The project has been made possible by a grant from UC Forward, an initiative that supports experiential learning and is part of the UC Academic Master Plan.
"The idea was to totally re-invent the college classroom," says UC President, Santa J. Ono, PhD. "Focusing interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students on real world projects."
The UC Forward grant has allowed over 30 students from nine different academic programs to travel to California and film the races.
Burke adds, "By interacting with both professional mentors and students from various disciplines, the project better prepares students for professional careers in the television and film industry. Being involved in one of the first student-produced documentaries to air nationally looks good on a student resume as well."
CCM alumnus Steve Dickman (BFA, 2012) is an assistant television editor in Los Angeles who served as Student Supervising Producer for the 2012 race documentary. "The documentary was the most rewarding project that I worked on at the collegiate level," he recalls.
"The guidance I received, and professional standard to which the students were held, has helped make my transition into the professional world much easier," Dickman continues.
The 2012 Gold Rush Expedition Race film was recently awarded the prestigious Best of Festival Award at the Broadcast Education Association's 2014 Festival of Media Arts.
According to Leitten, “Working with the students helped my professional growth as much as theirs. It’s a major accomplishment for everyone involved to have our work showcased on a national level.”