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Oscar nominee Scott Hamilton Kennedy ’87 was a theater major who went into documentary filmmaking. SkidTV president Raphael Karen ’14 “would have given next to anything for Skidmore to have a film minor.” And more than 10 percent of freshmen in - dicated an interest in media studies, roughly the same as expressed interest in biology.


Now Skidmore has launched a minor in media and film studies, for exploring visual, aural, and written communica- tions and their current and emerging technologies. The minor is co-directed by English professors Tom Lewis and Jo Devine.


many to under-


stand how media are shaping our lives.” Skid- more Presi- dent Philip Glotzbach adds that today’s “ubiquity of im- ages” makes it important for stu-


Currently 48 profes- sors in 16 departments are teaching some 70 courses (from theater and music to business and literature) that will count toward the new minor, according to Mary-Beth O’Brien, a scholar of Ger- man cinema who chaired the faculty group that developed the program. As Devine points out, the minor is largely built on established courses, but lately “there has been a burgeoning of student interest, which reflects the desire of


Cahn curtain call


After more than 30 years at Skidmore, Eng- lish professor Victor Cahn retired last spring.


He earned a BA from Columbia College in 1969 and a PhD in Eng- lish from NYU in 1976 and taught at private schools and Bowdoin College before joining


the Skidmore faculty in 1982. A special- ist in drama, he taught everything from Shakespeare to modern British and American theater. In the 2012 Princeton Review’s 300 Best


Professors, he says, “Most of my best stu- dents seem to be very organized. I also re-


8 SCOPE FALL 2014


spect creativity in almost any form, and I hope that my writing assignments allow students to exercise their talents in this area.” For their part, students have called him “interesting, kind, and intelligent,” “in- spiring,” and “engaging” (as well as “hilarious” and “spiffy”) and have cited his “detailed analysis” of writ-


ing assignments and his “contagious en- thusiasm”; in short, say many, he makes it “worth getting up for an 8 a.m. class.” Cahn’s dozen-plus books include Shakespeare the Playwright, Bard Games: The Shakespeare Quiz Book, Beyond Absurd- ity: The Plays of Tom Stoppard, Gender and


Power in the Plays of Harold Pinter, and Conquering College: A Guide for Undergrad- uates. Also a playwright, he has seen many of his works—such as Roses in De- cember, Embraceable Me, A Dish for the Gods, and Sheepskin/Bottom of the Ninth— performed in New York City and region- al theaters. A stage performer as well, he has starred in his own Sherlock Solo and in a wide range of plays produced around the upstate region. His most re- cent writing has included two novels: Romantic Trapezoid and Sound Bites. Cahn’s main avocation is the violin; he has performed in recitals and as a soloist with Skidmore’s orchestra. In re- tirement, he says, he might write more plays or novels, and he plans to contin- ue acting. —SR


“A BURGEONING OF STUDENT INTEREST


dents “to achieve a more sophisticated understanding of visual communication and all that it entails for our society." The minor integrates


REFLECTS THE DESIRE OF MANY TO UNDERSTAND HOW MEDIA ARE SHAPING OUR LIVES.”


with the Skidmore News, WSPN radio, SkidTV, the Tang Museum, and the on-campus presence of WAMC Public Radio’s Southern Adirondack


bureau. And it will dovetail with Skid- more’s new John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative, an interdiscipli- nary hub made possible by John Moore, son of Skidmore’s second president, Henry T. Moore, and husband of Bettina Towne Moore ’41, along with John’s son- and daughter-in-law James and Sue


Towne. Additional funds come from a $750,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to support the minor and a new forum for faculty develop- ment.


The Mellon triad of programs, known as Proj-


ect Vis, addresses a key item in Skid- more’s strategic plan: improved visual literacy and discrimination skills. The Moore Collaborative, directed by history professor Jordana Dym, will offer a sum- mer “storytellers’ institute” and foster explorations of Saratoga County and Skidmore College past and present. The Visualization Forum, led by art professor Deb Hall, will expand faculty expertise in developing new courses and coaching visual projects across the curriculum. The grant will also bring speakers, work- shops, and two postdoctoral positions, one in media and film studies and the other in visualization technologies. Scope will certainly be documenting the documentors as these programs take off. —PM


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