Community Paper Article July 2016

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The College of Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) have integrated to form the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA), a new college that unites the creative forces of FIU, with the SJMC becoming the School of Communication + Journalism (SCJ).

This strategic partnership facilitates collaborative opportunities across disciplines specifically in the areas of graphic and 3-D design, animation, artistic expression, and communication arts. The newly integrated college is led by Dr. Brian Schriner, Dean of CARTA since 2011. Dr. Juliet Pinto, Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting, will serve as the Interim Executive Director of the new College at the Biscayne Bay Campus.

“CARTA is a perfect home for the SCJ. As a hub for cutting edge design, arts, community and engagement, it also is a place focused on improving global industry, expression and collaboration. Communication in all its forms is inherently interdisciplinary, and our efforts at the SCJ are in perfect sync with CARTA’s endeavors.” Pinto explained.

The new college will foster interdisciplinary research and degree offerings aimed at better preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century’s information, technology, and innovation economies. In fact, a primary objective of the new college is to lead the nation in developing unique learning opportunities and trans-disciplinary degree programs, while also becoming an integral voice in the national STEM to STEAM discussion.

Other key goals are to increase strategic enrollment at the undergraduate and graduate levels and to improve student retention and time-to-graduation rates. There will be a concerted effort to expand career services and improve resources available to help students find employment upon graduation. The new college will also focus on increasing the numbers of faculty and enhancing the level of support they receive in the areas of teaching and research. The Biscayne Bay Campus is set to experience an increase in performances, exhibitions, and course offerings in the visual and performing arts throughout its facilities due to the integration.

The SCJ will be divided into two departments, with the Department of Communication led by Chair María Elena Villar, and the Department of Journalism + Media led by Chair Theresa Ponte.

“The SJMC and CARTA have both been defined by our commitment to provide students with the most innovative, cutting-edge curriculum designed to prepare them for success upon graduation,” said Dean Schriner. “This integration is a logical and exciting progression of that commitment and will result in a unique, national brand exemplifying the very best FIU has to offer!”

To learn more about the new college, please visit our new website

María Elena Villar is the chair associate professor in the Department of Communication and teaches courses in communication theory, research methods, multicultural communication, and advanced seminars in strategic communications. She holds a doctorate in communications and master’s in public health from the University of Miami, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University. Her research focuses on culturally competent communication for social and behavioral change, and on strategic communication for diverse audiences. In her career as a researcher, Dr. Villar has focused on diverse topics that range from culture and communication, social determinants of disease and health, domestic and sexual violence prevention, stigma related to HIV, mental health and drug abuse, evaluation of program outcomes, and communication for social change.

Teresa Ponte, J.D., is the chair and associate professor in the Department of Journalism + Media. She is an award-winning journalist with a 25-year career working at CBS News, NBC News and Telemundo Network among other media organizations. She specialized in covering Latin America and the southeastern U.S. Teresa joined Florida International University 16 years ago leading the broadcast journalism sequence and has taken an active role in modifying the department’s curriculum to include visual literacy, multimedia production and digital skills. She co-founded the award-winning South Florida News Service, a student produced bilingual digital-first news organization.

Juliet Pinto, Ph.D., is the Interim Executive Director and an associate professor in the Department of Journalism + Media in the School of Communication + Journalism. Dr. Pinto studies environmental communication in Spanish- and English-language media. She has developed classes in environmental journalism and communication, and has taken students to the Galapagos to report on issues pertaining to resource use and management, as well as filmed NASA astronauts train at the underwater Aquarius Reef Base in the Florida Keys. Her award-winning documentary on sea level rise, “South Florida’s Rising Seas,” aired in January 2014 and was repurposed by PBS NewsHour for their national newscast, as well as featured in the Sun-Sentinel and Miami Herald.

Brian Schriner has over 25 years of higher education teaching and administrative experience.

Under Brian’s leadership as Dean and the faculty members’ expertise, the College of Communication, Architecture, + The Arts’ (CARTA) academic programs have ascended to national prominence with a trans-disciplinary mission to prepare graduates for the information, innovation, and cultural economy of the 21st century.

In five years, Brian has strategically grown the College from 1,100 students to more than 4,000 students and from 90 full-time faculty members to 125. He has also raised over $23M in philanthropy and auxiliary revenues in support of the College’s students and he doubled the College’s total annual revenues to more than $26M. In support of the College’s engaged mission, in 2011 Brian expanded the College to Miami Beach and launched CARTA | Miami Beach Urban Studios in the iconic 420 Building on Lincoln Road.

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