Getting Creative

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By Astoria Luzzi

After five years of planning and development, Ryerson University is set to launch a new undergraduate program in the fall of 2013 that mixes business with the arts.

Titled creative industries, the program is the first of its kind in Canada as it aims to equip students who have an interest in creative arts with an entrepreneurial background.

Looking to create a hybrid program, Ryerson turned to Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia for program development inspiration. While QUT dedicates an entire faculty to the study of creative industries, Ira Levine, the project director for creative industries at Ryerson, says that the curriculum formats differ by creating pathways to other specialized programs in the faculty of communication and design (FCAD).

The introduction to business studies will give students the chance to pair artistic industry management with a foundation in creative skills and theories.

“The structure of [creative industries] is that students will be able to take courses in all of the professional schools in the faculty,” said Levine.

The unique structure of the new program caught the attention of Anthony Pazzano, a first-year student at Ryerson who dropped out of Business Management and is struggling to choose a different career path next fall.

A few weeks into his original program, Pazzano decided that it didn’t offer what he had hoped it would.

“Accounting isn’t my forte and the business program seemed to be catered towards students with strong accounting skills who enjoyed number crunching,” he said.

After hearing about the new program, Pazzano said it will be one of his top choices when changing programs next fall.

“I want a career that is creative but still practical,” he said.

Levine feels the new program will attract students like Pazzano who wish to combine their skills, or who are not quite clear on what aspect of the industry they want to pursue as a career.

“They need a more interdisciplinary approach to start with or [they] are quite keen on working in a business or management or communications related job but want to do it within one of the creative fields,” he said.

Whereas other FCAD programs offer a more production-oriented experience, creative industries will balance that with teaching management skills and creative entrepreneurship.

However, students who take the creative industries program will have to graduate with at least ten business-related courses.

But unlike other FCAD programs that require an essay or portfolio, the creative industries program only requires a minimum 70 per cent average in a grade 12 university-level English course and recommends that students complete an upper level business or fine arts course or have some understanding of the fields before taking the program.

Brian Damude, interim associate dean of faculty and student affairs for FCAD says there are no concerns that the program will detract interest from other schools in FCAD.

“It may actually help,” he said. “There is so much demand that it may help people choose more carefully.”

With files from Philip Santos.

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