| Jun 12, 2012
By Justin W. Sanders With reporting from Eunice Roh and Danae Young
While PromaxBDA: The Conference attendees and staff prepped this morning for this afternoon’s Conference Welcome, a smaller but no less crucial event was already in full swing by 9:15 a.m.: the Creative Educators Forum
(CEF), an initiative of PromaxBDA’s Industry Development and Diversity program. Its opening session, “What a Difference a Partnership Makes: Building Access Channels for Student Talent Into the Media and Entertainment Industry," focused on the synergy between employers and students, on the student’s desire to learn and the employer’s opportunity to educate them while also facilitating the opportunity to produce work.
As PromaxBDA president and CEO Jonathan Block-Verk said in his opening address to the educators in attendance, CEF seeks to “build a relationship with the academic community and help you help your students get into this [media] industry… Today’s forum is about you, about creating those relationships.”
CEF moderator Katerina Zacharia, PromaxBDA’s director of industry development and diversity, continued Block-Verk’s thread: “There are so many disciplines represented [at CEF],” she said. “Here is the opportunity to talk and give voice. It’s not about just the educators coming to the forum but us going into the institutions. We want to talk, we want to collaborate.”
Noted speakers in this session included Rob Battles, SVP of creative services for AMC Networks Inc.; Bill Galbreath, education director of design and technology schools at Full Sail University; Pamela Goodale, associate cooperative education coordinator for the College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern University; Chris Hannan, SVP of Fox Sports Media Group; and David Saphirstein, director of creative technology at ESPN.
“Northeastern has become so popular because of our cooperative education program,” said Pamela Goodale, speaking on the university’s College of Arts, Media and Design’s innovative option that lets students alternate between six months of education and six months of paid work experience. The advantage to employers is that they can create meaningful positions and those positions will already be covered, she noted. Though Northeastern is located in Boston, where industry jobs are harder to come by, the college has tried to compensate through a partnership with AMC.
Representing another partnership between academia and industry, Full Sail University’s Bill Galbreath and ESPN’s David Saphirstein discussed how their collaborative student program has grown from a technology-focused training to logo design opportunities, soccer coverage and much more. “Having access to that generation is just tremendous,” said Saphirstein of the Full Sail students who come to ESPN. “They have new ideas and see media in a different way.” ESPN also offers workshops, speakers and one-on-one training to students.
Fox Sports Media Group’s Chris Hannan spoke of his company’s “Creative University” program, which works with different education institutions to bring students to Fox. “At Fox Sports, education is our priority,” he said. “On the grassroots level and community and at higher level… I think the biggest thing for us is just being flexible. We pick schools that make sense for them to work with us.”
Other session on today's CEF schedule include “Industry Meet Educators, Educators Meet Industry. Now Let’s Work!” and “The Evolution of Transmedia in the Media Landscape.”