Want to be a filmmaker or game designer? WSU now has a degree for that

Aspiring filmmakers, video game designers and sound engineers will have the opportunity to study media arts at Wichita State University this fall.

The Kansas Board of Regents approved the university’s new bachelor of applied arts in media arts degree last week.

The degree, developed by WSU’s College of Fine Arts and Elliott School of Communication, is one of a handful of its kind across the nation, said Justin Rorabaugh, director of educational outreach in fine arts.

To make the degree possible, the college will take over the Bethany College at MindFire Academy production studios, 3805 E. Harry, on July 1. The facility will be renamed Shocker Studio.

Bethany College at MindFire will relocate to its main campus in Lindsborg with new labs and facilities, according to its website. The college offers a bachelor of arts degree in 3D computer animation and video game design.

The WSU degree courses, which will be taught on both the main campus and at Shocker Studio, merge arts, science and technology. Students can specialize in one of the university’s technical and creative tracks: animation, audio production, game design or filmmaking.

“A lot of times, programs of this nature are coast-specific, and a lot of times, it’s because the industry happens on those coasts,” Rorabaugh said. “There’s not a lot of these types of programs in the Midwest.

“We did a snapshot one day of jobs on the I-35 corridor. On one given day, we found 600 positions that were open related to these four tracks.”

Rorabaugh said WSU found a distinct need for this type of arts degree, and students have been asking for it for several years.

“One of the more unique features is it is in applied arts,” Rorabaugh said. “It has a vocational track to it, so it’s really designed to be a hands-on degree in these fields.”

The classes will be taught by current WSU faculty, along with new adjunct instructors who are industry professionals.

The degree will include 30 hours of general education, 21 hours of media arts core courses, 54 hours of discipline-specific courses and 15 hours of guided electives.

It focuses on applied learning and interdisciplinary collaboration, which are two of the core principles in the WSU Strategic Plan.

“I’m personally excited because I see this being a huge step into the future of the College of Fine Arts for Wichita State University, and it really embraces what we’re doing here at WSU,” Rorabaugh said.

“The collaboration and innovation is propelling our students forward.”