assessments,
video tapes of a student performance, etc.) from completed courses into an organized student
portfolio. The portfolio will serve as a vehicle to allow the student to reflect on their work, revisit
the instructor’s assessments of their work, and revise their previous work. Ancillary materials will
be developed to extend the learning experience and facilitate reuse of the portfolio in multiple,
future contexts. A reflective statement will be required that enables the student to explore
comprehensively how these selected disciplines are related and, more specifically, to consider
the interrelation of the perspectives evident in the collection of artifacts contained in the portfolio.
The curriculum of the CDMA will support and challenge its students to work in ways they learn
best. Both collaborative and individual effort on the part of the CDMA student is encouraged.
Lower level (core) courses will introduce students to the history and cultural context of digital
media, provide a foundation in communication and design theories, and develop student
competencies in multimedia production and programming. Many core courses will be team taught
in an effort to expose students to multiple aspects of the course topic and leverage the diverse
talents and perspectives of the faculty in the CDMA.
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Upper level courses will allow CDMA students to select a particular track for specialization.
Proposed tracks include specializations in computer science, visual arts, and music. Other
required upper level courses will call on students to build on their knowledge of the cultural
implications of digital media, trace the emerging trends, and explore the potential of Web-based
services. The CDMA curriculum will also require a senior capstone experience that allows the
student to engage in an experiential learning project. Interwoven into the CDMA curriculum will be
a series of required technology labs that enable students to acquire a skill set in a variety of
technologies (digital imaging, sound, video production, etc.).
The following is an outline for a possible course sequence, presented here to indicate the sort of
experience that students in the CDMA could expect. The actual curriculum would likely be
expanded in the upper division tracks, to reflect the demand of students and the particular
interests of involved faculty.
Digital Media in Practice: This introductory course would be team taught by all CDMA
faculty, who would introduce their perspectives with examples taken from their own
research. This is intended to open the field, broaden students’ knowledge of current
practice, introduce them to all the faculty involved, and give them a perspective on the
Technological Arts in Context: A study of the history and current practice of the digital
Multi-Modal Communication, Design Theory, and the Man-Machine Interface
Computer Programming I
Year II: Technological Skills classes:
Computer Programming II
MIDI, Digital Audio, and Time-Based Performance (2 semesters)
Mechanical and Electrical Design for Computer Sensing and Interaction
Cultural Implications of Digital Media
Computer Science Programming III
Current Issues Seminar
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Upper Division Tracks: These tracks would include specialized course work and individual project
based instruction leading to a major project as a senior requirement. Each student would select a
track for specialization in the last two years of study.
Digital Media in Computer Programming and Design
Time Based Inter-Media – To include one or two of the following areas:
o Sound and Image
o Inter-active Inter-media Performance
o Distributed, Web-based Performance
o Installation Works – virtual or real space
Scholarly and Creative Activities: The members of the CDMA will conduct inter-disciplinary
research into the development of digital media technologies, the process of digital media creation
and the critique of digital media artifacts. Collaborative research involving students and faculty will
be encouraged. Here are a few possible research areas that are envisioned:
Creation of artwork that explores new concepts based in interactive, time-based art
forms mediated through technology.
Fusion of text, image, audio and animation into new computer-mediated
environments that enhance human/computer interaction.
Enhanced visualization to understand complex systems and relationships through the
application of advanced simulation and video game technologies.
New narrative structures for interactive environments and games.
Computer-mediated social environments and the distributed network.
Structuring narrative text as hypertext.
Evolving use of digital media in journalism.
There are a number of supplemental activities emanating from CDMA projects, which could
greatly benefit the university community. This may include:
Digital collection, presentation, and archiving of university events and/or cultural
artifacts, such as the oral histories of local community members (in conjunction with a
proposed institutional repository).
Educational benefits of rich media and multimodal environments (scholarship of
teaching, perhaps in conjunction with the Center for Teaching and Learning).
Use of digital storytelling for autobiographical assignments in Pacific Seminar III.
Use of technology to promote student engagement (e.g., the Frosh Five Film
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Development and use of e-Portfolios as web-based environments to demonstrate
Service: Through the involvement of Educational Technology Services (ETS) in the Office of
Information Technologies (OIT), the CDMA will provide skilled student labor to support the
development of new media for the University. Specifically, students in the CDMA program will
have the opportunity to earn money as they assist ETS in the development of instructional
materials for faculty across the University (including all Pacific faculty… even for projects
requested by non-CDMA faculty). In addition, CDMA students may elect either as part of a class
project or as the focus of a senior capstone experience to participate in the development of digital
media that directly benefits members of the local community (e.g., digital collection, presentation,
and archiving of oral histories of local community members). Other internships with local
businesses and cultural institutions are also envisioned, eventually involving the Eberhardt
School’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
ETS will offer a Media Specialist to oversee the studio/lab and the CDMA student workers. This
Media Specialist will directly assist faculty and students in the CDMA program. Additionally, the
Media Specialist will oversee the technical details related to projects that CDMA students are
developing for the benefit of the university community and for projects that are completed on
behalf of the broader local community (businesses, cultural institutions, etc.).
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4. Criteria for Evaluation: Value of the CDMA
Links directly to the University’s mission, vision, values, and planning criteria:
A reputation for excellence: The CDMA will build on existing (quality) programs and leverage the
reputation of excellence that is a hallmark of the University of Pacific. The program will remain
faithful to the small class sizes and student-centered pedagogy that have distinguished Pacific as
a premiere institution of higher education in the region.
An orientation to the future -- pioneering, innovative, fresh: Increasingly, institutions nationally are
beginning to implement similar programs, under a variety of names (new media, digital media,
media computing, etc.). The CDMA program will put forward a curriculum that is informed by
similar efforts of these innovative academic institutions, exploring ground-breaking research in
this new discipline and responding to the changing professional opportunities evident in society.
The best of experiential education and practicality -- combined with sound theory: One of the
strengths of the CDMA is that it will produce students who have the computer skills and an
understanding of aesthetic theory (visual communication, art, design) that will make them highly
sought after as both student employees and as graduates. Underpinning the CDMA program is a
fundamental commitment to experiential learning and a desire to place our well-qualified students
into professional experiences that will allow them to excel.
Linkage of liberal and professional studies: This hybrid program will offer a new avenue for
students who possess both creative inclinations and analytical skills. The CDMA melds the critical
thinking skills so essential to a liberal arts education with a professional focus that prepares our
graduates for highly technical careers.
Effective use of technology: Effective use of technology will be pervasive in the CDMA program.
Predictably, the students and faculty involved in this program will test the very limits of Pacific’s
existing technological infrastructure and support applications. They will develop rich media
content, including video, using state of the art hardware and software; they will explore computer-
mediated communication to collaborate with colleagues and classmates; and they will make use
of the distributed network to share their work across PacificNet and beyond.
An international context: Possible collaborations with international organizations, institutions, and
thought leaders are envisioned. The CDMA will not exclusively focus on technological skill sets,
but will view digital media in a broader cultural context that considers how media can be used
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creatively, how it can be evaluated critically, and how it impacts (and is impacted by) the world
An interdisciplinary grounding: By virtue of its core objectives and interdisciplinary nature of its
curriculum, the CDMA program inherently harmonizes theoretical analysis and practical
application of technology. The CDMA endeavors to fuse the practical and analytical thinking skills
of technology with the expressive and critical-thinking skills of the arts and humanities.
Distinctiveness and visibility: Because the discipline itself is in its infancy (globally), the
opportunity presented by a program like CDMA at Pacific is considerable. The CDMA will
establish Pacific as an innovator in an emerging area of study, relying on forward-thinking
approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment. As the program develops, attracting new
students and establishing a track record of career placement, the visibility of the CDMA will
increase. The works produced by the faculty and students will be innovative, engaging, and highly
visible. In addition to taking advantage of traditional venues for exhibition on campus, the CDMA
will explore of new venues for exhibition of its projects, thereby increasing the visibility of Pacific
in the local and global communities.
Recognition of the central importance of relationships and community: The CDMA will forge
meaningful relationships with businesses and cultural institutions in the Stockton community.
These interactions will result in a greater awareness of the function of the University within the
Appeal to current students and alumni: They like what they see, hear, and experience: Clearly,
the American workforce needs graduates who possess both technical and critical thinking skills.
Many students in traditional disciplines desire an opportunity to more deeply engage in an
interdisciplinary field that involves technology.
Feasibility, practicality, realism -- including financially: The CDMA is feasible because an
appropriate mix of enthusiastic faculty already exists on the Stockton campus. The CDMA is
practical because it will attract a new group of students who might otherwise choose to attend
peer institutions who have moved forward in this emerging field. While there are some significant
costs in establishing necessary labs and studios, the benefits are significant enough to justify
Right allocation of resources and fiscal reserves: The world is moving forward in the development
and application of digital media, hence the university should and must move forward in this
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direction as well. The establishment of the CDMA will put in place the appropriate resources and
people to move in this direction efficiently and boldly. Failure to start a program such as the
CDMA will distribute the burden of moving forward among many different schools and
departments, resulting in inefficiency, ineffectiveness and lack of adequate recognition for this
Excitement: There is no question that the field of digital multi-media is exciting and attractive to
both students and the participating faculty. Establishment of the CDMA would serve as a vehicle
for spreading this excitement throughout the campus and beyond.
Increases distinctiveness: The CDMA would increase distinctiveness by positioning Pacific as a
leader in undergraduate education in an emerging area of increasing importance worldwide. The
CDMA’s commitment to innovate pedagogy and interdisciplinary experimentation will ensure that
the program will not only help Pacific to keep pace with peer institutions, but lead the way as the
field of digital media continues to evolve. As with all programs at Pacific, the focus on close
interaction between students and dedicated faculty will ensure that graduates will leave Pacific
and make distinctive marks in many professions.
Builds on current university strengths: As an interdisciplinary program, the CDMA program
will draw on existing faculty expertise in COP, SOECS, the Conservatory and BSE. The CDMA
will also benefit from the university’s history as a pioneer of innovative curriculum and its
commitment to student-centered learning.
Engages a range of stakeholders inside and outside the University: The CDMA’s emphasis
on project-based learning, service learning, and experiential learning will forge new ties with the
local and regional business community. Internally, as students acquire their technical skill set
here at Pacific, they will be uniquely qualified to assist administrative and academic departments
in the development of the university's web-site and other rich media content used for academic
and public relations purposes. The Center will thus infuse the University with a labor force of tech-
savvy, aesthetically-informed students who are able to positively impact one of the institution’s
most critical functions: content production to advance teaching, learning, and scholarship.
Generates new revenue: The CDMA has the potential to generate revenue in four distinct areas:
Tuition: Based on preliminary analysis, the CDMA enjoys strong student interest in the
program. The goal is to have twenty (20) new students in the program by the rollout in
Grants: Faculty and student practice-based research and artistic projects could attract
funding from private and public agencies.
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Donations: Many of the projects that emanate from the Center’s studio/lab will increase
the program’s visibility and lead to donations from the local community. In conjunction
with Pacific’s office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, support will be solicited from
the University’s primary technology vendors (Apple, Dell, etc.). Also, graduates of CDMA
will be able to secure well-paid jobs, which could generate a strong alumni support base.
Project Development: Some of the projects and practice-based research that the CDMA
undertakes will benefit local businesses and will result in fee-for-service revenue. The
CDMA would like to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of the Eberhardt School of
Business Center for Entrepreneurship.
Is assessed or evaluated: As an academic program, the center will be assessed and evaluated
with the same rigor as all University programs. Faculty involved in the CDMA will keep abreast of
the current trends and benchmarks in the discipline and monitor the CDMA’s performance. The
use of portfolio assessment across the CDMA program will also facilitate program evaluation. It is
envisioned that the program would be fully accredited.
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5. Structural and Budget Details
Estimate ongoing costs as high ($500,000+), medium (up to $500,000), or low (<$100,000):
The budget for tha CDMA would fall into the “medium” range (up to $500K). Since the faculty
involved will be drawn from many schools and departments, funds will be required cover some
the courses for which these faculty members are currently responsible. An administrative
assistant will be needed to coordinate activities and cross-departmental interaction of the
program. A multimedia studio/lab, hardware and software for faculty, and stipends for student
workers are also planned expenses. Ongoing training costs and conference travel monies would
be needed on an annual basis to keep faculty informed of current trends and to promote
dissemination of scholarship. Depending on space availability, certain one-time renovation costs
(cabling, electric, etc.) may be incurred to establish the CDMA studio/lab.
Possible sources of revenue include tuition, grants, funding from the local community for projects
completed (in conjunction with the ESB’s Center for Entrepreneurship), and possible revenue
from adult learners who could attend proposed technical workshops required of CDMA students
(in conjunction with the CPCE). Educational Technology Services (ETS) will provide a Media
Specialist to oversee the CDMA multimedia studio/lab. ETS may also be able to provide some
financial support to CDMA student workers working in the lab. The university’s primary computer
vendors, Apple and Dell, may also be interested in supporting the CDMA studio/lab with
equipment. Partnerships with additional industries and organizations that may lead to support
would be pursued as part of the planning process.
Next Steps for Planning:
Request funding (planning grant)
Survey Pacific students (needs analysis)
Identify learning outcomes and determine program assessment plan
Request funding (large scale)
Feasibility study / market analysis
Submit for academic approval
Plan class schedules
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Secure funding (IPC)
Identify and adjust funding for faculty’s home departments (to accommodate
changes in responsibilities)
Begin to advertise program
Publish courses in catalog
Announce class schedules
Purchase equipment and set up studio/lab
Begin CDMA program for existing, available students
Intensive recruiting for CDMA start up in following year
Begin CDMA Program for incoming class of recruits
Short-term unmet needs and costs for further planning (i.e., request for planning grant):
Short-term planning grant funding is requested to pursue the following initiatives:
Market and feasibility analysis to determine competition and student demand regionally.
Promotions to establish ties with stakeholders in the community and determine support.
Stipends and administrative costs to prepare for implementation.
Travel funding to explore peer institutions and attend conferences on best practices.
Web site development costs to begin an information hub for CDMA planning and