Santa Fe's Institute of American Indian Arts announced today that third- and fourth-year students who intend to participate in its new Broadcast Journalism Certificate program might be eligible for $10,000 scholarships as part of a partnership with NBCUniversal News Group's NBCU Academy Program.
"[The certificate] is very new," says IAIA's Chair of Cinematic Arts & Technology Department, James Lujan (Taos Pueblo). "It just got approved by the Higher Learning Commission last month, and it came about because of our new collaboration with NBCUniversal; we were approached by NBC even though we didn't have a specific journalism program at the time, but we did offer classes in journalism and broadcast and production, so NBC felt that was a sufficient foundation for the partnership."
Lujan created the new 24-credit certificate from journalistic elements found in classes the school already offered in its creative writing, creative non-fiction, cinematic arts, broadcast and documentary and storytelling departments.
"There has always been sort of an inherent interest in broadcasting and journalism from our students," Lujan continues. "Some of our creative writing students who've taken journalism classes have said they wish they could have some sort of indication on their diploma that they specialized in journalism—[these classes] were already there, but it will be an official part of the curriculum now."
Launched in January, the scholarship program from NBCUniversal (and its parent company Comcast) is meant to aid those who have "diverse or underrepresented community affiliation," according to a press release from the school. Applicants must already be enrolled in IAIA's BA or BFA programs, have declared for the Broadcast Journalism Certificate, completed 60 credit hours and maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher. Scholarship recipients will also reportedly be expected to attend NBCU Academy events and seminars. Scholarship funds can be applied toward tuition, housing, stipends and equipment.
Nationally, similar partnerships from NBCU Academy will reportedly run for the next several years and include Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions and other schools with significant PoC student bodies. According to the press release from IAIA, NBCU Academy plans to invest $6.5 million over the next two years as part of Comcast NBCUniversal's "$100 million commitment to address systemic racism and inequality."
Lujan says 25 scholarships will be available over the next two years, but the program is not contingent on NBCUniversal's financial involvement.
"This certificate can survive beyond the lines of the grant," he says. "I didn't have to create any new courses, so there's no reason it can't survive."
Lujan also notes the IAIA is open to non-Native students, and says the school is interested in Santa Fe Community College students who wish to extend their educations beyond that school's traditional two-year programs.
"If they do decide to pursue a degree in cinematic arts or creative writing, a broadcast certificate is just the cherry on the cake," Lujan says.
Interested parties can apply for the NBCU Academy scholarship here.