Student Life Becomes Student Engagement, Center for Creative Media Studies Begins Spring 2021


Olivia Fortner

Clifton Puckett, Co-curricular and Transitions Coordinator, works in what will be the Center for Creative Media Studies.

The Student Life Department on all campuses has been included in budget cuts enforced by the USG this summer. What students know as “Student Life” is being dissolved, but something new is coming.

Faculty and staff are working to give students a fun but valuable experience. The new Student Engagement Department will not only involve students in college life, it is providing ways to relate student’s interests to what they’re learning in class.

“The goal is to have the fun activity but bring in more of the co-curricular activities,” said Jennifer Hicks, director of academic success.

This can help build educational value but be relevant to what students are learning. The activities will relate more to individual pathways.

Hicks said, “Where we’re moving as an institution is toward a student success model.”

Former student life director for the Cartersville campus, Clifton Puckett, has been hired as the co-curricular and transitions coordinator to lead in this new endeavor.

Student Engagement sponsored the 50th anniversary celebration on the Floyd campus. There are virtual workshops and other online resources being made available for students and more to come when everyone is back on campus.

Physical changes are being made on the Floyd campus in what is formerly known as the Student Life Office suite. This area is currently being renovated to make way for a new Center for Creative Media Studies, a program that is anticipated to launch in spring of 2021.

The Center for Creative Media Studies grew out of an idea that assistant professor of journalism and communication, Allison Hattaway, originally pitched to the Dean of Humanities, Jon Hershey, earlier this fall. In an ongoing collaboration with Seth Ingram, department chair of film studies, Hattaway and Ingram have proposed the Center for Creative Media studies as a way of providing access and exposure for GHC students to collaborate creatively in a learning environment that will better prepare them for careers in a global media industry.

“We’ve had overwhelming support from administration and are now working with our partners in Student Engagement and the School of Humanities to organize technological resources and media art training with an emphasis on film, tv, theatre, art and journalism,” said Hattaway.

“Basically, we want the CCMS to be a place where students can come together to be a part of something bigger than themselves and to have an opportunity to implement what they learn in class — it will encourage a hands on work environment for film editing, production, writing, layout and design, podcast production and more. We plan to pull in community partners from local areas so that students have networking opportunities, may participate in mock interviews and begin building a professional portfolio of work samples during their time at GHC,” said Hattaway.

Allen Dutch, Division Chair of Humanities, has a background in media and mass communication.

“I’m really excited about getting students in to do things like podcasts and film making. Theory is good, but you need to get your hands on the programs. Being able to do and create media, that’s the most important part,” Dutch said. “I’m hoping it’s going to provide us a place where students interested in media production can gather together and have an experience.”

Dutch anticipates this center will help students after college.

Dutch said, “When they get a job, they have to have experience. You need to be able to express yourself in different technologies and across multiple platforms.”

This is what is called media convergence in the communications world. Whether it’s podcasts, film or other communications outlets, this CCMS can be used to gain that media convergence experience.

The Six Mile Post and its sister production, “The Student Spin,” will be moving their offices into the lobby area of what was once known as the Student Life office suite. Hattaway will be relocating to John Spranza’s former office and Ingram will move into Hattaway’s former office while taking over the former Six Mile Post office for a film studies classroom space.

“For a while, it’s going to feel a little like ‘apple cart turnover’ as we all relocate and the space is modernized,” said Hattaway, “However, when it’s done, we hope it will be a highlight of the campus and an attractive program for current and future GHC students.”

During a time of budget cuts, campus renovations and new programs might raise a few eyebrows.

“We’re trying to do as much as we can with the space and resources we already have,” said Hattaway, “Essentially, we’re going to see what a new coat of paint, carpet and moving furniture can do first. Eventually, we hope to look into outside grants and funding sources to continue to grow the program.”