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About the Initiative

Ball State’s Emerging Media Initiative (EMI) is an investment of more than $20 million focused on our historic strengths. The initiative, funded through institutional and new private resources, has four components: leadership and sustainability, faculty and research, student opportunities, and engagement and economic development.

"We asked ourselves, ‘What strengths can we leverage to do our part to advance Indiana’s economy?’ Our answer is emerging media," says President Jo Ann M. Gora. "The Emerging Media Initiative is an obvious next step for the entrepreneurial university. Hoosiers can expect the same accountability and results from EMI that have been come to be synonymous with Ball State through successes like the Inaugural Scholars, immersive learning, and Building Better Communities."

Leadership and Sustainability
The initiative is led by David Ferguson, associate vice president for emerging media. Ferguson is also the director of the Center for Media Design (CMD), funded by two $20 million grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. CMD is widely recognized for leadership in applied research, interdisciplinary projects in digital media design, digital content development, and media use research.

Faculty and Research
EMI emphasizes emerging media in attracting and retaining faculty across the university. The effort has established the Emerging Media New Faculty Fellows program, through which the university provides incentives and start-up funding for the hiring of new faculty—across the curriculum—with expertise in the study and use of emerging media.

The initiative supports annual Emerging Media Innovation Grants, which award pilot funding to Ball State researchers and developers for scholarly study and creative endeavors that will result in a proposal for significant external funding, Proof-of-concept for product/service with commercialization potential, and/or development of significant scholarship around a specific emerging media topic.

Student Opportunities
EMI encourages and enables more student involvement in emerging media, starting with establishment of a new scholarship: the Randy Pond Emerging Media Scholars.

Pond, a 1977 graduate of Ball State, is executive vice president of operations for Cisco Systems in San Jose, California. His recent $1 million gift to Ball State Bold, the university's latest and largest capital campaign, will underwrite the new scholarships.

At the same time, additional funds are being dedicated to help strengthen the university's award-winning student Digital Corps—Indiana’s only Apple-certified training team. EMI encourages student and faculty innovation by funding interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial projects with potential for commercialization opportunities.

Students also have the opportunity to earn academic credit while gaining practical experience in the emerging media industry and building relationships with Indiana employers through the Emerging Media Student Fellows program. The fellows program is open to all juniors, seniors, and graduate students. The program is coordinated through Building Better Communities.


Engagement and Economic Development
EMI is guided by a national advisory board. The board gathers top names in the emerging media sector to analyze trends and developments, consult on curriculum, and advise on commercialization opportunities. Members represents innovative industry firms such as Cisco Systems, Schematic, mOcean Productions, MTV Networks, Channel One 2.0 and Turner Sports Interactive.

The initiative flexes the muscles of the Ball State Innovation Corporation, created to facilitate commercialization.

Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research, formerly the Bureau of Business Research, has partnered with TechPoint to execute a series of studies on the growing emerging media sector of Indiana.

Ball State is also partnering with TechPoint, Indiana's initiative for growing the state's technology-based economy, to stake Indiana's claim as the "Measured Marketing"capital of the world. In 2010, TechPoint and Ball State launched the Indiana Measured Marketing Executive Roundtable, a series of invitation-only events that bring together e-marketing executives for networking and discussions to advance the economic micro-cluster.