LAS VEGAS, NM ― New Mexico Highlands University will begin offering a Master of Fine Arts degree in Media Arts and Cultural Technology, making it the first university in the state to offer this kind of degree.
Applications for the Highlands MFA in media arts and cultural technology degree will be available on the Highlands University website at www.nmhu.edu in December 2018.
The Higher Learning Commission and the New Mexico Higher Education Department both approved the proposal for the new MFA from the Highlands Media Arts and Technology Department. It will be the university’s only terminal degree, the highest degree awarded in a field.
“This exciting MFA program will lead to a terminal degree focused on a constantly evolving field at the intersection of digital media, computer networks, and cultural and scientific content,” said Miriam Langer, media arts and technology department chair. “The degree will put our students at the forefront of developing tools, pushing boundaries, and engaging proactively with emerging media in cultural technology.”
Langer said the MFA degree will make its graduates more attractive to employers including those in higher education.
“The students will develop proficiencies not just in best practices, they will also be taking a leadership role in creating new knowledge in this constantly evolving field of cultural technology. Because this is a terminal degree, graduates will be eligible to apply for faculty positions at colleges and universities,” Langer said.
The 60-credit hour MFA degree will replace and build upon the Master of Arts degree in media arts and technology at Highlands. The new MFA is a two-and-a-half year program.
“Our program in media arts and technology is quite simply one of our best,” said Highlands University President Sam Minner. “We have great faculty in that program, a state-of-the-art building, and top students who get wonderful and interesting jobs upon graduation.
“Now, we will begin a new degree in that discipline – the MFA – and that will add to the energy already existing in media arts. I have no doubt that our new MFA program will be very strong in the state, regionally, and nationally. I thank the faculty who made this happen,” Minner said.
Langer said New Mexico will also benefit from the new MFA program.
“New Mexico is culturally rich, and is a destination for people across the globe,” Langer said. “Over the last 15 years, our media arts students have made significant contributions to cultural institutions statewide working with museums to develop new methods for audience engagement, ranging from documentary videos to interactive exhibits and mobile apps.
“This MFA is a unique degree because it’s a continuation of our longstanding partnership with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. All MFA students will complete a paid cultural technology internship and participate in our one-of-a-kind Program for Interactive Cultural Technology, PICT, which has collaborated with state cultural institutions like the Coronado Historic State,” Langer said.
She said the MFA will attract students to Highlands who want to focus their graduate degree upon working with cultural materials.
“They’ll learn exciting new ways to research and share New Mexico’s cultural heritage using ever-changing technology,” Langer said.
Langer said media arts and technology’s new facility in the McCaffrey Historic Trolley Building strengthened the university’s proposal with the Higher Learning Commission.
“Our cutting-edge facility demonstrates that Highlands provides our students with all the technology tools needed to explore, dream, create and innovate,” Langer said.
The Media Arts and Technology Department offers Bachelor of Arts degrees and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, with concentrations in visual communications, video production, and interactivity and multimedia. It also offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in software systems design.