Professor Thomas Dolby – Johns Hopkins University’s First Homewood Professor of the Arts

Business is adapting readily to digital communications. The academic world has also evolved to support the demand for this specialized type of workforce by creating new curriculums and programs centered around digital media. As a result, the practical relevance of the digital domain has fortified the need for professionals and thought leaders trained in different disciplines of digital business operations. Some notable courses offered by esteemed institutions such as the Harvard Business School focus on digital communications, online marketing, digital journalism, and the economics of online businesses.

One such thought leader is a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) a person who helps a company drive growth by converting traditional “analog” businesses to digital ones, and oversees operations in the rapidly changing digital sectors like mobile applications, social media and related applications, virtual goods, as well as “wild” web-based information management and marketing.[1]According to a study by Gartner, it’s predicted that 25% of businesses will have created and filled the Chief Digital Officer title by 2015.[5]

When it comes to the arts, film, music and technology it is a comfort to see that academia is investing in the future of enhancing digital arts and technology sector. I first wrote about the significance of this topic when I discovered that Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre had contributed $70 million towards the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation

Next week, Thomas Dolby will be named the Johns Hopkins University’s first Homewood Professor of the Arts. This  position will enable him to help create a new center that will serve as an incubator for technology in the arts. In my mind’s eye I see Professor Thomas Dolby as the Chief Digital Officer for this major initiative that will embrace sound on film.

The center will be housed in two projects totaling about $35 million and being jointly overseen by Hopkins, the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Maryland Film Festival. The former Parkway Theatre at 5 W. North Ave. is undergoing a $17 million renovation and will become a three-screen, 600-seat theater. Just down the street, an Art Deco building at 10 E. North Ave. is being converted into classrooms and office space at a price of $18 million.

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