Pratt Community College is one step closer to starting a new multimedia production program.

After a year in the making, the proposed 64 credit hour course is currently undergoing a 14-day comment period where administrators from every higher education institution in the state have the opportunity to express any comment, pro or con, about the college starting this program, said Joe Varrientos, Pratt Community College vice president for instruction.

The purpose of the comment period is to discover any issues other institutions may have with a college starting a new program.

If a college or university already has a similar program they may think adding an additional similar program would hurt the enrollment numbers of the original program.

Institutions also make comments in favor of starting the program and how it could be a positive impact for the state.

All comments have to be submitted by Friday, March 7. Those comments and the program will go before the Technical Education Authority Program/Curriculum committee for consideration on March 11.

Once the subcommittee has reviewed the program and the comments, it will be presented to the entire TEA for final approval, Varrientos said.

If the program is approved, it becomes official in May and the college can then recruit students for the program. If the TEA rejects the program, the college will have to re-apply.

Varrientos said he didn’t anticipate any objections and believes TEA will approve it for the fall semester. A key element in getting the program ready for presentation was an endorsement from John Patton of Patton Design.

The college is going to waive tuition and fees (not special fees) for students enrolling in the new program. Students completing the program will receive an associate of applied science degree.

The 17 courses that make up the program will cover a wide range of topics including digital photography, ethics and law, advertising, web design and maintenance, business management, digital media design, video camera techniques, commercial photography, live event production and more.

It will take two years to complete the 64-hour course made up of 47 hours of technical courses and 17 hours of general education.

Students who complete this course will be able to produce live video events in a variety of venues.

“I think the program will be of great value to students,” Varrientos said.

Varrientos said he has spoken to some students about the proposed program and if it becomes a reality he will encourage those students to enroll in the program that would start in the fall 2014 semester.

This program started in association with the Kiowa County Media Center. They are supported with county funds but they wanted to be self-sufficient. The establishment of the program will help the media center meet that goal.

Students would have to travel to Greensburg to take the program courses.

To help start the program, the Media Center and PCC applied for and received a Kansas Board of Regents $20,000 Kansas Technical Innovation Grant that goes towards workforce development programs.

The most difficult part of starting a new program is finding an instructor. Any instructor will be hired as an adjunct. The technical courses will be taught at Greensburg and the general education courses will be taught at PCC.