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Fate of photography minor remains a question

Sydney Virgen

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With Photography Professor Jim Flory retiring at the end of the 2017-18 school year, the fate of the photography minor at Pacific University remains unknown. Though Flory is retiring this year, he will still teach as an adjunct professor for the 2018-19 school year. He will be splitting the photography classes with Adjunct Professor Emily Coats.

Coats, a Pacific alumna, has taught courses for the Media Arts and Art Department and has several years of experience assisting with the travel photography courses. She also owns a freelance business for photography and graphic design with another Pacific graduate.

In this case, the College of Arts and Sciences will not begin the standard process of requesting to fill the position, and requesting of funding for the minor, until next year.

“It’s hard to say what will happen because so many people are involved in this process,” Terry O’Day, professor of art and sustainable studies said. “It’ll go all the way up to the Deans’ Councils and the President’s Cabinet to determine if the department will receive the funding for the program and the open position.”

According to O’Day, the photography classes are always fast to fill up during the registration period.

“It’s no surprise that those classes fill up,” O’Day said. “A lot of students go on from Pacific with their future careers built on their photography minor.”

Coats is just one example of how the photography minor has succeeded in helping students prepare for a future in media.

“Pacific absolutely shaped my career path,” Coats said. “And there are a number of my classmates who are currently working in the creative field due to their time at Pacific as well.”

Both Coats and O’Day agreed, the students are the heart of the photography program. Sophomore Woodey Greer, a student currently enrolled in Photography II, expressed his love for the photography program.

“The program is fun and has challenged me to become a better photographer,” Greer said. “I am challenged to be more creative, instead of being told to just shoot pictures here and there.”

The photography program is designed to better student understanding of photography, as well as its history. That is one argument that will be used to convince the Deans’ Councils and President Cabinet to continue the program.

The program includes a package of focuses, not only on the present aspects of photography, but also the past elements. Flory, for example, currently teaches a darkroom course which is unique to other programs.

“Not a lot of programs anywhere else include the darkroom class because it is expensive and could be considered out dated,” O’Day said. “This class makes the program distinctive and is of real value that interests many students.”

It is very competitive for funding with CAS, but the Art Department is going to fight to keep the program alive and receive funding.

“Agreement with media arts will be necessary when designing the curriculum,” O’Day said. “Because so many of the minor requirements are media arts classes.”

O’Day shared that everyone will miss Jim Flory.

“He has brought so much to the department over the years,” O’Day said. “He created a beautiful rapport with the students and has done so much with the program over the years.”

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