Original Date: 01/22/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Advanced Visualization Laboratory
The Digital Media Program of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory is a world-class animation/multimedia course of study leading to bachelor or master degrees awarded by East Tennessee State University. The Program is supported by a partnership among the University, the digital media industry, Johnson City, and private gift donors.
In 1993, the Department of Technology at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) had a vision for a state-of-the-art program in engineering design graphics. The existing CAD-drafting program attracted less than 50 undergraduate and no graduate majors. The Faculty and Industrial Advisory Committee recommended a complete program revision which would prepare students for the advanced graphic technologies of the new millennium. The vision also included collaboration with the University’s Department of Computer Science program in software engineering. The costs for hardware and software to support the proposed changes were prohibitively high, averaging approximately $150,000 per student workstation. The solution was an extensive partnership initially with Silicon Graphics (hardware) and Alias/Wavefront (software). Currently, the Program is supported by a partnership among the University, the digital media industry, Johnson City, and private gift donors. ETSU contributed $200,000, and the other partners contributed $5.3 million to launch the Digital Media Program of the Advanced Visualization Laboratory.
The Digital Media Program became an instant success. Enrollment soared to over 350 undergraduate and 40 graduate majors, while the faculty grew from three to six. The number of partnerships also expanded, resulting in a new state-of-the-art facility connected to Johnson City’s Adelphia Center. Through this animation/multimedia course, students gain practical experience exploring new media applications with regional industries and governmental agencies. One highly prosperous business has already evolved from the Digital Media Program, and the Program’s successful collaborative effort with the Computer Science Department has produced new undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Information Technology. The placement of Advanced Visualization Laboratory graduates is 100%.
The success of the Digital Media Program can be directly attributed to the vision and partnership among ETSU, local government, industry involvement, and private donors. As a result, international student enrollment and workforce education have become a catalyst for regional economic development.
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