Online strategic communication degree empowers working professionals

Pretty woman is working in a café

Organizations seek out the abilities. Professionals strive for the knowledge and skills. And starting Spring 2017, the MSU College of Communication Arts and Sciences will welcome its first class into a new online master’s program, convenient for working professionals, on strategic communications.

The Master of Arts in Strategic Communication represents the first time the College has offered a degree program 100 percent online. The program responds to the needs of professionals through its flexible delivery as well as through content that addresses the challenges of a 21st century communication environment.

"Given the rapidly changing communication ecosystem, mid-career professionals are eager for training to update their skills," says Prabu David, Dean of the College of ComArtSci. "Currently, communication professionals, including our own alumni, do not have rich, in-state options to learn new media techniques. This new online M.A. in strategic communication fills that gap."

Students in the nine-course, 30-credit program will examine how to leverage today's evolving media and digital mix into an integrated marketing and communications strategy for businesses, start-ups, non-profits or government agencies. Expert faculty will handle all aspects of course content and bring expertise in corporate messaging, news and information, fundamental communication processes, audience research and data analytics, and new technologies. Students will also complete a service-learning project that enables them to apply their newly acquired expertise within a community setting.

"The College of ComArtSci has long-standing leadership in an integrated theory-to-practice orientation toward effective communication strategy and tactics," says John Sherry, associate dean of for graduate studies in ComArtSci. "There is no other college in the world with such broad and deep coverage of these issues."

Students can complete courses and requirements from anywhere, anytime and at their own pace in one to three years. The program is ideally suited for working professionals with three to five years of experience in communications as well as for business and communication entrepreneurs. Students will also have opportunity to collaborate with other online learners, further enhancing their professional network.

"The ability for individuals to be located anywhere and enroll in this master's program is a distinct advantage," says ComArtSci Alum April M. Clobes, president and CEO of the MSU Federal Credit Union. "Being able to complete the program while working full-time is also essential for long-term success. MSU's high rankings in the field of communications along with excellent faculty, will make this a highly sought after degree."

The program is currently accepting applications and no GRE is required. To learn more about MSU's new online master's degree program in strategic communication through the College of ComArtSci, visit stratcom.msu.edu or contact the program director at stratcom@msu.edu.

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Journalism Grad Pursuing Career in Storytelling, Human Rights

Posted on: April 25, 2016

journalism graduate Irum IbrahimBy Kelsey Block

Recent journalism graduate Irum Ibrahim has always had a passion for storytelling. She began her college career studying business at Oakland University, but she soon switched to Michigan State to pursue journalism.

"I always knew I loved it, so I was fighting against myself," she said.

As a student, Ibrahim worked at The State News and The Red Cedar Log. During the summer of 2015, she also worked as an editorial intern for Hour Media's DBusiness Magazine. She wrote and edited stories that were published online as well as in the daily newsletter.

Ibrahim's most memorable day on the job was the day HGTV's "Rehab Addict" star Nicole Curtis visited Detroit to give a tour of a mansion she was remodeling.

"It was hands-on type of work. I was able to ask questions alongside the Detroit News and Free Press and Channel 4," she said.

She first heard of the opportunity with DBusiness through an email sent by journalism professor LA Dickerson.

"I had just finished the State News and a documentary, so this was the next thing," Ibrahim said. "I wanted to dabble with all sorts of journalism. I had done print and video and this would be magazine."

Ibrahim received the Susan B. Goldman Journalism Internship Award in connection with her time at DBusiness.

"I don't know how hard it would have been without that because my internship was unpaid and because I was taking classes, I didn't have any other income," she said. "It was really helpful to have that scholarship."

Now working full time, Ibrahim offered some advice for ComArtSci students: build as many connections as possible.

"Talk to your professors every opportunity you get. Go to office hours whenever you have a relevant question," she said. "Make sure you know what you want so you can have a narrow vision when you're looking for career opportunities. It will be easier to find something you appreciate and enjoy that will help you in the future with your career goals."

For Ibrahim, those goals include traveling and writing about human rights. She currently works as a communications and outreach coordinator for Muslim Family Services in Detroit and as a blogger for The Huffington Post.

"What I'm doing right now is helping me get where I ultimately want to be, which is working in the human rights area of journalism," she said.

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