Chair's Message - May 14, 2020

Thursday, May 14, 2020
Dear BECA Students,
Many of you have heard the news that in order to safeguard public health, the California State University is planning to convert the majority of its classes to distance learning for the Fall semester. Although BECA faculty are very disappointed by this news, we share the university's commitment to our students' well being. Your health and safety are extremely important to us. While distance learning is not the method we prefer, we are determined to maintain an engaged and supportive BECA community and to continue providing an excellent learning environment for our students.
We were all blindsided by the crisis and abrupt conversion mid-semester. Since then, we have been working diligently to adapt our coursework on the fly. In accordance with CSU directives, BECA faculty are now analyzing our Fall curriculum to convert it to quality distance learning during this period. The majority of our schedule will still be offered in Fall, but some studio production classes that can only be taught in person may be rescheduled for the Spring 2021 semester. Meanwhile, there is a small chance that the CSU may permit us to teach one or two production courses face-to-face this Fall, but this is very uncertain because CSU safety and social distancing requirements are still being finalized.
While the Spring semester has been challenging for all of us, we have learned a great deal about what we can do to enhance BECA's approach to distance learning. We will build on these lessons next semester. The department's vast network of successful alumni have joined many online class discussions to share their perspectives on current developments in the media and to give career building tips. Distance learning has provided even greater opportunities for students and industry guests to discuss ideas and work on projects together from different locations around the world. Our faculty have been participating in workshops and seminars about enhanced techniques for increasing student engagement in online activities. Of course there is always room for improvement. Perfect control of the Zoom’s Mute/Unmute function continues to elude us at times. But "pobody's nerfect."
I want to highlight some important resources for BECA students:
  • Enrolled BECA majors will be given free student licenses for the Adobe Creative Suite for the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • SFSU has purchased many more new laptops that students will be able to check out next semester.
  • BECA is assembling check out kits for students enrolled in production courses that will help to extend their remote production capabilities during this distance learning period.
  • BECA is planning more production experience opportunities for next Spring to compensate for missing studio production elements from this Spring and Fall 2020.
I also want to shine the spotlight on BECA's faculty and staff. As students, you rarely get to see behind the scenes in our department. Our BECA team brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and conviction that continues to impress me every day. I have seen and heard their concern for you firsthand, or at least "virtualhand". It has provided me with a continual reminder of why we are here. For you, the students of BECA.
BECA is a media storytelling department, and while we miss our studios and equipment, our true strength is our community: Our faculty who provide dynamic, current material to encourage us all to think creatively and critically about what we can accomplish with media;
Our staff who work tirelessly to build and support a welcoming, robust learning environment; Our alumni who return to BECA to share their impressive experiences from the industry with us; and You the current students who are the next generation, bringing new ideas and perspective to our industry.
These are challenging times. This is difficult. This is hard. But I am confident that our students, faculty and alumni will continue to thrive if we lean on each other. No one accepts distance learning as the "new normal" for SFSU. BECA faculty are eager to return to the classroom and see you in person again. For the time being, we look forward to collaborating with you virtually.

Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones!

Sami Reist

Chair, Broadcast & Electronic Communication Arts