Minors on the Rise

Social Media

While waiting in line for coffee or when it’s time to share life experiences with friends, students often turn to social media. Students are on social media every day and use these accounts for different p14-Social-Media-Minor-(4c300)reasons.

Social media has had such a great impact on society that, today, careers can be built solely on the knowledge of social media. This field is gaining popularity and universities now offer programs for students to major and minor in the rapidly growing field of social media.

Starting fall 2016, South Dakota State University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication will offer a minor in social media. Teri Finneman, assistant professor, said, “This unique minor will be a great addition to the College of Arts and Sciences and SDSU as a whole. This area of expertise combines several skill sets that are crucial for our modern style of communication.”

The social media minor adds professional proficiency to an interest most students already have. The courses allow students to gain expertise designing content and implementing communication practices and campaigns.

“In the modern workplace, employers seek graduates who can maintain a company’s social media sites to keep them current and relevant,” according to Brian Britt, assistant professor. “Students learn technical strategies and analytics in the social media world that will help graduates establish themselves in the workplace.”

Britt explains the value that social media holds for college curricula, “There’s a big difference between using social media for personal purposes, or even for self-promotion, versus directing a company’s online public relations. The ability to manage social media to serve the interests of a larger organization is what most companies want to see today.”

Finneman stated that social media courses are a good fit for a college’s curriculum. “Social media are engrained on how we interact. Employers not only expect graduates to excel in the field, but also that the employees teach others on their staffs as well.”

Professor and Assistant Department Head Lyle Olson said, “We often hear that when our students begin their internships, their employers ask them to ‘beef up our company’s social media presence.’”
Finneman said, “If students aren’t signing up for these courses, they are making a mistake, since the minor is offered to all majors. These classes will be packed every semester.”

Required courses for the social media minor include media analytics and studio, writing for social media, introduction to digital production and advanced digital production. The new social media minor
will challenge students to think critically and move beyond just monitoring their own social media accounts.

Marketing

With the 163 students in fall 2015, the marketing minor is one of the most popular minors on campus. Why, you might ask? The answer is easy. The marketing minor represents a multidepartment, collaborative academic program giving students training in both the qualitative and quantitative aspects of marketing. The minor is an interdisciplinary effort driven by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Department of Economics.

Roxanne Lucchesi, an advertising professor within the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, encourages the minor. “We work together to make sure the minor continues to evolve and stay relevant, and we hope students in a variety of majors continue to discover this minor,” Lucchesi said.

Rachel Peterson, an entrepreneurial studies major, explained why she chose to pursue a marketing minor. “I chose to be a marketing minor because, as a business major, I plan to own a retail business, and I know how important marketing is to retailers in order to reach consumers and make sales.”

The marketing minor gives students the required skills to flourish after graduating in the fields of marketing, business, sales, public relations, hospitality management and advertising. The marketing minor provides students with the ability to understand the importance of consumer orientation and instills knowledge of how technology and global factors affect marketing practices.

This interdisciplinary marketing minor is not only popular among SDSU students, it also is a minor that employers like to see on resumes. Marketing is a strong career path that demonstrates innovation. This is why the marketing minor goes hand-in-hand with an assortment of different majors; there is a need for marketing professionals in any career field.

Economics professor and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jason Zimmerman stressed that a marketing minor is beneficial in the workplace.

“Employers assume graduates come to the job with good communication skills, the ability to work as a team, and problem-solving capabilities because of their general college-level coursework,” Zimmerman said. “With a marketing minor, students demonstrate another set of skills that sets them apart.”

For students to earn the minor, they must take a required 18 credits. The marketing minor also requires an upperdivision course in marketing or media research, so graduates will have done hands-on, applied work on a major marketing project by the time they complete the minor.

McKenzie Smith

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