Topics: Emerging Media, College of Communication Information and Media, University Libraries, Immersive Learning

November 23, 2009

Ball State University has won the 2009 Academic Institution of the Year Award from the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) for a campuswide focus on mobile communications, product development, research and education.

A global organization promoting the development and sustainability of mobile marketing, MMA announced the honor Nov. 17 during its fifth annual Global Mobile Marketing Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

The Academic Institution of the Year Award is presented annually to the college or university whose faculty, professional staff and students have contributed most to the education of students and/or practitioners of mobile marketing theory and practices at the undergraduate, graduate or professional levels.

Ball State President Jo Ann M. Gora said the award elevates the university to a global leadership position in higher education for research and teaching in fields related to mobile communications.

She also pointed out that the honor underscores the importance of theEmerging Media Initiative (EMI), a planned $17.7 million investment focusing on accelerating the economic benefits to the state of Indiana of a media-savvy executive, industrial and commercial work force.

"When we launched our Emerging Media Initiative in 2008, it was with the thought of harnessing the university's traditional strengths in journalism, design, electronic media and other advanced communication technology in order to develop new methods and means for how we create, deliver, share and use information in the 21st century," Gora said. 

"This latest recognition from the Mobile Marketing Association, coming as it does just a week after a team of our faculty was honored in a similar competition sponsored by global communications giant AT&T, is additional confirmation that our choice of action was correct. Ball State is at the forefront of determining how much of our future digital environment will look, feel and operate."

Ball State's application to MMA included an overview of the university's mobile research, education programs and courses, and national media visibility garnered from 2005 to 2009. It was submitted by Michael Hanley, assistant professor of journalism and director of the Institute for Mobile Media Research

Hanley studies the mobile communication habits of young adults, conducting surveys of 4,907 college students twice annually since 2005.

"This distinction as the world's leading academic institution for mobile marketing research and development validates the vision of President Gora, the leadership of Provost Terry King and the quality of mobile media research by faculty and students across campus as being best in class," Hanley said. "It's a real honor for Ball State to receive this latest accolade from the MMA."

In addition to the AT&T award for the mobile communications project earned by iMedia, Ball State's efforts to incorporate emerging media and digital technologies throughout campus have resulted in several major accomplishments and events, including the university's hosting of the recent International Digital Media and Art Association's (IDMAA) seventh annual conference. The gathering brought many of the nation's leading academics, professionals and artists from assorted digital media fields to campus to share ideas, discuss potential applications and review many leading-edge technological applications.

Ball State's Bracken Library also recently opened the Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Digital Complex, containing features designed to encourage collaboration and innovation through digital technology. 

The university also is transforming its educational and research processes with the establishment of an Emerging Media Faculty Fellows program, through which Ball State provides incentives and start-up funding across the curriculum for the hiring of new faculty members who have expertise in the study and use of emerging media. 

Meanwhile, faculty and students in Ball State's immersive learning institutes are taking their emerging media skills to Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Florence and Singapore, among other far-flung places, to work on a variety of projects.