University Television Production faces substantial budget reductions

Courtesy of University Television Productions (UTP)

Boise State’s University Television Production (UTP), a program that houses media production and filming through staff-led student crews, is facing a funding cut that will reduce the impact UTP has on campus and in the community.

UTP is no longer receiving funding for “special funding requests”, which were requests made in the past to maintain the university’s television channel and productions for various kinds of university entities.

Founded in 1986, UTP is an academic opportunity and a service to the university by offering classes, work study opportunities and producing a multitude of content for Boise State. UTP’s work includes live multi-camera streams, studio video content, promotional videos, instructional videos and other informational video content. 

However, the future of UTP now looks different after reducing the budget of the program.

Boise State University is currently in the process of “modernizing” their budget. According to Boise State’s website, the budget modernization is evaluating the current model and proposing a new budget model to align with the University’s Strategic Plan.

Nathan Snyder, director of UTP, said he was left with many questions following this reduction in funding as it affects the program greatly.

According to Snyder, UTP has functioned through special request funding through the provost for over a decade. 

“There used to be $50,000 here that we have used for many years. And now that money is somewhere else,” said Snyder. “I believe our program is very valuable to students. I believe it’s super valuable to the university.”

At the end of the academic year in 2021, John Buckwalter was named the new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. This year, Buckwalter denied the special funding request for UTP.

“As I understand it, and I don’t know the details, but my department chair and the dean have said special funding requests are no longer a thing with this current provost,” said Snyder. “We don’t have another way to generate the money for staff to help our students produce quality content for the university.”

Snyder describes the program as being a “transparent entity” and students within the program work closely with staff to make funding decisions for the program, making this funding reduction a loss for the entire program.

“It’s not a direct kind of thing where they are reading about it in a book and then taking a test. They’re actually sitting at a table with me, negotiating stuff and finding out how we pay for things. I think it’s a very valuable experience for them,” said Snyder. “So when we lost this bit of money, I had to explain to them that we’re not going to have the staff that has helped in the past negotiate remote productions and mentor them.” 

This hands-on experience is exactly why students decide to become a part of UTP. UTP offers three courses: Media 117, 317,and 417, along with work study opportunities — anyone can join UTP. 

Jordyyn Puckett is a fifth-year student studying integrated media and strategic communications with an emphasis in television production, along with certificates in sports information, culture and social media. Puckett has spent eight semesters involved with UTP and describes it as “more like a club than a class” because of how personal and passionate every member is.

She has spent three of those semesters as Snyder’s teaching assistant, and another three being a lead producer for the show. 

“UTP has offered more than any other regular media and film course has. It offers hands-on experiences with real professionals who have worked in the industry,” Puckett said. “It also is a space for students to express themselves creatively. Personally, UTP has shown me a whole different side of production that I couldn’t learn in my workplace or other classes.”

Puckett’s co-producer, Carsen Cloud, is also studying integrated media and strategic communications, and has taken all three classes offered by the program.

“It’s (UTP) really helped me learn a lot more about what I want to do in the future, where my skills lie in production, and generally just hone my skills to be a more suitable standard when I leave the university,” Cloud said.

Puckett expressed her frustration with the future of UTP after gaining so much from her time in the program.

“I think the university is doing students in this program and incoming (students) into the program an injustice,” said Puckett. “We pay a lot of money to attend this university and if the university is not pouring into our futures and investing in our interest the way they claim to … then it just is not fair or ethical.” 

UTP encourages the university and surrounding community to continue supporting them. UTP does discounts for student organizations and is available for anyone interested in their services.

The Boise State University Television Production (UTP) program is resilient in their passion to continue doing valuable work on campus, even in the face of funding reduction challenges.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mark

    Great article. Long live UTP

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