UWP pioneers social media

Communication Technologies is no longer a major at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

The department name was changed to the Department of Media Studies last summer.

“Media studies more adequately describes this department and what we do,” said Mary Rose Williams, media studies department chair.  “The department wanted to focus less on the technology and more on the different forms of media that students are educated in.”

Students majoring in media studies can emphasize their education in broadcasting, imaging media, journalism and public relations.

The department also adopted a social media minor this fall.  According to Williams, UW-Platteville is the first school in the UW System to offer a social media minor.

“In the media and communication fields, you either adapt or die,” said Rob Snyder, a media studies professor who designed the curriculum for the social media minor.

Before developing the minor, the department faculty looked at job descriptions for social media positions.

“We wanted to make sure that a social media minor would fit into our programs of professional development,” Snyder said.  “Social media was the missing piece.  Our program is now perfectly positioned to train students for 21st century communication jobs.”

Social media discussion has been incorporated into an applied communication class,  basic photography and writing for electronic media.  Many of the general classes for the Department of Media Studies, such as public relations principles and introduction to mass media, will also be required for this minor.  As the new minor expands, the department hopes to add new classes — possibly a social media in society class and a course on analytics, according to Snyder.

Emily Fairbairn, a media studies student with a public relations emphasis, was excited to be the first student to declare social media as her minor.

“We’re moving forward with the changing times,” Fairbairn said. “This will help me stand out when I apply for jobs.”