Introduction to Film Aesthetics and Analysis Named an Outstanding, Innovative Undergraduate Course

Introduction to Film Aesthetics and Analysis, one of the longest continuously running courses in the Roy H. Park School of Communications (since 1968), has been named an outstanding, innovative undergraduate introductory media studies course as part of a Mellon Foundation funded benchmarking project housed at Hobart and William Smith College.

The tutors program for this course, instituted three years ago and headed by Associate Dean Bryan Roberts, was also identified as an exemplary and highly effective support system for an introductory media course with a humanities and academic skill building orientation. The report noted the tutor program for an introductory liberal arts course like this in a communications school is unique and represents the leading edge in the field of communications.

Patricia Zimmermann, professor of screen studies, Andrew Utterson, assistant professor of screen studies, and Claudia Pederson, assistant professor of screen studies, designed the syllabi and taught the version of the course that received this recognition. They collaborate with Associate Dean Bryan Roberts in organizing the tutor program to assist students.

The Hobart and William Smith Colleges project is assessing best practices for syllabi construction, assessment, and teaching introductory film and media courses. The report noted the blend of traditional and innovative design with a focus on student academic success.

Assessing introductory media courses across the country for best practices, the research team identified Introduction to Film Aesthetics and Analysis as "one of the top compelling introductory media courses based on a disciplinary based structure; student centered focus; academic skill building; and offering original ways of constructing assessments and rubrics that propel student transitions to college and future academic success, based on establishing solid academic skills."

"Our extensive research leads us to believe your Introduction to Film Aesthetics and Analysis course is an outstanding exemplar of imaginative, innovative, rigorous undergraduate teaching. " The report noted that Introduction to Film Aesthetics and Analysis has secured a national reputation for course design and exemplary teaching skills, as well as modeling and leading the field in how to effectively team teach courses within discipline-focused yet cutting edge pedagogy ad design.

"In the discipline of screen studies, your course and the Park School's commitment to both conforming to yet expanding the model of intro courses in our field is highly recognized. It is our understanding that this particular course has been team taught for over three decades, modeling interdisciplinarity and mentoring structures," the report noted.