Associate Professor Brooke Knight is aiming to reach a number of goals after he begins his post as interim chair of the Department of Visual and Media Arts on August 26. He is expected to hold the position for one year.
Knight takes over for Jonathan Wacks, who stepped down from the position in the spring.
“We’ve had tremendous success with VMA in general. The department is growing every year,” said Knight, who has worked in Emerson’s largest academic department since 2002. “The biggest part of that growth is in film and film-related areas like cinematography. We also have terrific faculty and students in audio, animation and motion graphics, photography, and other areas that may not be as well known as film and screenwriting are to the larger world.”
Knight’s professional background is in interactive artwork, which ranges from designing websites to creating games and mobile applications.
“The skills I teach are widely applicable,” said Knight, who plans to take on a smaller course load but expects to teach a class in advanced interactive media.
Knight’s interactive work is currently centered on surveillance, webcams, and remote control, and the relationship between text and landscape. His work has been shown in more than 40 exhibitions and festivals, according to his biography.
Knight said one of VMA’s goals for the academic year is to broaden the range of courses available to students by moving from the current 13 “specializations” to a single “common degree audit” system for media production students, which will require changes in advising, admissions, and course rosters that are currently being determined.
“For example, instead of saying you have to take Introduction to Film specifically, it will say you have to take an introduction to production class, which could be Introduction to Film, or it could be Introduction to Interactive Media, or some other introductory level class,” Knight said. “Rather than focusing solely on one area, students will have a chance to work across media, while still achieving the depth in a production area they want.”
Knight would also like to create new mentoring opportunities for faculty, including adjunct faculty, assistant professors, and term faculty, “to give them the best opportunity to succeed and thrive at Emerson,” he said.
Focusing on diversity and inclusion issues within the department is another goal.
“That’s critically important to what we do here at Emerson,” he said. “I think Emerson is paying really good attention to issues of diversity and inclusion and I plan to take part in helping that continue.”