The Lafayette Entertainment Initiative has worked to bring movie productions like Secretariat to the Acadiana area. Now, UL Lafayette is taking some initiative of its own.
On Thursday, Oct. 28, the Board of Regents gave the university permission to add a new degree program: Moving Image Arts. The program comes at an odd time, as higher education across the state continues to face budget cuts, but Charles Richard, director of the new degree field, says the program had two things in its favor.
“It is a no cost program. That’s one of the reasons we were able to go through with it,” says Richard. “There is a moratorium on new academic programs. To my knowledge, this is the only new program that the Board of Regents has approved. They made an exception on the grounds of economic development.”
According to Richard, creating the program was simply a matter of pooling resources the university already had. Classes offered in other departments like English, visual arts and communications will all fall under the new major.
Richard says the university also worked closely with the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, an LEI partner, to develop this program and see it succeed.
“There is an acute need in the workforce of the film industry in Louisiana. The industry has grown to the point where Louisiana is third behind only New York and California in film production,” says Richard.
Many universities in Louisiana offer some form of film discipline, but Richard says UL’s program will differ by providing students with an education that will prepare them for a number of different opportunities from advertising to tourism. Students will be able to register under the new major for the upcoming spring semester.
“Absolutely a win-win for the students and people of the area,” says Richard. “The demand is growing in Acadiana, and students will find that they not only have a new degree option but a lot more career options.”