Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Cornell NYC Tech announced last week that they will begin a master’s degree program in information sciences with a specialization in connective media for students interested in cutting-edge media and entrepreneurship.
This is the first announced degree offered by the new Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII) at Cornell Tech — a graduate school of Cornell University — and will begin next fall.
“We’re going to train professionals that will lead the digital revolution in media,” said professor Craig Gotsman, JTCII’s director.
Gotsman explained how the rapid changes in media are not only in how they are presented in a digital format, but contrast markedly with how the actual information is generated and shared.
“Traditional media works in very old-fashioned ways,” Gotsman said, explaining how new media, especially in social networks, are often far more interactive. Instead of focusing on just delivering content, there is a back-and-forth not seen nearly as often or in as many ways as are available today.
“There are lots of angles on it,” he said.
For graduates of the program, New York City provides a lot of opportunities, Gotsman said, since for so long it has been a media capital but until now has not always been at the same level when it comes to technology companies.
“It hasn’t been such a big success in growing the tech sector,” Gotsman said. “One goal is to turn New York City into a tech powerhouse that could rival Silicon Valley.”
Students will take part in internships both academic and industrial, Gotsman said, learning what has worked and what hasn’t and getting a chance to incubate their own ideas or business plans that will aid their post-degree plans.
“They will be training in not just tech but hands-on work,” Gotsman said, explaining how the program will ideally encourage “entrepreneurial thinking.”
The natural interest that will fuel that thinking is something that will be looked for during the admission process, Gotsman said. Applicants in their paperwork and especially in their interviews should be able to show the urge to create new ventures or find new ways to advance existing ones using the possibilities of media.
“Entrepreneurial DNA we call it,” Gotsman said.
The partnerships between Technion and Cornell gives students a chance to get a global view on media today, with Israeli professors coming to the U.S. to teach for a time and share some of the lessons Israeli companies have learned in the quick rise of Israel as the now almost cliche “start-up nation.”
JTCII is currently accepting applications for the connective media degree and Gotsman said there will likely be around 30 students in the first year, but plans are already underway for expansion into two more specializations. The healthier life specialization, which will focus on medical technology and information analysis and a built environment specialization, will apply sensor-based data to improving urban sustainability. Both eventually will be part of the JTCII program offerings.
“We want to produce graduates who are more entrepreneurial than is typical,” Gotsman said. “They’ll be part of the digital transformation [of media].”