Asbury Rolls Out New Master's Degree

WILMORE, Ky. — Asbury University’s internationally-acclaimed School of Communication Arts is rolling out a new master’s degree program that unites the ability to tell compelling, high-impact stories with the latest in communication strategies and technology.

Students in the Master of Arts program will have access to Asbury's state-of-the-art Miller Center for Communication Arts.
Students in the Master of Arts program will have access to Asbury's state-of-the-art Miller Center for Communication Arts.

Beginning with the Fall 2013 semester, Asbury’s Master of Arts in Communication: Digital Storytelling program will equip creative thinkers with the philosophical background and tools to use narrative as a way of sharing and interpreting experience, creating community, engaging culture and generating universal understanding. Faculty with high-profile industry experience will share not only the theoretical principles of communication and Biblical engagement, but will also speak from personal experience about the role of faith and the power of stories in culture.

“Asbury’s top-class media faculty are uniquely qualified academically and professionally,” said Dr. Don Simmons, director of graduate communication studies. “Our faculty have distinguished academic credentials and have received recognition for their work in the media industry. Not only do they teach, but faculty also use students in professional projects. Students receive hands-on training that is practical and relevant to their future endeavors.”

Using a blended format of online and on-campus classes, the program includes a two- to four-week session on campus for students who do not hold an undergraduate media degree. All students will take online classes and complete an apprenticeship to further their experience in creating, producing, telling and interpreting stories.

A few of the distinctives of Asbury’s Master of Arts in Communication: Digital Storytelling include:

  • The program goes beyond learning to exchange information, it focuses on how to write more powerful stories and use narrative principles and digital tools to communicate meaning.
  • Students will review and analyze media messages in light of a Biblical worldview to be prepared to engage and transform culture.
  • Students can complete the degree at a pace that fits their personal and employment obligations. For students working full time as media professionals, it is possible for some work projects to fulfill course requirements (dependent on faculty approval).

This graduate program builds on the successes and international recognition that Asbury’s School of Communication Arts has achieved through years of innovative, disciplined work.

Graduate students at Asbury will learn to shape and share compelling stories through a variety of media.
Graduate students at Asbury will learn to shape and share compelling stories through a variety of media.

In 1983, Asbury media students began traveling all over the world to work on projects for non-profit organizations. To date, official departmental projects have taken students to nearly 50 countries. Since 1984, more than 600 Asbury communication students have been part of the paid broadcast crew of 11 different Olympics. Students have travelled all over the world working for NBC, European Broadcast Union, BBC and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Asbury communication students have also won more than 300 regional, national and international awards for their work, including seven student Emmy Awards in the past six years.

Asbury’s state-of-the-art Miller Center for Communication Arts brings together different disciplines in communications — print, radio, film, drama, audio technology — under one roof to foster a collaborative approach to storytelling. Memorabilia from hundreds of studio-produced films, television shows and events line the walls of the building, offering visual inspiration and a reminder of the network of Asburians already impacting the industry. From fully equipped video edit bays to a multi-camera television studio with the largest green screen in the region, the tools are in place for students to fully realize their creative potential.

“Storytelling has been and continues to be the most basic and most powerful form of human expression because story transports us into other realms through our imagination,” Simmons said. “Story is relevant today because that is how we organize our experiences and how we make sense of what happens to us and others. So, stories define who we are and give meaning to what we are experiencing and observing. That is why we react to the stories we hear and why stories influence our behavior.”

There are two graduate assistantships available. For more information, or to read course descriptions and FAQs, visit the Masters in Communication: Digital Storytelling pages here.

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