By Desiree Raven
When a new academic program begins, there is always a need to find someone whose enthusiasm, excitement and vision can lead it toward a successful future. Rob Martin, the director of the Isaacson School for New Media at Colorado Mountain College, embodies all of these qualities.
Martin’s interests and educational background have made him the perfect person to lead the department. Martin, who has his Master of Fine Arts in new media and photography from Penn State, has always had his finger on the pulse of cutting-edge developments.
As a teacher in Colorado’s Eagle County School District, he created an algorithm program that helps to track individual students to assess their risk of dropping out of school based on specific criteria and events. After teaching high school, he came to Colorado Mountain College in 2011 as an adjunct instructor of animation and design.
“I was very impressed with CMC,” says Martin. “I found the faculty and students very knowledgeable in what they do. I was very excited about being a part of CMC.”
As director of the Isaacson School for New Media, he knows what he wants to achieve: to concentrate on excellence and growth. Because the Isaacson School’s degrees are considered career and technical education, Martin wants to help students succeed in parlaying their education directly into practical careers.
This spring semester alone students are involved in internships at various media outlets in the Aspen area and Roaring Fork Valley: “Aspen Sojourner” magazine, the Winter X Games, KDNK community radio and the True Media Foundation, a youth-oriented nonprofit digital media organization, among others.
“I have learned this valley is very supportive of both CMC and the Isaacson School,” Martin says. I’ve had many calls from people saying they have ideas and ask for students they can work with to help develop their visions.”
The Isaacson School is succeeding because of support from people in the valley. Supporters’ generosity has allowed the program to be able to create the Digital Story Lab. This creation gives the students the necessary equipment on which to learn and develop new media projects. Having the equipment has been vital in students getting work and increasing their prospects of finding work after graduation. By underwriting scholarships, supporters also allow the program’s tuition to be more affordable to students.
Even as a director, Martin still teaches classes because, as he says, “I believe strongly all directors of educational programs should teach. I love teaching; it forces me to keep up with the newest techniques, equipment and most importantly [it] helps me to not lose connection with students.”
He works hard at staying connected to students, and can often be found talking with him about their goals and work. Martin hopes in the future he can look back and say that, in addition to raising two children with his wife, one of his greatest life achievements was making CMC and the Isaacson School for New Media a great success.