Columbus State University’s “drive-in” commencement ceremony wasn’t the university’s only first in its history. The Dec. 12 ceremony also celebrated its first two graduates of its new Film Production nexus degree program, which was approved by the University System of Georgia in 2018. Nexus degrees are 60-credit-hour college credentials that emphasize hands-on experiential learning, skilled knowledge and connections with industry in high-demand career fields.
Madeline Ramos and Louis Sanville are more than CSU’s first nexus degree graduates. They are the first students among all University System of Georgia’s 26 institutions to earn a nexus degree.
“I think the program was very beneficial because I was able to combine my classroom experience with real, hands-on knowledge while working on real movie sets during my time at CSU,” added Ramos, who also completed her bachelor’s in integrated media and the Georgia Film Academy certification. “I am excited about my future because I don’t think my dream job exists yet, but I have the chance to create it and be prepared for what the future holds for me.”
The nexus degree is tightly aligned with high-priority talent demand of film production and the competencies and capabilities valued most within the industry. The nexus degree is intended for anyone interested in pursuing a career in a film production-related area — people who have not earned a degree as well as people who have a degree but want to transition into a high-demand career field like film production. The film industry has grown in the last decade from $240 million in 2007 to its current $9.5 billion. Now, there are on average 30 to 40 productions filming at any point in time across the state of Georgia.
“This degree is validation of Columbus State University’s premier role in preparing and credentialing workers for Georgia’s fastest-growing industry,” said Dr. Danna Gibson, chair of CSU’s Communication Department. “With the help of our community partners, our graduates will play a vital role in Georgia’s film industry reputation — a reputation leading many to call Georgia the ‘Hollywood of the South.”
The CSU Department of Communication, in partnership with the Columbus Film Office and the Georgia Film Academy, works to place interns and graduates of the program in movie productions and on film sets across the state. Additionally, students may be placed on production sets for national television spots and productions secured by the Columbus Film Office and Georgia Film Academy.
Nexus degrees are a recent academic innovation offered by the University System of Georgia, and the first new degree program in the United States since the 1890s when the associate’s degree was added. Nexus degrees will help more Georgians access careers in high-demand areas. Creation of this degree is in direct response to talent demand analysis with employers in high-demand career areas.