The MA Program in Writing as a Provider of Nonprofit Digital Media Training
A presentation for the Conference on Community Writing, in Boulder, CO, on October 17, 2015.
1. My Background
- Before PhD: professional writing and digital media teacher + tech trainer for nonprofit staff
- Post-PhD Grand Plan: combine my two jobs—writing teacher and tech trainer—by forming a campus-affiliated D.U.S.T.Y. for nonprofit staff
- Assistant Professor Reality: no execution of Grand Plan, though success in single-class roll-outs
2. Beyond the Single-Class Roll-out: Inspiration & Ideas for the Future
Where can we find inspiration and ideas about how to develop a campus-linked digital media training initiative?
a. Already doing it/done it, in academia…
- Digital Underground Storytelling for Youth (D.U.S.T.Y.), UC Berkeley
- Community Literacy Center (CLC), Carnegie Melon University
- Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE)/Matrix, Michigan State
- Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC), Georgetown University, School of Continuing Studies (Public Relations & Corporate Communications)
- Community Media Workshop, Columbia College, journalistic equity mission
- Center for Community and Ethnic Media, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
- SALT District/Near Westside Initiative, Syracuse University
b. Other, non-academia-affiliated models…
- Taproot Foundation, pro-bono marketing and strategy for nonprofits
- StoryCenter, story methodology training
- Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN), Cable access TV
3. Models for the Future
Three available models can help us see different alternatives for how MA programs might be providers of nonprofit digital media training:
- Community technology center
4. Conclusion: Thorny Issues and Possibilities
- Different models and rhetoric(s) are more or less appropriate for particular local realities.
- Academic calendar and graduate student competencies are difficult constraints. Perhaps aim to create prototypes rather than deliverables in course-affiliated projects, with final project execution done by GAs or faculty.
- The R Question (What to research?): issue clusters, especially around issues of writing, rhetoric, and digital media; post-training case studies, or ethnographies at organizations; applied research…
- The F Question (How to fund?): foundation funding; issue cluster funding; affiliate relationships…