New photography minor develops appeal across disciplines

The SUNY Oswego art department this fall rolled out a new minor in photography, a popular medium with students across campus but now offering serious practitioners a 21-credit focus.

“For students majoring in journalism and graphic design, in particular, this allows them to list the minor on their resumes,” said Cynthia Clabough, art department professor and chair. “So even though they could have done all this study before, it allows an employer or graduate school to see they were focused and dedicated.”

Clabough expects others to declare photo minors from other programs such as cinema and screen studies, technology education and theatre. She expects the minor to attract 12 or more students a year.

Although the photo minor’s coursework is within the art department, Clabough cites faculty strength—starting with the minor’s coordinator, associate professor Julieve Jubin—on the commercial, technical and production sides, as well as the creative and artistic.

“Julieve Jubin is an internationally known photographer,” Clabough said. “She has exhibited around the country and in Europe. She’s doing a photo journalism class this semester where she’s taking students to Cuba over winter break.”

Paul Pearce, a longtime adjunct faculty member and award-winning photographer, brings skills on the technical, production and aesthetic sides, she added.

Besides courses such as Jubin’s study-travel option, the art department has added a history of photography course that minors must take and others in the art department may elect. Those are atop core courses already offered such as introductory, intermediate and advanced digital photography.

Alumni inspiration

Clabough said alumni working in photography throughout the region helped motivate the creation of a photo minor.

“The distinction gives the students just that little extra bit of confidence they may need, and certainly gives the employers more confidence, too,” she said.

The photo minor is the latest among a number of minors related to the art department that have strong interdisciplinary interest and cooperation: arts management, museum studies, expressive art therapy and audio design and production.

“So this is in that tradition,” Clabough said. “We don’t always call these courses interdisciplinary, but it does show cooperation. That interdepartmental, inter-area cooperation, we do well here at Oswego. That’s key. It’s key to what our departments have been willing to invest in.”

While the photo minor and its appeal across academic departments may seem emblematic of the direction in which the School of Communication, Media and the Arts is moving, Clabough said that perhaps, it’s the other way around.

“Some of the minors pre-exist the forming of the school and in a way helped plant the seed of the idea for forming the school,” she said.

The National Association of Schools of Design accredits the art department. The initial NASD assessment for the photography minor will be in the 2015-16 academic year, according to Jubin’s proposal for the minor.

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(Posted: Oct 05, 2011)

Tags: vitality, photography, art