National Award to Faculty Member in Communications

By Kenneth Mullinax

An assistant professor of recording technology in the Department of Communications at Alabama State University has been awarded the EBSCO Scholarship for Audiovisual Preservation and Archiving, which is a national fellowship.
Professor Michael Bean received the prestigious award that paid for the tuition and travel associated with the Masters of Library Information Studies program, which he recently attended in Los Angeles, Calif. Bean, who teaches audio production and music video production courses, has been a faculty member in the Department of Communications since 2013.
“I’m really glad to be a part of the program because it has given me a chance to push my research interests together,” Bean said. “I’ve been working on the media production side of this business for more than 20 years, so this EBSCO scholarship has really been helpful by allowing me to learn about how this type of¬† media can be preserved for future generations, as well as providing researchers like me with primary source materials, which helps both me and my students.”
While in Los Angeles, Bean visited 12 archives and museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Academy of Motion Pictures Archives and Museum, NBC/Universal Archives, the University of Southern California Hugh Hefner Film Archives, UCLA Film Archives, Warner Brothers Film Archives and others. He stated that the award allowed him to talk to some of the most prominent members of the audiovisual archive community in L.A, and began the establishment of new educational connections, which may open doors for possible collaborations for both himself and his ASU students.
“One of the more interesting things that I was exposed to was learning about the digitization and preservation of magnetic media, such as different formats of video tape, film, and obsolete audio formats, such as two-inch open reels, as well as some of the technical specifications behind media-driven art exhibits.
As a professor, Bean explains, he has as a goal to expose his students to as many new avenues in media as possible, which is what the EBSCO award did for him.
“I’m a product of the same degree program that my students at the University are engaged in now,” Bean shared. “I graduated from ASU in 2008 and the degree that my students are getting now is the one that has carried me throughout my career in music production and videography. All of the lessons that I have learned while in L.A. from the audiovisual archivists will transfer to my students and will allow them to pursue these educational avenues in various graduate programs.”
Bean explained that he would love for his ASU students to approach audio engineering and music production from both a technical and an artistic skill level, as well as from a historical standpoint.
“I want our students to consider the audio that they’re recording is not only entertainment, but also serves as a historical document that may give future generations a glimpse into what our lives are like right now.”