Why It Matters

SOME COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ARE CHANGING THEIR PROGRAMS

Dr. Kim Garris, a Communications/Journalism professor at Shippensburg University teaches a course called Digital Storytelling.  It’s one of the many new courses offered in the University’s newly revamped graduate program.  “We changed our entire graduate program.  We just took what we used to have and said it doesn’t work anymore.  We said, ‘What are we doing for our graduate students who are the ones who truly need this…they are coming back to us and getting it.  The undergraduates are going to get this because they are here for college.  The graduate students are the ones who are likely out in the workforce and realize it’s changing and they’re not getting it out there,” says Garris.

EMPLOYERS WANT GRADUATES WHO ARE VERSATILE ON THE WEB

The Department of Communications and Journalism at Shippensburg University serves more than 300 students seeking their B.A. in Communication/Journalism with tracks in Print Media, Public Relations, and Electronic Media, or the M.S. in Communication Studies.  Dr. Garris says using social media on a regular basis, and using social media for journalistic purposes are very different.  It is a learned skill that, when mastered, can render the best commercial value.  “Every study I read, every professional I talk to, every academic conference I go to, every professional externship I get to participate in, it’s always…’What are the employers looking for?’  And it’s someone who can be versatile on the web..and it all comes back to good writing.  And the web becomes more challenging,” adds Dr. Garris.

BE THE BEST, GET A JOB

As Dr. Garris noted and as much research suggests, employers want graduates who are versatile with the web, to include social media.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a gloomy picture for students who are currently in journalism programs.  It expects employment of reporters and correspondents to decline by 8 percent from 2010 to 2020.  Students who attend Universities that have implemented these new digital times into their curriculum will be among the graduates whose futures look bright.

The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications recently recommended full accreditation for Shippensburg University, which would make it one of the top programs in mass communication and journalism, placing it among just 109 other accredited programs worldwide.  Here’s a look at some of the other Universities in the Northeast making the list:

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