Photo: a classroom in TAV College’s new C building.
By Justin Hand-Gregory
The College recently announced its ambitious plans to revamp the Arts, Literature, and Communication program. A large part of the announcement was two professional-grade production studios. Through revamping the existing program, TAV hopes to attract more of a target audience of students to the program who are passionate about the program’s specific learning outcomes (as opposed to students who are more interested in general studies like the General Social Science program).
Taking a Fresh Look at the ALC Program
Valerie Svitanko, Coordinator of the ALC and Social Science programs, said during a phone interview that “ever since TAV introduced the Social Science programs in Winter 2019, the ALC program saw a gradual decline in enrollment.” The ALC program used to be the only pre-university alternative to the Sciences. So, as a tactic to bring more students into the program, the administration tried integrating more media and practical skills into its curriculum as well as added a “mentorship” aspect to the program’s synthesis project. However, the tactics were unsuccessful.
“the program is unique in the sense that it is pre-university, but also provides real-life skills: The courses offered have slowly transitioned to be more practical and less theoretical. With that said, the College is motivated and willing to try and breathe new life into the program in order to ensure its continuity.”
New Media Production and Learning Facilities
The expansion of TAV’s campus size served as a catalyst for the College to re-imagine many of its rooms and spaces. With the immense amount of new space that the “C building” will bring in Fall 2021, the TAV administration has had the opportunity to start planning for the transformation of rooms that were, at once, conventional classrooms.
Although there is no final decision on which rooms the studios will call home, there is speculation that the new building is a promising candidate. The new building would be ideal because of its modern concrete structure. This would allow for better-soundproofed spaces where students can get very high-quality sound recordings for course projects that require sound engineering. Also, the rooms in the new building are much larger than those of the A and B buildings, which is ideal for a studio because studios generally have a lot of wires, equipment, and large objects lying around, and having a large space reduces the risk of accidents. Plus, a larger space will allow students to be more interactive with the creative projects they will make.
There are also plans (in negotiation) to create an official ALC department in the new building. Although there have been no final decisions made yet, the idea is to give the ALC program a few rooms, all on the same floor of the building. This way, ALC students and teachers will have their own floor to call home, where they can display student work on the walls and the rooms and studios will all be close by and will be exclusive to them. The idea is that everyone in the department will feel part of this creative environment and will inspire one another to create some truly amazing things in years to come. The current plan is to have the Mac lab, film/photography studio, sound studio, and equipment storage room all on the fourth floor.
One of the key factors in determining the success of the new studios is going to be the system for managing the equipment. The College plans on investing over ten thousand dollars into making this revamp project a reality. So, the question becomes, who and how will this expensive inventory be kept safe?
The current system in place is inadequate. Svitanko stated that the current problem is that the equipment the College already owns is being lost.
The proposed solutions for the management of media equipment come with a few different options. One option is that the teachers of the ALC program be responsible for keeping track of who borrowed the equipment using a sign-in/sign-out form.
Option two is to implement a work-study program where students work for various departments at the college and instead of a paycheque, they pay off their tuition. Students could work as an equipment management facilitator for the rental, tracking, and inventory management of the new equipment.
The third option is to hire a designated technician who would be responsible for managing the equipment and studio maintenance. Regardless of whichever option is selected, there will be a structured system in place to avoid anything being lost, stolen, or damaged. The equipment will be free to use, for ALC students only, but will more than likely have a ‘you break it, you buy it’ policy attached in order to stress how serious the damage or loss of this equipment is.
These new ALC facilities will allow the College to expand the courses offered in the program, in addition to enhancing existing courses. The long-term goal will be to allow students from various other programs and student clubs to use the studios once the department has discovered a management system that works and no issues have been discovered.