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Graduate Portfolio Program in Communication, Information, and Cultural Policy

Policy and the means by which it is crafted, analyzed and evaluated have become increasingly important and highly sought skills for students pursuing advanced degrees.  As a general category, policy has been a consistent area of interest for graduate students at the University of Texas. Over seven hundred reports, theses, and dissertations produced at the University of Texas in the last thirty years have taken policy as their subject to some extent, including seventy such projects since 2000.  A recent report by the Chronicle of Higher Education stated that the job market for public policy degree holders was likely to remain strong in the foreseeable future as governmental, non-profit, and non-governmental agencies confront shrinking resources and growing public need.

With the mainstream adoption of the Internet in recent decades, policy discussions around issues of communication, information, and culture have become particularly prominent in public discourse.  Rapid changes wrought by digitization, corporate consolidation, and other trends in the technological and economic spheres are judged by many to be a significant factor in reshaping systems of law and regulation.  Resulting legislation and policies, such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, and the USA Patriot Act (2001) as well as international treaties like the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) have engendered broad debates on many subjects of critical interest to scholars and policy makers. These subjects include:

•    Media ownership and concentration in content production and distribution
•    Network neutrality and quality of service
•    Intellectual property and alternative distribution methods such as file sharing
•    Access to telecommunication services such as broadband
•    Personal privacy and data collection by marketers
•    New literacies required for using and understanding media
•    New tools for teaching and engaging with publics

Advancing an understanding of these developments and their historical context, studies in communication, information, and cultural policies trains new scholars and policy thinkers to analyze these issues. A diverse array of organizations such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Congressional Research Service, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, MacArthur Foundation, and the Ford Foundation has supported these discussions by commissioning research and hiring policy analysts. In addition, major universities are already offering programs to address this need for trained policy thinkers, including the Quello Center at Michigan State University, The Media Center at New York University, and the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford, among others. Similarly, concerns regarding national and international cultural policy prompted the creation of the Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive. This organization supports an archive that helps researchers access and develop information regarding the relationship between the cultural sectors and artists, communities, and economic development. Its focus on policies that influence culture extends from the local artist to national cultural identities, from art in public places to national or international programs to support cinema, from traditional media to cyberspace.  Several universities have established programs or centers to explore cultural policy (e.g., the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at Princeton, the Research Center for Arts and Culture at Columbia University).

The Graduate Portfolios in Communication, Information, and Cultural Policy offers students at the University of Texas a means to enter this vital field of study by focusing on the theory, history, and comparative aspects of policy. The program supports students’ preparation for careers in academic research or practical careers in policy-making arenas.  Study in Communication, Information, and Cultural Policy is well-suited to a portfolio certificate program because it is a multi-disciplinary subject that can find students drawing on public policy, economics, communications, art, community planning, and information science.  This program invites students to integrate these disciplines into their particular course of study and provides an institutional home for scholars with these shared interests.

Admissions

Students pursuing a graduate degree in any participating school or college are eligible to apply for admission at any time after entering their graduate program.  For more information, students should speak to the participating faculty in their department or contact Sharon Strover at the Telecommunication and Information Policy Institute, Department of Radio-TV-Film (471-6652).  Students should have the consent of their home department graduate advisor to participate.  Students who wish to apply should submit an application that includes a brief (1-3 pages) statement of purpose outlining their interests and intention in completing the portfolio.  The admissions team will meet with interested students, and deliberate on the program of work students submit for the portfolio program.  This program of work should include the courses and presentations the student intends to complete for meet the program's requirements, as well as a list of courses already completed at the graduate level.

The Graduate Portfolios in Communication, Information and Cultural Policy will include a Master’s Portfolio, for students for whom the Master’s degree is a terminal professional degree, and the Doctoral Portfolio, which will include a more rigorous research and writing component.  As well, the portfolio requires that students in both MA and the Ph.D. programs present their work in either a professional conference setting or a public venue at the University of Texas Alternatively, extra-curricular work in a policy setting related to communications or cultural policy can satisfy this requirement. 

The program requires the completion of nine credit hours (for Master’s Portfolio) or twelve credit hours (for Doctoral Portfolio) in approved graduate level courses and the preparation of a scholarly research paper, submitted and approved by the Portfolio Committee.  At least two of the student’s completed courses shall be from departments outside the student’s home department.  Of the completed courses, no more than one may be taken as an independent study or conference course without approval of the Portfolio Committee.  The following are examples of twelve-hour course sequences CICP portfolio students might use:

For a concentration in Cultural Policy:

·      FA 381            Funding Art and Sustaining Culture - Dempster
·      FA 387            Cultural Policy and the Arts - Daly
·      RTF 393N       Technology and Culture - Strover
·      INF 390C        Copyright: Legal and Cultural Perspectives – Doty

For a concentration in Telecommunications Policy:

·      RTF 387D      Digital Inclusion in Texas - Strover
·      RTF 393P       Media Policy - Strover
·      INF 386          History of Information and Society: Information in Everyday American Life - Aspray
·      P A 388K        Science and Technology Policy – Callan

Students should check the course schedule each semester to find graduate course offerings of CICP faculty associates.   A sample of courses typically offered follows:

·      CMS 392P      Communication Technology in Organizations - Stephens
·      CMS 392P      Communication in Virtual groups - Peña
·      E 388M           Knowledge Ecologies Syverson
·      FA 381            Funding Art and Sustaining Culture - Dempster
·      FA 387            Cultural Policy and the Arts - Daly
·      INF 385T        Special Topics in Information Science: New Media Technologies & Culture - Mallapragada
·      INF 380C        Information in Social and Cultural Context - Doty/Aspray/Galloway
·      INF 380K       Internet Applications - Winget
·      INF 385N        Informatics: Consumer Health Informatics - Zhang
·      INF 385T        Special Topics in Information Science: Knowledge Ecologies - Syverson
·      INF 385T        Special Topics in Information Science: iSpy: LIS, Espionage, and World of Intelligence Gathering - Hayden
·      INF 385T        Special Topics in Information Science: Technology & Work - Bailey
·      INF 385T        Special Topics in Information Science: Crowdsourcing: Theory/Methods - Lease
·      INF 385T        Special Topics in Information Science: Health Privacy and Security - Aspray
·      INF 386          History of Information and Society: Information in Everyday American Life - Aspray
·      INF 386          History of Information and Society: Emergence of the Information Domain - Gracy
·      INF 386G        Gender, Technology, and Information - Doty
·      INF 390N       Seminar in Information Policy: Copyright, Privacy, and First Amendment Law - Hoffman
·      INF 390N       Information Policy - Doty/Strover
·      INF 390C        Copyright: Legal and Cultural Perspectives - Doty
·      INF 390N       Information Policy: New Media Technologies & Culture - Mallapragada
·      P A 680PA     Digital Inclusion in Texas - Flamm
·      P A 388K        Science and Technology Policy - Callan
·      P A 388K        E-governance and Social Media Around the Globe - Greenberg
·      P A 388K        Globalizing Intellectual Property: Origins, Uses, and Abuses - Flynn
·      P A 680PA     State Finance & Online Transparency - Greenberg
·      PA 882A         Policy Research Projects (topic changes each semester)
·      RTF 383P       New Media Technologies and Cultures - Mallapragada
·      RTF 387D      Digital Inclusion in Texas - Strover
·      RTF 393P       Media Policy - Strover
·      RTF 393P       New Media Technologies and Cultures - Mallapragada  
·      RTF 380G      New Media Methods - Mallapragada
·      RTF 384         New Media Literacy - Tyner
·      RTF 384C       Communication, Law, and Power - Stein
·      RTF 387C       Global Media, New Media, and Migration - Straubhaar
·      RTF 393P       Internet and Politics - Brundridge
·      RTF 393N      Technology and Culture – Strover

Students seeking portfolios will be encouraged to propose a dissertation related to policy studies and encouraged, but not required, to include at least one Communication, Information and Cultural Policy faculty on their dissertation committee. The portfolio certificate will be awarded contemporaneously with the student’s graduate degree.

Administration

The Graduate Portfolio in Communication, Information and Cultural Policy will be administered by the College of Communication's Telecommunication and Information Policy Institute through the formation of a Portfolio Committee comprised of faculty representatives from each participating academic unit: The Colleges of Communication and Fine Arts, School of Public Affairs, and the School of Information. The faculty administering the program will be responsible for admission to the portfolio, for advising students who wish to complete it, and for certifying that students have completed the work necessary to qualify for the portfolio certificate.

Director Sharon Strover, Professor Department of Radio-Television-Film
CMA 6.118, A0800
(512) 471-4071

Portfolio Contact Phil Doty, Associate Dean
The University of Texas at Austin School of Information
1 University Station D7000 Austin TX 78712 (512) 471-3746 

Portfolio Contact Sherri Greenberg, Director of the Center for Politics and Governance
LBJ School of Public Affairs
The University of Texas at Austin
PO Box Y, Austin, TX 78713
SRH 3.100
(512) 471-8324

List of Affiliated Faculty/Portfolio Committee as of Fall 2013

  • Andrew Dillon, Dean, School of Information
  • Philip Doty, School of Information
  • Ann Daly, Department of Theatre and Dance, College of Fine Arts
  • Douglas Dempster, Department of Theatre and Dance, College of Fine Arts
  • Kenneth Flamm, LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Sherri Greenberg, LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Glynn E. Harmon, School of Information
  • Laura Stein, Department of Radio-TV-Film, College of Communication
  • Joseph Straubhaar, Department of Radio-TV-Film, College of Communication
  • Sharon Strover, Department of Radio-TV-Film, and Director, Telecommunications and Information Policy Institute
  • Robert Wilson, LBJ School of Public Affairs