Changes coming to the College of Music and Fine Arts


Christian Riley

Current computer labs in the Loyola School of Mass Communication. Christian Riley/ The Maroon

Erin Snodgrass

While the university works to balance the budget and maintain retention, the College of Music and Fine Arts is on the brink of some major changes.

Increased Major Fees

At a university budget committee Oct. 1, the committee unanimously passed a motion made by Kern Maass, dean of the College of Music and Fine Arts, to increase the college’s major fees to $250 per student per year.

Last year, the School of Mass Communication was realigned under the College of Music and Fine Arts, making the college a three-school model. The new structure of the college will include a school that houses mass communication, design, art and film; a school of music that will also be home to theatre and dance; and a music industry school. The new names for these schools are expected to be released in February, according to Maass.

The new fee policy will affect programs merging with schools that already have fees, as well as those that don’t, including art, design, and theatre and dance. However, the course fees for those programs will now be encompassed by the major fees.

Maass said he proposed the increase in fees in order to balance the inconsistency that results from varying major and course fees and to help facilitate fair budgeting among the schools.

Current major fees range from $100 per semester for communications to $200 for music and film majors.

“It was really hard to have parity for who was getting what, so this makes it so much easier and consistent across the board,” Maass said.

These updated fees will be put into place starting next fall, according to Maass.


Laptop Requirement

At the meeting, it was proposed that all mass communication, digital filmmaking, and design and art students be required to have their own laptop computers upon entering their first courses.

The committee voted unanimously to approve the concept of the proposal before specific details of implementation, according to the committee’s minutes.

However, Sonya Duhe, director of the School of Mass Communication, said the proposal is in its recommendation period for fall 2019, meaning incoming freshmen would only be encouraged to follow the laptop guidelines. Duhe said the requirement would hopefully be phased in for the fall of 2020. The requirement will affect 395 students, according to the minutes.

Every three years the computers in the labs are updated with the latest software for programs like Layout and InDesign. The laptop requirement would allow funds to be directed toward maintaining only two computer labs with the highest-powered equipment, instead of the ten labs that are currently maintained across all the majors, according to the senate minutes.

“Our labs are equipped with higher-end computers that are truly cost-prohibitive. We may have a few of those, but we don’t need one for every person,” Duhe said.

However, Maass said it is likely that more than two labs will continue to be kept up-to-date with the most recent and effective hardware.

According to both Duhe and Maass, most students are already coming into college with a laptop and parents of incoming students often ask what types of laptops professors recommend for a typical course load.

“We also know students like to do work in their dorms,” Duhe said.

The laptops students bring would need to be equipped with the proper hardware and programming ability to facilitate certain classes and projects. The tech committees are in the process of working on a list of recommendations and requirements for laptops in each department, which should be done by late March or April.

“Oftentimes students will get a graduation gift from their parents and it might be a laptop for them to take to college. And maybe they won’t even purchase it until right before they go to college,” Duhe said.

For students concerned about the increased cost of bringing the proper laptop, Duhe said once the laptops are a requirement, they will be covered under student loans and Parent PLUS loans, as well as potentially being included as part of a financial aid package.

“We know that computers break, and there may be some for whom this would be a major struggle financially, so we would probably look at having some that could be loaners,” Duhe said.


Name and Layout Update

Among the changes soon going into effect, starting in February, the three schools, as well as the College of Music and Fine Arts, will have new names, according to Maass. He said he was unable to release those new names at this time.

“The school names were done 90 percent of the work at the college level, and then we took those names to academic affairs and the president and we made final decisions,” Maass said.

Maass said he also spoke with student advisory committees about the names before winter break.

“It’s really critical that our internal stakeholders, meaning our students and graduates, hear about the name before it goes out to the world. We want to make sure that our graduates and alum see this move as a very positive move,” Duhe said.

One of the major changes for the current School of Mass Communication is that the journalism, advertising and public relations sequences have been changed to departments.

“Students’ degrees will stay the same. Their degrees will not change,” Duhe said. “This really is an opportunity for synergies between majors and courses and to grow the opportunities that we offer in the school.”