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Donation keeps Liggett on cutting edge

October 24, 2013
The history of University Liggett School is a history of cutting edge educational tools. A major donation to the school extends that tradition, leading to the creation of a new media lab that brings with it new courses and new opportunities for Liggett students.

The gift, part of a $4.25 million donation from the John L. and Marlene A. Boll Foundation, has allowed the Fine and Performing Arts Department to upgrade the infrastructure, hardware and software to provide an advanced media lab, offering students in visual art, film and music new tools.

Replacing the outdated keyboarding lab, the advanced media lab provides 10 stations with professional-grade hardware and software. Music students will be able to explore keyboard skills, music theory, composition, sound/audio mixing, and for the first time, they will have tools to support the development of soundtracks for film.

In visual arts, students will have access to the full suite of Adobe tools for image manipulation. These tools will be extended through the addition of drawing tablets.

Students in new media will have access to Auto Desk’s tools, most specifically MAYA, a suite of programs that offers students interested in game design the necessary tools for 3-D figure and animation creation.

In film, students will have state-of-the-art digital video production equipment and leading-edge software suites like Apple’s Final Cut, Avid’s Media Creator, and Adobe’s Premiere Pro. Adding to this array are sound editing suites like Pro-tools, Sibelius, and Finale.

The creation of this lab provides students the tools used not only at the top arts colleges in the nation, but also by creative industry professionals.

“Still, the tool kit means little if students are not provided the structure to support creative exploration of the media lab,” said Phillip Moss, chairman of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts.

“That’s where Liggett’s Curriculum for Understanding and the school’s Academic Research Program come in. As students move further along their individualized learning paths, these tools will become crucial in their ability to communicate their innovative understandings to our community and beyond.”

Liggett’s art department has offered Computer Assisted Design for the stage since 1991. The program was recognized by the Educational Theatre Association as one of the most innovative programs in the nation that year.

“The underlying belief is that technology is not an end, but a means for digging deeper into meaningful learning,” Moss said.

Other technology-based arts courses at Liggett have included a music class taught using electronic keyboards, a film program with digital video editing equipment, digital photography and computer animation courses.

Research into best practices and uses of technology at such places as the Sundance Film Festival, The Savannah College of Art and Design, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Detroit’s College for Creative Studies proved the new media courses offered at Liggett were in line with leading-edge practices.

Liggett graduates attend many such schools.

With a long history of innovation, dedication to effective integration of technology tools, and a deep commitment to student creativity, the department of creative and performing arts at University Liggett School has again moved into a leadership position in the use of cutting edge tools in the support of student creativity.

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