Friday, December 2, 2011

St. Bonaventure journalism school announces new major in Strategic Communication and Digital Media

A new major in Strategic Communication and Digital Media was approved Wednesday by the New York State Education Department, and will be offered at St. Bonaventure University starting in fall 2012.

The new bachelor’s degree program will be the second major offered by the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which has offered journalism since 1947. (Mass Communication was later added to the name of the major.)

“I’m so excited by the new program,” said Dr. Pauline Hoffmann, dean of the Jandoli School. “We’ve worked very hard to create a program that not only meets, but exceeds, what the market needs. Our alumni were so helpful in determining that this is a direction we should be headed.”

The department conducted surveys of journalism and mass communication alumni in 2008 and 2010 to help the university gauge what skills were in demand in the ever-changing communication marketplace.

The distinguishing feature of the program is the Semester in the Stalwart Group, a 12-credit course that will offer students the opportunity to act as members/employees of an advertising/PR/marketing firm in an agency setting on campus. 

“This is the class that sets this program apart,” Hoffmann said. “The kind of hands-on, live client work they will do will be a great addition to students’ portfolios.”

The Stalwart Group is the name of the St. Bonaventure chapter of the American Advertising Federation. AAF Case Study (JMC 430) is a three-credit course focused on building a advertising campaign that is eventually judged in regional and national AAF competitions. The course will remain a stand-alone three-credit option for non-majors, but will be included as a part of Semester in the Stalwart Group.

Students will learn leadership, customer service, sales, budget, and business skills. Additionally, students will foster an atmosphere of service learning, teamwork, and professionalism by working on for-profit and not-for-profit campaign projects for businesses and organizations in the community, Hoffman said.

By the time the first Semester in the Stalwart Group convenes in the spring of 2015 (junior year), Hoffmann said the students will “report to work every morning in a space dedicated specifically for their Stalwart Group agency.”

Other key components of the new major include:

·         a grounding in Franciscan ethics, from a discipline-specific business perspective as well as from a broader, holistic perspective;

·         a focus on digital and emerging media, ensuring that students receive exposure to cutting-edge communication channels and techniques, understanding how they’re used and how they relate to traditional media;

·         a global perspective in which students are encouraged to participate in study-abroad and service-learning opportunities and a special emphasis on global perspectives worked into all courses across the curriculum.

“I can’t say enough about all the work the journalism faculty did in creating a program that will be so relevant and vital to students seeking careers in the communication industry,” said Dr. Michael Fischer, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This is the perfect way to build on the remarkable tradition of the Jandoli School, which has turned out some of this nation’s most respected journalists and PR and advertising executives.”

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