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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES PREPARE WORKFORCE FOR TOURISM, FILM INDUSTRIES

10/21/2019 - Jackson, Miss.

The Mississippi Development Authority includes Tourism and Film among its target sectors and both continue to grow with additional focus and incentives brought to bear on the industries. Mississippi Public Universities are training the workforce to work in both tourism and the film industry.

The University of Mississippi's Nutrition and Hospitality Management program provides students with hands-on experience in all facets of restaurant operations with a 40-seat teaching laboratory located in Lenoir Hall. Throughout the semester, students rotate through various positions, ranging from service and cooking to management functions, within the organization. Members of the public are invited to dine at Lenoir Hall throughout the week and evaluate students to help them improve their skills and increase their knowledge of the food service industry.

The University of Mississippi students who plan to work behind the camera and serve as the next generation of storytellers have the opportunity to participate in the Southern Documentary Project, SouthDocs, which produces short and feature length documentary films with partners like the Southern Foodways Alliance and radio programs such as "Highway 61? and "Sounds of the South." SouthDocs teaches classes in Southern Studies, Journalism, and the Cinema program and provides internships to UM students.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) offers a hospitality and tourism management program that cultivates advanced professional skills and operational capabilities for success in the industry. USM is one of a few institutions in the nation to offer a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in hospitality and tourism management with three emphasis areas: hotel, casino, and resort management; food and beverage management; and event management. Individuals also have the option of pursing a casino management certificate that is endorsed by the Mississippi Casino Operators Association. Available online, the certificate features a business-education partnership instructional model, iPASS® (Industry Professionals Assistance in Student Success).

Unique among Mississippi's public universities, USM also offers a film program. The Bachelor of Arts in media and entertainment arts (film) prepares students for the multibillion-dollar industry by offering a comprehensive curriculum that reflects the multidisciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinary approach necessary for success across the media and entertainments arts and other collaborative arts and sciences, including video production and arts, sound and recording arts, interactive and emerging media, visual and performing arts, computer and electrical technology, and business.

For more than three years, USM has also partnered with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) to offer a Film Studies Pathway, an academic pathway that leads MGCCC students to a bachelor's degree in the entertainment industry with an emphasis in film from USM.

At Delta State University, the Odelier-Morgan Building is home to the new Digital Media Art Center (DMAC), a 6,000 square-foot collaborative space between the Art Department and the Delta Music Institute (DMI)—and designed to be the hub of creative storytelling in the Mississippi Delta. DMAC contains a state-of-the-art Mac lab, enhanced video production facilities, a green screen area, and a voiceover booth. It will also house a digital maker's space with laser cutters and 3D printers.

With these facilities and equipment available, Delta State will offer more 2D animation courses and debut 3D animation courses. The Art Department collaboration with DMI is starting with voiceover capabilities for game design, animation, and video production, helping students learn to combine audio and visual techniques.

Students pursuing a B.F.A. in digital media arts and a B.S. in entertainment industry studies will use the DMAC (and Delta Music Institute) to develop hands-on video, audio, and computer-based communication skills—building blocks for career opportunities in the creative economy, including music, film, and cultural tourism. The combination of DMI's state-of-the-art audio facilities with the Art Department's video concentration and upcoming animation concentration has the potential to provide an education on par with top programs in the country and is already drawing interest from potential students and industry professionals.

Upon approval from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Delta State University will be the only public institution to offer an animation concentration. This unique concentration, within the BFA in digital media arts, will provide students exposure to this multifaceted career, such as timing, organic mesh design and modeling, rigging, kinematics, and background design. Students will graduate with the ability to develop an animated sequence for a short film. Mansoor Shams, DSU's new assistant professor of animation, has worked for top animation studios, such as Warner Brother, Fox TV Animation, and Nelvana, with credits including the movie Space Jam and Batman: The Animated Series.

Jackson State University students are well-prepared for either side of the camera or stage, recently competing at the MADDRAMA 2019 National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts Conference in Baltimore, Md. and winning first and second place honors in every competitive category entered. JSU's performance troupe went up against Albany State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Grambling State University, Morgan State University, North Carolina Central.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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