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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Film program promotes teacher after increased enrollment

Nate Stephenson
Michael Albright stands with a smile on West Campus Thursday, April 4, 2019, at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It feels good to be promoted to a faculty member after eight years.” Albright said. “The feeling is like renting a house for so long and then finally buying one. I can really own it now.”

Documentary Film Maker and professor Michael Albright received a promotion to full-time faculty after showing off his hard work during a spike in enrollment in the film department.

“I’m looking forward to being more engaged with the college,” said Albright.

The department currently employs two full-time faculty members, and have been looking to add a third.

“He’s extremely qualified to teach in our department,” said professor and department chair Nico Maestu.

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Albright brings three degrees to the table, documentary filmmaking experience, eight years of working as the director of programming at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and various teaching experiences.

Though City College’s overall enrollment has dropped, the film department has seen the opposite, which is the reason for Albright’s promotion.

“More students are interested in analyzing film,” said Maestu.

Maestu, who signed on with the department 13 years ago, attributed the rise in enrollment to the ever-expanding world of online streaming.

“Students are much more aware of film,” he said.

Albright will bring his vast film knowledge to the forefront of the department and is slated to continue teaching some of the program’s many courses like Contemporary World Cinema, Art Cinema, Master Filmmakers, and American Film History.

He has taught classes in all three formats that City College offers; on campus, hybrid, and online.

“I think that the hybrid and online courses allow for a greater amount of flexibility,” said Albright.

City College student Shannon Mackle took Albright’s Master Filmmakers class online over the summer and liked his style of teaching, so much so that she decided to take Art Cinema with Albright this semester.

“He’s very organized about the way he sets up his class and his selection of films to watch,” she said.

Along with Master Filmmakers, Mackle touched on what taking Art Cinema has been like.

“The movies that we watch are not mainstream Hollywood films,” she said.

She continued saying that Albright is “good at what he does,” bringing in a fresh perspective to the department and focusing on interesting material.

“He gives you a lot of room as a student to engage with film and think about it,” said City College student Padron-Harris, who has taken various classes from Albright.

As the department expands, so will the curiosity for film studies.

“Over the course of the eight years, the department has grown quite a bit,” said Albright.  “It’s very rare for a city college to offer so many film and media studies courses.”

Albright hopes to continue the positive trend the film department has had over the years by helping to cultivate a creative environment, and potentially curating a film series on campus.

Until then, Albright will bring expertise and a passion for film to a department that is already on the rise.

“We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Maestu.

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