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KU to Offer Bachelor's Degree in Social Media Theory and Strategy

July 13, 2017

Bachelor of Science in Social Media Theory and StrategyKUTZTOWN, Pa. - The State System of Higher Education Board of Governors today approved a bachelor's degree in social media theory and strategy to be offered at Kutztown University. The program will be available in the fall semester and applications are being accepted at this time.

Graduates of the program will be equipped with the skills needed for success, longevity and leadership in careers rooted in social media content development, management, administration, marketing and analysis. Students will be able to apply social media knowledge to endeavors such as lead generation, public advocacy, digital marketing management, concept promotion, e-commerce, digital content marketing, pay per click (PPC) ad construction and evaluation and content marketing. Because this is a unique degree designed to serve a burgeoning field, it will give Kutztown University graduates a competitive advantage.

KU's program will be one of the first of its kind. While there are certificate programs in social media, marketing and digital media programs with a social media focus, there are only a few dedicated social media degrees in the country.

"Social media is intricately woven into our economic, civic and social lives, and those who don't become adept at producing and analyzing it are increasingly at risk," said Dr. Moe Folk, associate professor of English. "We are excited to offer a cutting-edge program that will prepare students for a variety of careers in the corporate and non-profit sectors and also allow them to take charge of their own content for any entrepreneurial hopes they have in mind."

Curriculum for the degree program will involve classwork in business, communication studies and English.

"The faculty from the departments of Business Administration, Communication Studies and English have worked passionately to design this new program," said Dr. Anne Zayaitz, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at KU. "The interdisciplinary nature of the major will provide knowledge and experiences that will result in students being prepared to enter a rapidly expanding area of the job market."

Employers are demanding and paying top salaries for the digital competency and skills that are taught in the Social Media Theory and Strategy major. Burning Glass Technologies reports that when liberal arts job seekers add the word "digital" to their resumes-or otherwise demonstrate digital competencies-they double the number of job openings for which they qualify.

Salaries for job seekers with digital expertise increase significantly. For example, an entry-level candidate who studied psychology in college receives an average salary of $42,206 per year. But when that same psychology major picks up a data analysis and statistics skillset, the starting salary can jump to $68,788. That's almost a $27,000 increase, Burning Glass reports.

Burning Glass identifies social media at the top of the list of five specific skills within the digital realm most likely to improve a job seeker's chances of getting hired.

"While there are a host of reasons why the new program is important, the one that may stand out the most is sheer need," said Dr. Keith Massie, assistant professor of communication studies. "The National Institute of Social Media found that ‘social media' jobs have increased 37 percent since February 2013, and Michael Werch, a spokesman for Indeed.com, the world's most visited job website, says that social media is ‘not tied necessarily to one particular industry...the keyword growth for 'social media' is really occurring across sectors.'"

According to Massie, a search of "social media" on Indeed.com yields more than 66,000 openings posted nationally in the last 30 days, between June 12, 2017, and July 12, 2017. More than 28,000 of those postings are considered entry-level positions.

Local employers agree.

"This major would not only benefit students, but would benefit companies... primarily because the major is a rarity and would provide a much more appealing skillset on a resume that current majors are unable to provide," said Nick Gorrie '16, Digital Marketing Specialist, Altitude Marketing.

For more information contact the Department of Communication Studies at 610-683-4251 or visit https://www.kutztown.edu/SocialMediaTheoryStrategy.