Over the last decade, there has been a drastic change in media and social networking, with the explosion of Internet users and the introduction of social media platforms.
There is a necessity for a web presence for all companies, non-profits, small businesses and organizations.
With this necessity, comes a demand for new positions involving social media, digital media and social networking.
SUNY Oswego’s Integrated Media and Social Networks Graduate Certificate is meeting this demand by preparing students for today’s changing media landscape.
The program is an interdisciplinary collaboration between departments of Art, Communication Studies and Computer Science.
“The faculty in those programs are realizing that our students need good exposure to each discipline because in this day and age, those three fields really come together,” said Ulises Mejias, assistant professor for the Department of Communication Studies.
The certificate is 15 credits and can be completed within one year, starting in the fall semester.
The two core courses are Integrated Media and Design, CMA 600 and Special Projects in Integrated Media Design, CMA 601. Other courses are offered in Human-Computer Interaction, Broadcasting, Art, and Communications.
“We want to identify specific tracks for our students’ career goals,” Mejias said. “We individualize the program with advisors to design the perfect track.”
Students from all disciplines are welcome to apply to the graduate certificate program.
Depending on a student's specialization, he or she would be eligible for a career as a social media coordinator, Web/multimedia developer, online media marketing specialist, social media sales consultant, online content writer, digital media and other diverse positions.
The certificate combines theory with practice and involves several hands-on projects.
One project involves creating an imaginary rock band and coming up with a media and marketing plan using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Memes have become an internet phenomenon and as another project, students have been asked to create a meme that is both funny, but also has an important message about raising awareness for an organization, group or social happenings.
During the second semester, students take CMA 601 and are partnered with a client, either a non-profit or a for-profit organization.
“Students are doing everything from redesigning websites to creating a social media strategy,” Mejias said. “They are working with clients who do not have this help or the experience in the field.”
Liz Davis is a recent graduate of the Integrated Media and Social Networks Graduate Certificate.
She received her bachelors in psychology from the University of Connecticut and began working as an account representative at The Hartford, a leading insurance company in Connecticut.
“I was there for about two years and while I was there, I started a life and style blog as a creative outlet,” Davis said. “That’s when I became interested in social media and online media.”
Davis is originally from Oswego so when she found out about the Integrated Media and Social Networks Graduate Certificate, she decided to come back.
“I wasn’t ready to commit to a full masters program and didn’t want to spend the money if I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do,” Davis said. “The flexibility of the program, ultimately brought me back.”
Davis’ background was not within the disciplines associated with the certificate, but she worked with Mejias to create a track that would benefit her the most.
“I actually did a mix of everything,” Davis said. “I took an entry level graphic design course, an online journalism course and then took the required courses.”
Due to her enthusiasm for the field, Davis was asked to be the graduate assistant and worked closely with Mejias to create a social media outreach for the program, update the website and took on a lot of the hands-on work. The program has benefited Davis is several ways.
“It has helped me understand what integrated media is and has opened my eyes to what is going on in the field,” Davis said. “Another benefit was working with my peers from all different backgrounds and seeing how we all came together from a completely different approach to complete projects.”
Davis is currently applying for jobs in social media and web content, but is considering returning to school for her Master’s.
Laura Edward, originally from Long Island, received her bachelors in communications from SUNY Cortland and is a recent graduate of the certificate program.
“I know how important social and digital media is right now and I wanted to get involved with that more,” Edward said. “I enjoyed the program because it’s hands-on.”
As her project for CMA 601, Edwards worked with the Garden Club of Lake Placid to build them a website and give them an online presence.
Edward is applying to jobs in social networking and marketing in the Syracuse and New York City area.
“I had a great experience and would love to see the program grow,” Edward said. “I think there is a lot of potential for this field.”
For more information on the certificate program, visit Integrated Media and Social Networks or contact Ulises Mejias at firstname.lastname@example.org.