MCA to develop concentrations, two institutes


Financial District, NEW YORK--Last spring, The King’s College graduated its first class of students to complete a four-year degree under the Media, Culture and the Arts (MCA) major. This landmark achievement gave the faculty a chance to stop and reevaluate the state of the MCA major for the 2013-14 school year.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo by Kara Bettis.

The main upcoming development will be concentrations within MCA, which will give  students the chance to focus their studies on one particular field. The concentrations will include Film and Media Studies, Theater, Creative Writing, Journalism, Cultural Criticism and Cultural Studies/Cultural History.

Dr. Harry Bleattler, the head of the MCA department, would also like to develop something in the field of Art History and Criticism:

"The department would love to have something ready by next fall,” Bleattler said, adding that this is not guaranteed.

 "As enrollment increases, in time, I would love to see stand-alone majors branching out from MCA: Journalism, Art History, Criticism and Theater,” President Gregory Thornbury, who is standing in as interim academic provost, said.

King’s is in the process of developing two new institutes in theater and journalism. The NYC Summer Theatre Institute, led by Professor Chris Cragin Day, will start this summer.

King’s also plans to launch a new journalism institute called The John McCandlish Phillips Journalism Institute, directed by Professor Paul Glader.

Dr. Dan Siedell recently joined as Presidential Scholar and Art Historian in Residence. President Thornbury said that “bringing Dan Siedell in to come alongside our faculty is another foretaste of where we’re going. I would love to see King’s be seen as an activator in helping Christians think through the importance of the art world in people’s lives.”

Siedell gave his first lecture entitled “Who’s Afraid of Modern Art?” at King’s as Presidential Scholar and Art Historian in Residence on Nov. 19, as part of the President’s Forum.

“Many agnostics and atheists are saying that art is the new religion. I want King’s to be facilitating a national conversation answering the question, ‘Why must these two things be mutually exclusive?' They never have historically before,” Thornbury said.

Among all these changes, the program will “continue to focus on internships and relationships with people” in the industries that MCA students are entering, according to Bleattler. For MCA to succeed in New York City, Bleattler believes that students themselves have to go out and make things happen. For him, the most exciting part of the program is “seeing the energy of our students” and their entrepreneurial spirit.

Senior MCA student Alex Foley thinks that the internship opportunities and connections with people working in these industries have been the program’s greatest success over his time at King’s. When Foley entered the program it was intellectual and “heady,” but lacked personal application. "The program has changed a lot for the better,” Foley said.

Thinking long term, President Thornbury shared: “I would love to see King’s being a national gathering place for conversation and work related to faith and the arts. I would love to see a residential arts community here in which writers, poets, musicians, and artists come to do their work because of the amazing group of scholars and students fostering a truly rewarding creative working environment," adding that "King’s has a massive advantage being in New York City that is the envy of similar programs elsewhere."

Bleattler called the additions of Glader and Siedell to the MCA faculty “providential,” saying “God helped make this happen for us.”