The Centre for Digital Media is unlike any other postsecondary institution in B.C.
Created in 2007 as a collaboration between UBC, SFU, BCIT, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design, it offers an applied master's degree in digital media while giving students the opportunity to work collaboratively to devise practical solutions for real-world clients.
For the past nine years, it's been headed by Richard Smith, an imaginative and progressive academic who's played a key role in advancing Vancouver's digital economy.
“We recruit students who have those skills but we’re trying to add the management, the creativity, the team participation and leadership, the communication, and the conveying of ideas,” Smith told the Straight in 2016. "It provides way more opportunities for gender balance and for equality and inclusion."
His tenure coincided with the expansion of digital technology into a wide range of industries, including finance, development, transportation, natural resources, and arts and culture.
This week, Smith announced that he's moving on to a new phase in his career.
"When I came to the MDM program in 2011, I didn’t know much about how digital media was made," he acknowledged in a message to students on the CDM website. "I was a critic of social media impacts, but I didn’t make anything (beyond a few web pages).
"I now know a lot more about the process that goes into making digital media, because I have watched what you, the students and faculty, do every day," he continued. "I didn’t know anything about the production techniques (scrum, agile, pipelines), and I didn’t know anything about the research approach (like UI/UX research)."
He also stated that being director of the Centre for Digital Media has been "an intensely rewarding experience... The very best in my life. I shall treasure it forever."
Prior to heading up the Centre for Digital Media, Smith was a professor of communication at SFU for 15 years and was director of SFU's Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology for 10 years.