New degree launched at Vol State

Volunteer State Community College has a new degree program in Entertainment Media Production that starts this coming spring semester. Entertainment Media Production combines several areas with the same purpose: to get students trained and plugged into the entertainment industry in Tennessee. Tracks include concentrations in audio and music production, music business, multimedia and web design, and video production. The program offers certificates, which are designed to get students into the workplace. Those certificates can then apply towards a new associate of applied science degree.

An advisory board of industry professionals helped to put the program together. Partnerships with entertainment businesses in the area will be an important part of the study for students. The bigger vision behind the new program is to create a college version of Music Row—a set of student teams working together on a music project, forging a creative synergy.

“We’re developing a recording label that will combine student work in all parts of the music business from recording, video, legal, promotions, and web design.” said Steve Bishir, director of Entertainment Media Industry Programs. “It’s a real-world application to combine all of the stuff students have been working on. The students will have a portfolio, and perhaps more importantly the experience of working as a team, so if they do end up working on music row, or elsewhere in the business, they have that experience.”

The result is called a capstone experience because it provides a way for students to combine many of the skills they have learned and ideas they have developed during college in one creative package. The product could be an entire artist development campaign for a singer/songwriter with a recording, video, website and promotion.

“The web design people will need video and they’ll get that from the video production students,” Bishir said. “They’ll get a lot of cross-pollination.”

Students will be using industry grade equipment in the Vol State recording and television studios. Web designers will use Adobe design software and perhaps more importantly than any one particular brand, they will learn the fundamentals of coding with HTML and (55, which will help them understand the foundation of all web design software. The faculty members bring years of experience and many industry connections to the program. Bishir is a five-time Grammy Award winner and has worked on more than 120 number one singles in audio production.

Interested people can apply to the college now. Spring classes start January 17.

For more information about the program visit the official website at