Changes coming to audio tech

Students unsure about the future

Audio Technology students may start seeing some changes to their major this year, as the program is being "re-centered" away from performance and content aspects, Department Chair Michael Gray said.

The major was determined to have drifted away from its original focus, a science and technology program, after undergoing a review process, Gray said. The major is part of the Computer Science, Audio Technology and Physics Department (CAP).

Rather than focusing on the content of what is being recorded in the studio, the program will now start applying new science and technology concepts relevant to the major in an effort to improve recording arts and techniques, Gray said.

While Gray emphasized there would be no direct changes to the major or its classes, and there is "no intention to change the undergraduate program," the director of the Audio Technology program Benjamin Tomassetti will not return to teach this year, after being taken off the tenured track and being offered a one-year terminal contract.

Also, studio manager Kent Stipp's job was eliminated after his position was "consolidated," said Gray.

Gray said AU is currently searching for another professor to take Tomassetti's place He was the only professor in the major of about 35 students, Gray said.

"There are definitely going to be some changes made to the program," Tomassetti said. "They are going to replace me with a scientist."

While Tomassetti said he feels he was fired because of personal reasons and not because of a disagreement over the direction of the major, he believes students in the major are more interested in the content portion of the program and not the science.

"The students do not come here to learn the science of audio ... they want to learn how to be recording engineers and record producers, " he said.

While no replacement for Tomassetti has been found yet, Gray said he plans to supplement his position with adjunct professors until a permanent replacement can be found.

"Don't think the program will lose focus," Gray said. "It will be a transition ... our goal is to continue the program as it has been in the past."

Students in the major have started to express concern about the direction of their major and complain they are uninformed

"We just hear things through the grapevine," said Chris Yurista, a junior Audio Technology major.

Yurista said making the program more science oriented is necessary, but in the long run would hurt the program.

"If you take a totally scientific point of view, like breaking down sound and its wave forms, you might as well be in a laboratory than a studio," he said.

Former AU student and Audio Technology major Rob Lemanowicz also had complaints about the program. He left the University last year to attend an audio engineering trade school in New York.

"For what I want to do [recording engineer] you need experience," said Lemanowicz. He said he was disappointed with AU's audio technology program because it wasn't providing the experience he needed and because the equipment the program provided was not up to par.

"For a four-year degree, [AU] should definitely have more to offer," said Lemanowicz who plans to graduate from his trade school next spring. He said he harbors no ill feelings toward his former university.

"I'm not holding a grudge against American," he said.

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle