Letter to the Editor: Response to ‘I am switching my major from RTF’

A student operates a camera during the annual Rowan Television Network's Telethon in 2019. -Editor-in-chief / Miguel Martinez

From Keith Brand, Chair – Radio, Television, & Film, Rowan University

I was surprised to read the letter from Miguel Martinez. I was surprised because the Radio, Television, & Film Department he described does not at all look like the one I am familiar with. While I will sometimes counsel students against this major, it sounds like Miguel is the kind of student who should be in our major.

I’m also surprised that as a third year student Miguel hasn’t discovered all of the opportunities that students have to produce film and television within the department. Our Advanced Film class has produced short films that have won major awards and have exhibited at film festivals. Our Documentary Production students have traveled to Romania, Greece, and the Cayman Islands filming and editing stories that have also consistently received awards dating back 25 years. And while these are capstone level courses, students are exposed to media production in their Freshman year through our Foundations of Media Production class. In addition to the large number of production classes available to all of our students, I’m glad that Miguel has identified the need to understand the historical development of such an important art form as film and television. Our department provides a vital liberal arts approach to the production of media which includes production, history, industry, and writing classes.

One of the things that also distinguishes our department are the remarkable number of media production extracurricular activities available to students. If Miguel is interested in becoming a filmmaker, Cinema Workshop is a student club whose members write, shoot, and edit three short films every semester. And Rowan Television Network, also a student club, shoots 5 shows weekly in our studios, films all home football games, in addition to covering Rowan Club Ice Hockey. His first day as a Rowan student, he could have walked into their offices and started making film and television. Along with WGLS-FM, we believe our students have an unparalleled level of access to media production outside the classroom.

One reason I’m writing this response to Miguel is that I’d like to encourage more students to seek out faculty members to discuss both their academic success and their career plans. Maybe he reached out to one of our faculty members, but all too often students don’t take advantage of the fact that we are here to help them. I can probably count on two hands the number of students who made appointments to see me during my office hours. We are here to help you achieve academically and to guide you in your career choices.

Lastly, I hope Miguel will reconsider his decision to change majors. We have a vital and engaged student body, faculty who are professional filmmakers, and alumni who have achieved a great deal of success in their film and television production careers. I think if Miguel would give us a second chance, we can offer him what he is looking for.

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