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Canisius College will offer a new, cutting-edge degree in digital media arts beginning this fall, officials at the college announced.

Believed to be the first bachelor's degree program of its kind in this area, it will be administered through the college's communication studies program, headed by Barry Berlin.

It will prepare students for work in such areas as interactive multimedia, electronic publishing, digital video, animation, Web site design, digital graphics and digital imaging.

"We have a national search under way for two new faculty members," Berlin said. "We will have two new labs and about $100,000 in new hardware and software."

One new faculty member will be hired for computer applications and video processes; the other for graphic design, Berlin noted. A multimedia specialist will work with the new program as well.

It will start as the college's communication studies program moves to the college's 1908 Building on the west side of Main Street. The building, formerly Mount St. Joseph High School, is currently undergoing extensive renovation.

"We are entering the digital age," Berlin said. "This type of study will help prepare students both in terms of transformation and of how things are communicated. It will offer expanding career opportunities."

Canisius' new digital media arts degree is being funded by a $250,000 U.S. Education Department Title III grant.

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