This spring saw the induction of Dr. Constantinos Coursaris as the new Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media. We sat down to discuss his future plans as Director, as well as to highlight some of the program’s main features and strengths.
Dr. Coursaris opened with excitement for a new challenge—increasing the visibility of the Master of Arts (MA) program, not just in the Michigan area, but on a national and international level as well. The quality of the program, he believes, is already there and ready to be recognized for its merit and high-caliber faculty, staff, and students that are engaged with the MA program. As one of the best-known universities of this state and around the world, TISM is now primed to raise awareness of its MA program on a similar scale.
With a faculty that holds a deep understanding in each of their area of expertise, gained through both personal research and outreach with government and industry, both profit and non-profit organizations, the MA program has much to offer students. For students who are in pursuit of a professional degree, the opportunity exists to advance skill sets or pick up entirely new knowledge in order to become immediately and actively engaged in industry or government work. For example, “students who go through the Human-Computer Interaction concentration are very employable in both small and medium sized businesses, but also multi-national enterprises, in various capacities including information architecture, user experience usability testing, and web design among others. Similarly, students enrolled in the Media and Information Management concentration may take on roles of I.T. project management, media production management, network analysis and systems design and many more. Lastly, students pursuing the Serious Games Certificate are likely to take highly rewarding roles in simulation design and game design in one of several areas of application ranging from education to health.” The MA degree is also a pathway to doctoral studies for many of our students.
However, and while the MA program maintains a focus on employability, it also seeks to establish a high level quality education fitted for individuals and administered in small classrooms that are actively engaged through hands-on learning that “prepares students in a far more compatible manner for the jobs to be taken on upon graduation than, say, traditional theory-only, static, and passive ways of training tomorrow’s leaders in media and information.” Dr. Coursaris believes strongly in the mantra of “learning by doing.”
Differentiated and project-based learning ensures individual tailoring of the education experience that Dr. Coursaris believes “we can afford because of the strong commitment by the faculty. Our faculty truly care about a student’s individual progress, and are not simply guided by ‘covering material’.”
“Did you grow as a professional in training? That’s the question we’re asking and the goal we are pursuing as we support the development of our professionals-in-training.”
In an environment where the faculty is a blend of researcher and practitioner, Dr. Coursaris says “our department strength comes in part from its interdisciplinary nature, that we have people, colleagues who come from different backgrounds.” And as a result of those experiences and interactions, “our students reap the benefits. They are better prepared; they’re more empowered to actually pursue the particular job track they’re looking for.”
As he envisions the future, Dr. Coursaris seeks to grow the MA program, but also strengthen it by “continuously revisiting curricula to ensure currency for the skills, knowledge, and abilities that employers are seeking among graduates.” With concentrations in human-computer interaction, media and information management, and a certificate in serious game design and research, TISM’s MA program offers skills that are very much in demand. As Dr. Coursaris continues to build relationships with employers in the greater Lansing area, he creates strong industry ties for both current and future students.
Having already met with international institutions since he took ‘office’, Dr. Coursaris also hopes to “broaden the horizons of our own students when they’re immersed in such multicultural work environments.” These institutional partnerships will create exchange and study abroad programs and create opportunities for discovering and understanding today’s industry and the cross-cultural settings that await many students.
For more on the MA program, take a detailed look at what we have to offer here.
Are you a TISM undergraduate looking towards the future? Be sure to check out the BA to MA linked program, an option that allows for the accelerated completion of a Master’s degree in 12 months instead of two academic years.