Kingston, Rhode Island



March 8, 2001

Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee

Three Hundred and Ninety-Fifth Report


Proposal for a Bachelor of Arts Degree

Major in Film and Screen Studies






The Curricular Affairs Committee approved the proposal for a B. A. degree major in Film and Screen Studies and voted to recommend approval at the Class C level (recommends funding of the proposed new program should additional funds be made available to the University). The proposed major will be offered and administered through the College of Arts and Sciences and directed by a faculty member holding a teaching appointment in the College of Arts and Sciences. Two new 400-level courses are proposed as part of the program. All other courses in the proposed major are existing courses that are offered by the program, the College of Arts and Sciences and the University.


Courses in Film Studies have been taught at the University of Rhode Island since 1975 and an interdisciplinary minor has been available since 1993. Currently Film Studies courses are taught by at least fifteen individuals and offered by ten departments. Consistent with national and international trends, enrollment in film studies courses at URI has steadily increased. The number of students taking the minor has likewise seen an increase, with more and more students asking for the addition of a major.

The proposal for a Bachelor of Arts major in Film and Screen Studies was reviewed under the process established by the Faculty Senate in 1996-97. Under the review procedures, the Curricular Affairs Committee served as a coordinating and review committee and asked the Joint Educational Policy Committee and the Council of Deans to review the proposal and make recommendations. The Graduate Council and Council for Research were invited to comment but did not do so. The CAC also asked the Budget Office to review the financial implications of the proposal as part of the new procedure.

In the Budget Office review, Budget Director Linda Barrett stated that the proposed major would, for the most part, be built around a director's position, ad hoc lecturers, office support staff, library materials, educational supplies, equipment and space that already exist. With regard to new expenditures, Ms. Barrett reported that the projected faculty salary should be revised upwardly, bringing the request (including operating needs) to $58,500 for the first year, $64,700 for year two and $64,900 for year three. She further explained that the third year was probably underestimated because "no raise had been included in the third year projected faculty salary due to contract negotiations." Ms. Barrett further reported that the director had "indicated that the requested additional funding is essential to the initial startup and ongoing success of the program."

The Council of Deans reviewed the proposal on January 10, 2001. In his memorandum to the Curricular Affairs Committee, Vice Provost Lord noted that the Council was generally supportive of the program, recognizing that it is "likely to draw new students to the University rather than merely attract students who are otherwise already matriculated." Vice Provost Lord reported that Vice Provost Gandel had expressed concern that "for the long-run viability of the program, moving to some less expensive means of delivery will be very important." Vice Provost Lord also indicated that possible issues of overlap with Rhode Island College would have to be addressed as the proposal moves through the approval process.

The Joint Educational Policy Committee reviewed the proposal on February 15. Provost Swan, writing on behalf of the JEPC reported that the committee had been enthusiastic about the proposed degree, but had raised questions regarding the allocation of University-wide resources for additional faculty and staff. In her memorandum, the Provost said that some members of the JEPC had suggested that the Curricular Affairs Committee postpone action on the proposal "to allow the University to evaluate all programs in terms of their cost and consider reallocation of existing funds." She also noted that the JEPC had acknowledged that the proposed B.A. major in Film and Screen Studies offers an opportunity for fundraising and had suggested that "an endowment could support the program and/or support a chair/faculty position."

The Curricular Affairs Committee discussed the proposal, along with the comments from the Budget Director, the Council of Deans and the Joint Educational Policy Committee, with the program director. After consideration, the CAC voted to recommend approval of the proposed B. A. major in Film and Screen Studies with the stipulation that the program be funded if additional funds are made available to the University.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



The Curricular Affairs Committee approved the following proposal for a new Bachelor of Arts Degree major in Film and Screen Studies at its meeting of February 26, 2001. It is now presented to the Faculty Senate for approval at the Class C Level - - to be funded should additional funds be made available to the University. The proposal is in the format required by the Board of Governors for Higher Education.





1. Name of Institution: The University of Rhode Island

2. College: College of Arts & Sciences

3. Title of Proposed Program: Film and Screen Studies

4. Intended date of initiation: Academic year following approval

5. Intended Location: University of Rhode Island, Kingston

6. Anticipated date of first degree: Two years after date of initiation

7. Institutional review and approval process:

Film Studies Committee


Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences


Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee


Faculty Senate


President of the University


8. Summary

The objective of the Film and Screen Studies Program is to develop an interdisciplinary degree drawing on disciplines in the arts, humanities, foreign languages and communications. The program will contribute to the University's long range goal of integrating service, teaching and scholarly inquiry by providing an opportunity for the investigation of film within its broader aesthetic, literary and cultural contexts. The program will do so by offering a wide range of courses which will acquaint students with the ways and means of production, distribution and exhibition of cinema (and video), and which will require them to examine the historical and theoretical approaches to this field of study. A broad understanding is seen as essential because film itself has become increasingly an international and global enterprise. The program involves modest new expenditures and projects a positive tuition-to-expenses ratio.

9. Signature of the President _________________________________

10. Persons to be contacted during the review:

Jerry DeSchepper, Director

Blair M. Lord, Vice Provost

Film Studies

Academic Affairs

Independence Hall

Carlotti Building




In 1975 with the addition of Professor Marjorie Keller (a filmmaker) to the Art Department and the advent of the first film courses on campus (English 300: Literature into Film and ITL315: Italian Cinema) the Program in Film Studies was established with the full support of Dean Barry Marks of the College of Arts & Sciences. From the first, the program was overseen by the Arts and Sciences Film Studies Committee and given its own budget. Until the early 1990s the committee was composed of five faculty members who taught film courses in the departments of Art, English, History, and Languages as well as an ex-officio representative from the Audio-Visual Center (now Instructional Technology & Media Services).

By 1995 the number of faculty teaching film courses had expanded to twelveand the number of departments eager to participate in the program had expanded to nine, including the addition of African and Afro-American Studies, Communication Studies, Honors, Journalism, and Women's Studies. So, in 1995 the committee membership was increased to include all those teaching film courses and voting privileges extended to each department and program participating.

As the committee's cinematic and video text holdings increased beyond storage capacity in 1993 the committee donated them to the Library to be housed in the Media Resource Center under the direction of the Media Resource Center Librarian; thus, cinematic text holdings were consolidated.

As courses expanded and enrollments increased, an interdisciplinary Film Studies Minor Concentration was initiated in 1993--an 18-credit program requiring completion of courses in which film or video are the primary texts of study. Students taking the minor have considerable latitude in choosing courses offered by various academic departments, but must select at least one course in each of three areas: the aesthetic, the cultural and the literary.

By 1996 the Film Studies Faculty had become substantially involved in research and publication as well as teaching. At this time a survey of the library holdings of books and journals in the field was undertaken. As a result, the collection was upgraded and regular funding for library acquisitions was gained as well.

2000 the Dean of Arts & Sciences made a commitment to the Film Studies program by appointing a Director to a three year term to oversee the development of a Film Studies Major. As work has proceeded on this new major, the faculty of the Arts & Sciences Film Studies Committee are agreed that the Minor --because of its interdisciplinary nature and its interdepartmental structure--provides a useful model to build upon.


* that film studies would be integrated into the traditional curriculum; specifically that it would lead to a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Arts & Sciences.

* that the program drawing on the arts, humanities, foreign languages and communications would be truly interdisciplinary in nature, and would include in its core interdisciplinary seminars.

* that the program include an applied experience such as would be gained through enrollment in production courses, as well as opportunities for internship work.

* that the program build upon existing faculty expertise in film studies at the University, and make use of joint appointments in achieving its cross- and interdisciplinary purpose.

* that the program incorporate existing University curricula in film studies, specifically the courses of the minor with their aesthetic, literary and cultural approaches.

* that additional courses be developed to provide a firm intellectual foundation for the major, including core courses in the history and theory of film and interdisciplinary methodology.

* that the program sponsor film studies related lectures, workshops, conferences and the like, in collaboration with other academic departments and institutions of higher education, for students and for the community.

* that the program complement, rather than compete with, the program at Rhode Island College--through a curriculum which would allow easy transfer of core credits between schools yet would enable students to pursue quite different academic and career goals at their respective institutions.


National and international trends in film and the rapid development of new media indicate a growing demand for individuals fluent in the field of film and screen studies. This expanding interest has been reflected in recent enrollment figures at URI. In the Fall, 1999, term enrollments in film studies courses passed 200, and by Spring, 2000, they had reached 245. The number of students taking the Minor has likewise seen an increase, with more and more students asking for the addition of a Major.

The study of film at URI occurs within the experience of a broader undergraduate education, both within the College of Arts & Sciences and in other colleges in the university. Thus students majoring in film studies would have the opportunity to bring with them knowledge from a wide range of diverse areas of study-- marine affairs, business or biological sciences for example as well as the humanities. Conversely, they could apply their understanding of film and media to various areas of specialization, which they could also study at the University.

A degree in film studies prepares students to initiate careers in fields such as film and media criticism, production, advertising, or as independent fine artists. A clear grasp of the underlying principles of filmmaking provides the essential foundation for careers in a range of new media studies and/or production too, including computer animation, interactive media, and virtual reality. Endorsements received from the professional filmmaking community support this program proposal and may provide crucial links to the industry for training and employment opportunities; these connections would be likely to significantly enhance the research capabilities of the program as well. Supporting letters (from: Michael Corrente, Film Director, "Federal Hill," "American Buffalo," "Outside Providence;" Morton Smith, Independent Film Producer, "Hitting the Wall;" George Marshall, Executive Director of RI International Film Festival, RI; Scott Randall, President of Media Designs, NYC; and Fred Joyal, Writer, Actor and Independent Film Producer, "Gentleman B." and key supporter of the URI Film Festival) are on file in the Film Studies office.

Students who wish to pursue advanced studies will have an appropriate background for applying to graduate schools for either a Master of Arts or Ph.D. program in film studies, or for an MFA program in media production.


Film studies is not new to the University of Rhode Island. As noted above courses have taught since 1975 and a Minor in this field has been available since 1993; over the years students have been enrolling in some dozen different courses from as many as six different academic departments. As enrollments have grown, and demand from students for further opportunities of study has increased, the program has expanded to the point where there are now 18 approved courses in film studies in the curriculum. The number of participating faculty and departments has likewise grown. Currently 10 departments have film studies courses, and upwards of 15 individuals are teaching these courses. In short the growth of the program has been significant, and its development has been underway for some time. Most importantly the efforts to build the program have been highly collaborative, involving regular interaction of faculty from various academic backgrounds. Enthusiasm for the program within the academic community has been and continues to be high; this includes the support of the Dean of Arts & Sciences who has been a consistent and forceful advocate of film studies. The proposed major represents an integrated approach to the discipline of film studies.


Catalog copy. This interdepartmental program in the College of Arts and Sciences leads to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Film Studies. Drawing on faculty expertise from a number of academic departments the program offers students a broad interdisciplinary approach to the aesthetic, literary and cultural study of film.

Students selecting this field must complete a minimum of 30 credits (maximum 45 credits), including a specific list of required core courses (15 credits) and at least five film studies electives (15 credits). The core courses are FLM101, 201, 203, and 495; plus one production course to be selected from the list given below (production courses are designated by an asterisk). The 5 electives toward the major must also be selected from the list of film studies courses below. The wide range of film studies electives permits students, working with an advisor, to design a major that will meet both personal and career goals. The film studies electives component requires advance approval from the student's academic advisor. Experimental courses and special topics or other irregular courses in film may be also be used toward the elective requirement if approved through the program's petition process. A total of 120 credits is required for graduation.

Film Studies Courses

Core courses

FLM101 Introduction to Film and Screen Studies (3)

FLM201 History of Film (3)

FLM203 Film Theory (3)

FLM495 Seminar in Film Studies (3) NEW COURSE


Plus one production course* from the list below.


Elective Courses

AAF352 Black Images in Film (3)

ARH374 Topics in Film (3)

ARH376 History of Animation (3)

ARH377 History of Experimental Film (3)

ART215* Video and Filmmaking I (3)

ART303H*Video Art (3)

ART316* Video and Filmmaking II (3)

COM341* Documentary Pre-Production (3)

COM342* Documentary Production (3)

COM445 Television Advertising (3)

ENG300A Literature into Film: Drama (3)

ENG300B Literature into Film: Narrative (3)

ENG302 Topics in Film Theory and Criticism (3)

ENG303 Cinematic Auteurs (3)

ENG304 Film Genres (3)

FLM401 Field Experience in Film Studies (3) NEW COURSE

FRN320 Studies in French Cinema (3)

HIS358 Recent America in Film (3)

ITL315 Italian Cinema (3)


Special Topics Courses (examples)

CLS450N Studies in Comparative Literature: Hispanic Stereotypes in Fiction and Film (3)

HPR105F Honors Study: Understanding the Feature Film (3)

HPR311H Honors Tutorial: Images of Masculinity in American Cinema (3)

HPR311J Rebel Images in American Films (3)

HPR312H Honors Tutorial: Film Theory and Criticism (3)

WMS350F Special Topics in Women's Studies: Women and Film (3)

Sample worksheet

Core courses

Film studies electives

FLM101 Introduction


ENG304 Film Genres


FLM201 Film History


ITL315 Italian Cinema


ART215 Filmmaking


ARH376 History of Animation


FLM203 Film Theory


WMS350F Women & Film


FLM495 Film Seminar


FLM 401 Field Experience




New Courses.

* FLM495 Seminar in Film Studies (3). An Intensive, interdisciplinary capstone course; exploring writings and ideas about film across two or more fields of study; or examining cross-cultural themes and issues in world cinema. Topic to be announced. (Seminar) Pre: 201 and 203 or permission of instructor.

* FLM401 Field Experience in Film Studies (1-6) Structured academic work in a business, industry, educational or agency setting under the supervision of a faculty advisor. (Practicum) Pre: permission of faculty advisor.


The only other film studies program in the state is at Rhode Island College. The URI program is not expected to replicate nor to compete with the one at RIC. As determined through meetings between the Deans of Arts & Sciences at the two institutions, as well as their faculty representatives, the programs are sufficiently different in their aims and goals that any unnecessary duplication of effort would be unlikely to occur. Many of the faculty members of the two schools know each other and have worked together on film-related activities informally for a number of years. Most likely there will be an increase in cooperation with more structured collaborations possible.

The Community College of Rhode Island offers some course work in film studies but does not have an Associate's degree in the subject. The Rhode Island School of Design has a program in film, but it is production-based, and Brown University has a related but more broadly defined program in media studies. Of the state universities in New England only the University of Connecticut currently offers an undergraduate degree in film studies.


1. Administration

The Program will be administered by a Director having faculty rank and holding a teaching appointment in the College. The current Director of film studies is Dr. Gerald DeSchepper. Clerical and general office support as well as office space for the Director is currently being provided for the program by the College of Arts & Sciences.

2. Faculty

The following faculty currently teach film studies courses:

Mary Conlon, M.A., Communication Studies (Adjunct Assistant Professor)

Nancy S. Cook, Ph.D., English (Associate Professor)

Gerald R. DeSchepper, Ph.D., Art (Adjunct Professor)

Patrick Devlin, Ph.D., Communication Studies (Professor)

Alain-Philippe Durand, Ph.D., French (Assistant Professor)

Gitahi Gititi, Ph.D., English and Afro-American Studies (Associate Professor)

Don R. Kunz, Ph.D., English (Professor)

John Leo, Ph.D., English (Professor)

Ronald J. Onorato, Ph.D., Art (Professor)

Lori Reed, Ph.D., Communication Studies (Assistant Professor)

Catherine Sama, Ph.D., Modern and Classical Languages (Assistant Professor)

Sharon H. Strom, Ph.D., History and Women's Studies (Professor)

Paschal Viglionese, Ph.D., Italian (Professor)

Jean Walton, Ph.D., English (Associate Professor)

Sheri Wills, M.F.A., Art (Assistant Professor)

Thomas R. Zorabedian, Ed.D., Communication Studies (Adjunct Asst. Professor)

In addition a number of faculty teach courses in film topics (e.g., the Honors Program, Women's Studies, etc.), and some per-course instructors are hired for the introductory classes and for sections at the College of Continuing Education. Additional faculty will need to be recruited once the program is installed to teach the core courses; an RFP for a film studies position has been submitted to the Dean of Arts & Sciences, as well as a joint-proposal (with Communication Studies) for an ad hoc lecturer to be shared.

Staffing needs for the Film Studies Seminar (FLM495) deserve special mention. Because of its interdisciplinary nature and its crucial position in the curriculum this course should be either team-taught by faculty from different fields or taught by a single faculty member qualified to take an interdisciplinary approach. As for resources, the head of the film studies program would be the instructor if taught singly or would be one of the members in a team staffing configuration. Additional team members would be recruited from the faculty along the lines of the model used by the Honors Program; i.e., through release time or on a compensated overload basis. Chairpersons of participating departments have endorsed the former and funding for the latter is built into the budget of this proposal.

3. Library

The URI library holdings are adequate for basic undergraduate research in many areas of specialization. The collection has most of the fundamental texts in film theory and film history, although holdings need to be built up somewhat for the Silent Era. The library also has extensive holdings of cinematic texts (film titles) in its Media Resource Center, numbering above 5000 at this time, including VHS, LVD,DVD and 16mm formats.

There are several areas where the collection is at a level suitable for advanced undergraduate research, and there are a few narrow areas where the collection has served the needs of graduate students (in English) who have pursued research in film studies. Areas of strength include: feminism in film, gender and film, queer studies and film, film adaptation and auteur theory. Overall the collection is strongest in American film, and there are modest collections in the national cinemas of France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan and the former Soviet Union.

Those areas that need to be developed to fully sustain the program are in the areas of production, distribution, exhibition and technology. More books are needed too that analyze traditions outside the studio system in Hollywood, especially in the areas of experimental and avant garde film, animation, documentary and independent filmmaking. The URI library has recently made a commitment to work with the Film Studies Committee to bolster the collection in order to meet the needs of the additional courses being created for the Major and is in the process of compiling and coordinating lists for acquisition .

4. Facilities and Equipment

Screening and Viewing. Adequate space and equipment are currently available and will require maintenance and upgrading over time (ITMS should be able to continue helping the program meet those basic technology requirements). Currently, three venues are appropriate for the screening of 16mm: Independence Hall Screening Room, BISC Auditorium and the Fine Arts Screening Room. Venues capable of delivering video images (and usually 35mm slides, too) include: Chafee auditoria (271, 273, 275, 277), BioScience Auditorium, Fine Arts 201F, 202A, Independence Auditorium and White Hall Auditorium. The Shepard Building in Providence is equipped to deliver video, 16mm and slides

Production. The proposed major is not a production-based program; only one production course is required (although some students may opt to add more). All of the courses in this proposal, designated as "production courses," are currently being offered regularly at URI. For example, Art has film production and film and audio editing equipment, Journalism has video camera and video and audio edition equipment, and Communication Studies has video camera and video and audio editing equipment. These departments will continue to support their own equipment used in classes for their own majors and for film studies majors. Production equipment does need qualified support staff and technical services, the most efficient model being a building-based technician (as in Independence Hall).

Individual departments associated with Film Studies contribute to the overall availability of facilities and equipment. If higher than anticipated enrollments should warrant adding facilities in the future the greater revenues generated by expansion should justify the costs. It should be noted too that not all new laboratory courses would be costly to mount (scriptwriting and directing are possibilities being considered). The current status of facilities and equipment, while not ideal, is satisfactory and would not require new nor additional investments to deliver a major in Film Studies.

5. Operating Expenses

See Appendix

6. Scholarships and Fellowships

None specifically designed for Film Studies majors on campus.

7. Differential Tuition

No differential tuition is involved.

8. Expenditure and Revenue Estimates

See Appendix


The Director of the Film Studies Program files a report with the Dean of Arts & Sciences on the activities and status of the program at the end of each academic year. Additionally the program is subject to the normal review processes of the University.



Model Budget Form


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Personnel Services

Non-classified Personnel*






Tenure-track position




Ad hoc lecturer (50%)*




Classified Personnel (50%)*

(secretarial support)




Student Help

(work study support)




Temporary Lecturers*

($2807 per course)




Graduate Assistantships




Total Personnel Budget




Operating Expenses

Lecture Series




Postage & Telephone



Office Expenses




Equipment Rental & Expenses**




Educational Supplies*

(including film/video titles & software)




Total Operating Budget








Currently budgeted




New Expenditures




Note: no provisions for raises are included, which are subject to contractual negotiations.

*These items are in the current film studies budget, and are not new expenses.

**Office equipment only (ITMS maintains screening and production facilities and equipment).