Friday, April 19, 2019 | By Chuck Carlson
With an eye toward the future and a nod to the past, Albion College has established two new majors that will put a fresh spin on traditional subjects.
Beginning this fall, integrated marketing communication (IMC) will be added in the Department of Communication Studies, while marketing management will be available in the Department of Economics and Management.
“We’ve been working toward this for a while,” said Megan Hill, an assistant professor in Communication Studies who is helping to coordinate the new IMC major. “Even though the major is new, none of the classes are new. We’ve been teaching these for quite a while, but we’re now just formalizing a path that our students have been on. This new major was student-driven in the sense that these were courses they were already taking, so it made sense to structure it formally.”
Some of those classes include such reliable core courses as Introduction to Human Communication, Public Speaking and Research Methods that will be supplemented with courses stemming from the discipline’s rhetorical roots, such as Persuasion, Public Relations and Social Media.
“If students are interested in marketing communication for example, these are the classes they take,” Hill said. “Then they combine them with electives to give them additional skills.”
Hill said current students can change their existing major to IMC and, upon graduation, be prepared for any number of jobs in various communications and marketing fields.
“They can go into public relations and they can handle social media,” she said. “We had a graduate recently who’s working in Chicago as an account executive for an ad agency.”
Hill sees the new major as a logical and positive step toward addressing and embracing the changing field.
“We’re optimistic about this,” said Hill, adding that Albion is the only institution in the Great Lakes Colleges Association offering a major of this type. “This is the future market in terms of people looking for jobs. Those are areas of projected growth in the next 10 years.”
The new E&M major charts a different path, according to associate professor and department chair John Bedient.
“This fits better with our style and philosophy of being economics and management,” he said. “Marketing is really part of managing the entire company, so we decided to name it that because it seemed to fit us better.”
And while marketing is also a traditional college major, Bedient said this one will have a new look.
“It’s all new,” he said. “We have taught Marketing Principles from time to time in the past but everything else is new. This is going to involve a fair amount of sociology and psychology. And that fits very well into a liberal arts context.”
Bedient said that when he was interim director of the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management, several years ago, a student survey was conducted asking what they were interested in studying. Some 30 percent said marketing.
The new major, while focusing on the tried and true of marketing, will also look ahead and teach courses on digital marketing as well as an already popular Google Analytics class.
“We teach problem solving,” Bedient said. “That’s really what marketing is. The way in which we reach consumers and the information we know about them has certainly changed. But marketing as a part of management really hasn’t changed. We want to satisfy the consumer and we’re getting better at figuring out who needs what.”
And like the new communication-focused major, this one will equip students with a broader and deeper background when they hit the job market.
“It takes a while to break into marketing and it takes a while to move your way up,” Bedient said. “That’s why it’s important for our students to be qualified to get into entry-level doors.”
For more information on the integrated marketing communication major, contact the Department of Communication Studies. To learn more about the marketing management major, contact the Department of Economics and Management.