• UWA announces Integrated Marketing Communications major

    Posted: April 18, 2012

    Author: Betsy Compton

    Students interested in a career with opportunities to combine interests in technology, creativity, and communication can now take the lead through a new program at the University of West Alabama. Beginning the fall semester of 2012, UWA will offer a bachelor of science and bachelor of arts in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC).

    Offered by the 176-year-old institution’s College of Liberal Arts, the IMC program comes only months after the announcement of the marketing degree program offered by UWA’s College of Business, which academic administrators say will serve as a valuable sister program to the IMC degree. Such a unique course of study is not offered at any other four-year institution in Alabama, and the nearest offered is nearly 200 miles from Livingston.

    “Within the past decade, blogs, texting, interactive media, social media, podcasts, the Internet, and multimedia platforms have integrated with traditional media outlets in a movement that has been termed ‘convergent journalism,’” explained Dr. Amy H. Jones, assistant professor of journalism and speech. These technologies, according to Jones, have enabled journalists to instantly reach diverse audiences worldwide via a variety of platforms.

    “Their media messages are most effective when strategically designed with a well-defined audience in mind and when employing the appropriate style, tone, and medium to tailor the message to the intended audience. Therefore, journalists need a broad understanding of marketing analysis and market research to effectively target desired audiences,” Jones said.

    In pursuit of the IMC degree, students will demonstrate enhanced journalism and marketing skills as they participate in real world, hands-on activities and programs through course projects, practica, and an internship. Ultimately, they will integrate learned journalism skills with marketing principles through a department-approved capstone project.

    In addition to the College of Liberal Arts Core curriculum, coursework required for the program will include hours in communications, marketing, and behavioral science. Students will explore graphic design, marketing, advertising, web design, social media marketing, broadcasting, and other subjects essential in the integration of the fields.

    Jones, a lead faculty member for the new program, conducted an employment report to find that the majority of employee positions utilizing integrated journalism and marketing skills, those like web developers, public relations managers, program directors, multimedia artists, and advertising managers, require a bachelor’s degree. Jones said Alabama employment predictions also show an increase in annual job openings in more than 10 IMC related fields and a projected total of more than 500 annual job openings through the year 2018. Nationwide projections, she said, mirror these findings.

    IMC graduates can expect to find work relatively easily with advertising or public relations agencies, colleges and universities, non-profit organizations, professional sports teams, television stations, magazines, newspapers, all levels of government, and countless other realms.

    “This is an engaging degree program that develops graduates with convergent journalism skills, the ability to reach desired audiences, and the knowledge to research the effectiveness of media messages,” Jones said. “Our goal is to prepare students for success in the digital media age with a well-rounded, integrated education.”

    For more information about the College of Liberal Arts or its Integrated Marketing Communications degree programs, visit www.uwa.edu/cola, email ajones@uwa.edu, or call Dr. Amy H. Jones at (205) 652-3558.
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