An arsenal of high-end video and photo equipment, two light-controlled studios, a soundproofed podcast studio, two editing suites, a writer’s room and 24 powerful Mac Pro work stations. These are just some of the features that JWU’s new Center for Media Production has to offer.
L TO R: ASSOC. PROFESSOR EVAN VILLARI; VICE CHANCELLOR JOSEPH GREENE ’89, ’98 MS, CPA; PROVIDENCE CAMPUS PRESIDENT MARIE BERNARDO-SOUSA, LP.D., ’92; PROVOST BILLYE AUCLAIR, PH.D.; DEAN MICHAEL FEIN.
On October 4, JWU held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the new space, inviting over 75 people from the JWU community, Channel 10 News and other local organizations. Speakers included:
- Michael Fein, dean of the John Hazen White College of Arts & Sciences
- Marie Bernardo-Sousa, LP.D., ’92, President, Providence Campus
- Evan Villari, associate professor and director of the Center for Media Production
- Grace Ducasse ’20, president of the JWU Media Production Club
“Media is changing every day, and it is our responsibility to stay ahead and deliver a high quality, hands-on education,” said President Bernardo-Sousa. “We now have a foundation on which to build the Media & Communication Studies (MCST) program, develop the skills of our students, and position them for success in any aspect of the industry they choose to pursue.”
The space is just as versatile as the program itself. Moveable green screens and blackout curtains can provide one large studio space or two smaller individual spaces. Light-controllable shades on the windows provide options for lighting. The 4k projector and projection screen are perfect for classroom presentations or screening films. In fact, the Center already hosted screenings for the Rhode Island International Film Festival during the summer.
“It is important to note that this Center is not just for Media & Communication Studies students,” said Fein. “It supports the learning and interests of students across our academic sphere, making it an interdisciplinary space.”
From the beginning, the Center was always meant to be a place where any student, faculty or staff member can learn, create and collaborate. Everyone in the JWU community can access the space, and it provides the resources for all manner of projects.
“Our Center functions as a classroom, learning laboratory and meeting space,” said Villari. He now serves as director of the Center and was instrumental in conceiving and executing the plans to create it. Each area was thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of students throughout their course work, including the writer’s room for drafting ideas, the editing suites that are perfect for group work and the increased number of Mac Pro computers to ensure that every student has a work station during class.
“The most beneficial thing is all the different spaces the Center offers,” said Sydney Ferreras ’21. “When you’re in an actual studio you feel more professional and more idea-driven.”
Other students agreed that having a place on campus that is dedicated to media production has changed the way they learn and work.
The Center for Media Production gives me the chance to find my voice.”
“The Center for Media Production gives me the chance to find my voice,” Ducasse said. “Open lab times allow me to use the equipment outside of a classroom setting, in a space where I can mess up, make mistakes and try new things. This Center gives all students the chance to improve their skills and reach for the stars.”
Ducasse presented a video message from local news anchors congratulating JWU on its new Center for Media Production.
Alumni also attended the ceremony to witness the beginning of a new era for the MCST program.
“I’m a little jealous that the Center wasn’t here when I was a student, but as an alumnus I still have access to it,” said Will Conner ’19. As a recent graduate of the MCST program, he hopes to see future students use the space to its full potential.
“JWU is doing things that connect their students with the community, and I want students working in this space to be doing projects for the community,” Conner said. “That’s what employers are looking for — they want to see that students care, have experience beyond course work and are actually solving real problems. That is what I hope for with this new space.”