PUC Offers Unique Film and Theater Studies A.S.

By Katelynn Christensen on June 28, 2011

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Pacific Union College students are now able to combine two creative fields, the stage and the screen, into one degree with the associate’s in film and theater studies.* The range of interdisciplinary coursework now available to PUC students through this program is sufficient to stand alone as the foundation of a career or to supplement any four-year degree.

The new joint degree is the only one of its kind within the Seventh-day Adventist system and is a rare find in higher education at large.

“We’re very, very excited about this new A.S. degree,” says Rodney Vance, director of the film and television program. “It provides an opportunity for students who have a strong interest in [the areas of film and theater] to get strong training that will benefit them no matter what career they choose.”

In addition to a core curriculum that offers exposure to film production, theater, and writing, the degree features three emphases to suit diverse student goals. “We felt there was much to be gained by combining our two programs since our film students need experience working with actors, and our drama students need more experience with the technical side of production,” says English department chair Cynthia Westerbeck. “An interdisciplinary program offers students a wider range of faculty and learning experiences.”

Students with a primary interest in acting may select an emphasis in performance. This track includes courses like voice and speech, movement, and Shakespeare in performance. Such training is valuable for those pursuing a career in front of the camera or involvement in community theater. It also provides a useful dimension of training for students pursuing PUC’s bachelor’s degree in film and television.

Those interested in a production-oriented curriculum may choose the technical emphasis. This specialization includes coursework in sound design, editing, cinematography, and marketing and distribution. It provides a basis for entry-level work in technical and production assisting. The emphasis also provides skills useful to students preparing for a career utilizing media, such as journalism or public relations.

Students wishing to focus on the use of language to relate stories may opt for the narrative/writing emphasis. This curriculum involves classes such as short script writing, screenwriting, Bay Area theater, and film history. This track is an opportunity for students to develop their writing and storytelling abilities.

*Pending WASC approval.