CMA gets its own school
Planning begins for new cinema and media arts building. | Thecla Li/THE CHIMES
Biola will launch the school of Cinema and Media Arts to expand the department and curriculum offerings on July 1, 2018, with the building’s target opening in 2022.
After the Board of Trustees expressed interest in opening the school last year, dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication Jonathan Puls began forming teams to craft a business plan. Establishing a new CMA school will involve curriculum expansion and an increased amount of class offerings. This will require additional faculty, including a new dean. The process of looking for new faculty and staff will continue until the school opens.
As a part of the plan, Biola will fundraise to reach the projected cost of $60 million. A donor from the Lindsey Family Foundation, who has also donated to the CMA program the past five years, contributed the first $4 million to kick-start it.
“Biola will make some contribution to the plan… from its resources, like it did for the Science, Technology and Health [building], and the final number will be determined with how fundraising goes. Biola is looking to invest significantly in the area,” Puls said.
The CMA building will be located on Biola Avenue, next to the newly-built science building and across from the Crowell business building, with a plaza in the center, which all three will share when complete.
“We’ve done some preliminary work, and it occupies one space that was designated on the master plan for the Fine Arts and Communication area back in the day,” Puls said.
The space, including the Twenties building, the Duplication Center and Perez Hall, will be cleared out for the CMA school. The buildings currently house faculty for the journalism, public relations, CMA, and fine arts and communication departments. Administration has not yet decided where to relocate affected faculty members once demolition begins.
“We’re going to work with Brian Phillips and facility services to come up with a relocation plan… We’re working on several possibilities right now to do that,” Puls said.
Department relocations up in the air
While this project will mostly affect future students, current Biola students remain excited for the prospect of the new CMA school.
“I think it’s going to be really cool,” said Sophie Butler, sophomore cinema and media arts major. “By making the new building… it will up the ranks of our film program. I’m excited for it!”
Current CMA students are also excited for the new curriculum, including senior cinema and media arts major Calen Coates who sees it as a way for the department to grow.
“I am excited for curriculum expansion, since that’s been a difficult area for CMA,” Coates said. “I’m really excited to see where the school is going to go… [it's] a great step forward for the department.”
Puls sees this as an excellent opportunity to grow the department and establish Biola’s CMA school within the top ranks alongside industry-leading neighbors, such as University of Southern California and Chapman University, who have well-known film programs. With biblical integration, excellent faculty and an ideal location, Biola’s Cinema and Media Arts School has the potential to become world-renowned, according to Puls.
“We hope to be an international destination… You can come from Indonesia and be 24 miles away from Hollywood and be studying with faculty who love Jesus and are committed to deep integration,” Puls said.