Creative Studio at Champlain Enhances Experiential Learning

Students and faculty within the Champlain College Division of Communication & Creative Media are collaborating in a new Creative Studio.

The Creative Studio offers opportunity for connection, collaboration, creativity, and cross-disciplinary work among specific majors. These majors include: Broadcast Media Production, Communication, Creative Media, Filmmaking, Graphic Design & Visual Communication, Interaction Design, Marketing Communication, and Professional Writing.

A sticker reading "Champlain College Creative Studio"
Attend a Creative Studio event and grab a sticker, designed by Champlain Graphic Design & Visual Communication students.

Creative Studio program directors came together last year and met weekly during the 2020-2021 school year to brainstorm and develop a plan of what the Creative Studio could be.

Tanya Stone, Program Director of Champlain’s Professional Writing major, explained the benefits of cross-major work.

“Fostering a model that reflects the industries that our creative students are going into offers interdisciplinary and experiential opportunities, and creates a cultural and collective identity amongst all of these creative majors,” Stone said. “This studio will better mirror the industries our creative majors are going into and therefore better prepare them for those jobs.”

A student inspects a filmstrip.
Students from Champlain’s creative majors collaborate on projects both on campus and in the community.

“It’s really important that students know the work they create matters, not just to them and their artistic expression, but that they’re also creating content that communicates a message [to the outside world],” says Dr. Van Dora Williams, Program Director of our Broadcast Media Production major.

The Creative Studio has already hosted several events since the beginning of the fall 2021 semester. Their first event was a pizza party, inviting first-year and transfer students to the studio. Then on October 4, award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson visited the University of Vermont to speak to Champlain, UVM, and St. Michael’s College students and faculty. Students from the Creative Studio attended the event together and had the chance to meet an industry professional and network with students from other colleges. 

In November, Emily Cohen, Business Consultant and author of Brutally Honest, visited Champlain and taught students in creative fields how to differentiate their skill sets and strengths. Again, students interacted with an expert industry professional and learned tactics that will better help them advance their careers as they search for internships and job opportunities.

A creative resource is pictured on campus
The Creative Studio encourages students to take advantage of the many different creative resources that are available on campus.

In October, Jonathan Mikulak, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design & Visual Communication, was appointed Director of the Creative Studio. After surveying Creative Studio students, Mikulak formed a student advisory group to help create the identity of the studio, generate ideas, and get student feedback. Each major nominated one student to participate, and they have begun collaborating with Mikulak and the program directors to think about what type of projects and experiential learning opportunities will engage both students and faculty from across Champlain’s creative community.

Broadcast Media Production major Isabel Schonemann ‘21 is one of the main ambassadors of the student advisory board.

“CCM students will be able to see and learn from points of view other than their own, which is definitely relative to the real world. I think collaboration, in general, can help anyone’s future career,” Schonemann explained. “Personally, I have taken classes on social media marketing, content creating, news writing, and graphic design; this helps to create a well-rounded education and works to strengthen your skills as a whole.”

A student works hands-on with creative tools.
Hands-on learning is essential to the Creative Studio’s mission.

There are many different projects students can collaborate on through the Creative Studio. For example, let’s say that a Filmmaking student is working on their senior film. Through the Studio, they could enlist the help of a Professional Writing student to assist them with their script. A Communication student could help create a promotion plan, spanning from a press release to social media posts, and a Graphic Design & Visual Communication student could create the movie poster. Broadcast Media Production students would be on hand to help with production, and Creative Media students would be pushing creative boundaries and helping express the art in new ways. Creative minds working together like this helps break down silos and encourages meaningful collaboration.

Schonemann, like many other students, wants to have an abundance of experience before she graduates, and the Creative Studio is available to help provide that experiential learning to students. The Studio aims to foster new excitement, innovation, and collaboration within the Division of Communication & Creative Media (CCM).

Interested in learning more about the majors within our CCM Division? Find more information on our website or at an open house!

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