Published: 2022-06-08

Hong Kong Baptist University will soon be home to the city’s first Interactive Media Department (IMD). The cluster of academics forming IMD aims to cross boundaries and develop excellence across disciplines such as communication, media studies, informatics, and computer science.

Booting up on July 1, IMD will be headed by Zhong Bu, currently a tenured Professor at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communication and an affiliate professor at the College of Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University.

Professor Zhong Bu will join HKBU from Penn State to head the new Department.

IMD will recruit around 15 faculty from the School of Communication and Film’s existing Departments of Journalism and Communication Studies, and the Academy of Film. It also plans to hire new faculty at senior and junior levels.

IMD is the brainchild of the School’s Dean, Huang Yu. “Our new Interactive Media Department crystallises the progress we’ve made in transforming our School, to keep up with developments in digital technologies and lead in research on the social dimensions of technological change,” he said. “It is aligned with our University’s exciting thrust toward interdisciplinary research at the boundaries of science, technology, social sciences and humanities.”

School Dean Huang Yu says the new Department aligns with HKBU’s bold thrusts in the interdisciplinary study of digital society.

IMD’s teaching programme will absorb existing undergraduate and master’s courses covering virtual reality, game design, animation, and modelling applications that simulate real-world experiences through interactive media.

Bringing together their rich and varied research experience, the IMD faculty will develop new projects to test out communication theories and investigate how people are immersing themselves in interactive technologies, including related psychological and social outcomes.

Mateja Kovacic from the Academy of Film, Jingyuan Jolie Shi from the Department of Communication Studies, and Xinzhi Zhang from the Department of Journalism are among the ten academic staff who will join IMD.

“Overall, the joint scholarly effort among the IMD faculty is inextricably connected to the very existence of human life,” says Zhong Bu. “This stream of research alone, of course, may not change the world but will certainly make our society a better place to live, in which the faculty would like to play an active role along with our colleagues in the School of Communication and Film.”