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Expressive Technology Studios at the heart of campus will transform student learning

Student wearing a Virtual Reality (VR) headset
A Liberal Arts and Engineering (LAES) student working on a Virtual Reality (VR) project

A gift from a generous donor kick-started construction plans for an exciting new building that will place the College of Liberal Arts under the same roof as two other colleges.

With space for liberal arts, science, mathematics and agriculture, this building demonstrates the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary education.

The college will use the opportunity to create Expressive Technology Studios, a physical space dedicated to developing the educational intersection between technology, humanity and the arts. Dean Doug Epperson said, “Our vision is to put Cal Poly at the forefront of expressive technology. The future of entertainment and storytelling for societal change depends on artists and technologists working together to create new forms of expression.”

The Expressive Technology Studios will transform the student experience, open the door to new corporate partnerships and better prepare graduates for professions ranging from animation to risk communication. This community space will be a home for innovative collaborations, especially those that deal with expression, arts and technological interconnection. By locating the studios in the first explicitly interdisciplinary building on campus, students and faculty in the space will regularly interact with colleagues outside their disciplines, helping develop social connections that lead to intellectual inspiration and creativity.

Graduates will leave with an intrinsic ability to collaborate in hybrid environments that encourage thinking outside the box. Students will have the skills to showcase their ideas and their research in new, creative ways so they can break through the barrage of content in today’s world and expand their reach. They will have the tools to tell stories in the most compelling ways. But just as importantly, they will have the understanding of human thought and expression necessary to put new tools to the best use.

The Expressive Technology Studios will feature a dynamic, flexible workspace that fosters creativity and collaboration. The flexible design of the project spaces will allow students and faculty to move seamlessly from instruction to practical implementation, and from one stage of the creative process to the next.

Networked conferencing systems will support creative planning with teams on campus, across the state and throughout the world. Professional software and hardware systems will support broadcast quality video and audio recording, detailed performance capture, special effects, compositing production and live streaming. Students will be able to create music and soundscapes for use in video productions, game designs and augmented reality environments. They will also be able to capture live performances to be animated for virtual reality productions and create short films for internet distribution and commercial application. By exposing students to cutting-edge industry equipment, they will be able to hit the ground running from the beginning of their careers.

Thanks to a generous donor, a large portion of the funding for the building is secured, but the college needs help from alumni and supporters to create the Expressive Technology Studios that will open a new world of possibilities for Cal Poly students.

CLA aims to raise an additional $4 million by June 2017 to make this happen. Gifts of all sizes will make a difference in the lives of generations of students. Donations of $5,000 and above will be recognized on the building’s donor wall. If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact the CLA Advancement team or Dean Doug Epperson.


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