Emerson’s LA Center will offer new summer courses

by Hunter Harris / Beacon Staff • April 3, 2014

Emerson Los Angeles is expanding its current course offerings for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students, according to Michaele Whelan, chief academic officer. This summer, the campus will offer classes for working professionals and graduates in makeup design, social media, and entertainment law, and specifically for undergraduates, a magazine publishing class.

According to the Emerson Los Angeles website, three professional studies courses will be available to people with a high school diploma or GED, and do not require enrollment in a formal degree program at the college.

“The purpose [of course offerings for professionals] is to engage alumni and the community,” Whelan wrote in an email to the Beacon. “Adult learners are a growing demographic.”

The Entertainment Law Exposed course will be held in the evening from May 21 through August 6, and is directed toward entertainment industry professionals, college graduates, and current students. 

According to its description online, the non-credit course will explore the specifics of legal principles and contractual relationships that are common in the film and television industries. It also plans on covering rights agreements, film finance and distribution deals, and purchase agreements, among other legal concepts.

“It’s a summer experiment,” said Kevin Bright, founding director of the Los Angeles center, in a phone interview. “It’s to give students a clearer picture of exactly how the business works. We’re not going to become a law school.” 

Senior visual and media arts student Joseph Awgul said he sees this course as a good step for the school’s film and television production programs.

“It’s really important for VMA students, like myself, to understand the business and legal sides to the work they are doing,” he said. “I graduate at the end of the summer, and if the course doesn’t conflict with any work I’ll hopefully have, I’d absolutely be interested in taking it.”  

The Fundamentals of Makeup Artistry, a one-week intensive course, will be offered in two sections in July and August. The Hollywood Social Marketing Summit will only be held in one summer session for four days in August, and is best suited for public health and social service providers, faculty at undergraduate institutions, advanced graduate students, and Hollywood industry professionals, according to the online course description.

The Los Angeles center now serves 124 seniors, 71 percent of them visual and media arts majors. The opening of the campus’ new 10-story academic and residential structure has allowed administrators to begin searching for opportunities for curricular growth, Bright said, though changes will likely take a year to institute.

In the meantime, Whelan said Emerson sees summer program offerings as opportunities for trying out courses, and that across the college, faculty and administrators are looking at ways to make the curriculums of Emerson’s Boston and LA campuses more symbiotic.

“Departments are thinking now about course sequences, and what could be offered in LA. As we develop capacity in synchronous distance learning, courses here could include LA students,” wrote Whelan in an email to the Beacon, describing the possibility of a class taught by a teacher in Boston or LA that students at campuses on both coasts could participate in real-time.

The Los Angeles Summer Workshop in Magazine Publishing is a program open only to Emerson undergraduate students.

According to its course description, the program will accept 10 to 15 rising junior and senior writing, literature, and publishing majors, or students with a publishing minor. The nine-week workshop includes two courses for a fee of nearly $11,000, which includes on-campus living expenses.

Whelan said many curricular expansion initiatives like the development of post-graduate and alumni programs, are still in progress and a bi-coastal master’s program is still in the idea stage. 

Bright said he is most interested in community service.  

“It’s about giving our students the opportunity to experience giving back and to understand the networking possibilities that result from that,” said Bright, “and sometimes the kind of relationships that evolve from it.”