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New CHASS collaboration will expand student resources for film making

By Hannah Croft, Student Writer/CHASS Marketing and Communications |

The department of Media and Cultural Studies (MCS) has partnered with the Theatre, Film and Digital Production (TFDP) department to create a multi-use space for undergraduate and graduate students. 

Located in INTS 2117, the room will double as both a laboratory and classroom, providing computers, editing software and other equipment for students while simultaneously allowing instructors to critique, teach and edit alongside students. The room will also have access to the Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, which focuses on cultural heritage preservation and allows students access to large amounts of digitized texts.

“Students still needed a teaching space and also a film editing bay, both for undergraduates and graduate students who are already working with faculty on film making,” said Milagros Peña, UC Riverside’s Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. “This area is an opportunity for students to develop real skillsets around making film. Hopefully by doubling the classrooms of this sort, we’ll be able to double the amount of courses in these fields that are being offered...and further the potential with digital humanities.” 

The interdisciplinary classroom is going to contain a big space for classes to teach film and media, according to Dr. Erith Jaffe-Berg, professor of TFDP. Each student’s seat will have a computer, software and materials that allows students to work on film projects. There will also be a main console for instructors of the course, and a way for instructor to interface with students at their various consoles. 

“The idea is for a real multimedia classroom that is actually also a laboratory,” said Jaffe-Berg, “that allows for working on filming and editing the material on their computer while their instructor is able to oversee and guide them in their process... not only by walking around but by seeing their progress and being able to interface from his or her own computer as well.”

Students are also excited about the new space. “A lot of the big software is expensive, and I can’t always have access to it, so being able to have somewhere on campus to be able to use is going to be really beneficial,” said student JD Figone, a film major. “To have a class where I can have my own computer and I can have direct help from the professor with the work that I’m doing is the perfect learning environment. With more classes and more opportunities for students to be exposed to it, I think it will really help grow the image of the department.”

CHASS discovered a partnership between departments was ideal for serving UCR’s growing student population. Since MCS and TFDP are growing at such a rapid rate, the interdisciplinary classroom will be more equipped to handle the long-term growth and help further the careers of our students. The room is not yet available to students, however, Dean Peña is hopeful to having the room available to students as quickly as possible. There is the possibility that the creation of this shared space will also lead to future cross departmental collaborations within CHASS. 

“We’re hoping to create programs that are unique in what they offer students,” said Jaffe-Berg, “and then create material that really speaks about the diversity of our population, and some of these diverse life perspectives that our students bring to our campus and beyond.”