January 17, 2020 : By Liberty University News Service
Liberty University has announced the official merger of the School of Communication and Digital Content and the School of Visual and Performing Arts to create the School of Communication and the Arts (SCA).
The new combined school will serve as home to more than 2,000 students and will offer a wide variety of exciting residential and online programs under the leadership of Dean Scott Hayes (residential) and Dean Kevin Rawls (online).
SCA will be a comprehensive school designed to deliver high-impact education and value for students in communication, digital media, journalism, studio art, graphic design, theatre, and more. The school will offer Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Fine Arts undergraduate degrees, and Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, and doctoral degrees. All existing academic programs from both schools will continue, and many will be expanded.
“We want Liberty to be known as the university destination for the very best academic and experiential training in the fields of communication and the arts, enabling our graduates to succeed at the highest levels,” said Liberty President Jerry Falwell. “SCA will be a place designed to provide opportunities for creatives and artists to develop their craft, whatever the discipline, in a God-honoring environment where excellence is expected.”
The new school will create a unique model focused on experiential, transdisciplinary approaches to learning supported by the skills of design thinking, servant-leadership, empathy, communication, creativity and related modes of thought central to the arts and communication. It will also provide a vibrant and expandable platform for professional education and the ability to prepare students for current and future 21st century professions.
Dean Hayes, Dean Rawls and Vice Provost Ron Hawkins, who has served as interim dean of the School of Communication and Digital Content since July 2019, worked with the department leaders of both schools in planning the consolidation.
“The process, which took place over several months and included leadership from both schools, led to the conclusion that bringing the two schools together would be a better use of existing resources,” Hawkins said. “The new SCA will provide opportunities for the creation of new programs and prepare graduates with the knowledge, values, and skills required to match the demands of a changing job market and help them contribute at the highest level while serving Christ and others in the fields of communications and the arts.”
The integration of the two schools reflects the administrative stewardship paradigm championed by the Liberty’s provost and online provost.
“This move will allow Liberty to more efficiently serve our students and better prepare them for the industries that they serve; it truly is an added value approach that will optimize opportunities for students,” said Dr. Scott Hicks, Provost.
Dr. Shawn Akers, Online Provost, added, “The already strong online growth in both schools makes this partnership an exciting opportunity to streamline the schools while building new synergy between the disciplines. Liberty’s commitment to innovation has enabled us to provide a dynamic online learning experience in specialized fields such as these, and I am confident the new consolidated school will open even greater opportunities for our students around the nation.”