Two new arts-oriented applied degree programs are being proposed by Red Deer College to broaden student learning opportunities in Central Alberta.
Students could register for a Bachelor of Applied Animation and Visual Effects program or a Bachelor of Applied Film, Theatre and Live Entertainment program if these two proposals are approved by Alberta Advanced Education.
All four years of both programs would be offered at RDC, and the latter would replace the college’s existing Theatre Studies courses for production and acting.
Jason Frizzell, Dean of the RDC’s School of Creative Arts, hopes to get these programs started in the fall of 2018.
The college intends to submit the proposals by the end of this year, but Frizzell doesn’t know when a provincial decision will be made.
He expressed confidence in the proposals, however, saying “we’ve spent a lot of time developing them, and we’ve had a lot of stakeholder involvement” — gathering input from current and future students, high schools and people in the entertainment industry.
The college found very few opportunities in Alberta for students to learn about film animation and visual effects.
Although RDC has an existing two-year program in theatre and a bachelor of applied arts degree program in motion picture arts (it’s also two years, but requires students to have first obtained a two-year diploma in theatre studies or another field), not all students choose to take both programs, which operate separately.
According to industry professionals, providing integrated training for both stage and screen would leave students more versatile and employable, said Frizzell.
Since the new applied degrees are proposed, RDC will have to suspend accepting new students into the Theatre Studies production and acting programs in the fall of 2017. Frizzell said current theatre students will be able to complete their programs, and will still have the option of transitioning into the existing Motion Picture Arts program.
The MPA program would be phased out a few years after the new combined Theatre, Film and Live Entertainment program is running, said Frizzell. (He noted “entertainment” was added to the title because production students would be qualified to seek work on sporting events or live concerts.)
If the new animation program is approved, students would take some of the same classes as Visual Arts students. And Frizzell believes opportunities for collaboration would also opened with music students on the composition of film scores. “We’re trying to take advantage of our existing collective strengths.”
RDC is still pursuing getting polytechnic university status from the province. Frizzell believes the new applied degree programs would be a good fit, either way.