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School of Mass Communication launches social media, environmental communication minors

Loyola press release - September 16, 2014

Responding to employer and student demand, the School of Mass Communication at Loyola University New Orleans just launched two new minors, social media and environmental communication. These minors are geared toward non-mass communication students, as all graduates increasingly are expected to adapt to careers that heavily rely on digital storytelling and consumer engagement, skills that, until now, have only been available to mass communication majors.

Courses in the social media minor include social media strategies, communications writing, digital communications, photography and videography. The environmental communication minor includes an environmental communication course, covering the environmental beat, an introduction to mass communication and communication writing. Each minor consists of 18 credit hours with electives.

Sonya Duhé, Ph.D., director of the School of Mass Communication, says she has made a concerted effort to increase the number of minors offered by the school so that non-mass communication students can also take advantage of the elite program that has secured two national accreditations and regularly finds itself in the national spotlight.

“We believe the environmental communication minor can serve as a real complement to students in the hard sciences to give them that communication component that could really set them apart from others in the field. And social media, right now, is part of every communications mode, so we believe this minor is really critical for folks who want to survive in a highly competitive job market,” Duhé said.

Robert A. Thomas, Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Environmental Communication, who will oversee the environmental communication minor, echoes Duhé’s sentiments and believes there is an increasing demand for scientists and other professionals who have the will and ability to communicate often complex issues to the lay public as well as other stakeholders.

“It is rare that people meld the skills of public communication and the sciences. They often view themselves as having skills that deal with the public arena or skills and interests that focus more on the pursuit of knowledge. A blend of these abilities and interests has emerging value and importance,” Thomas said.

Andrew Nelson, visiting professor in the School of Mass Communication, who teaches a social media strategies course at Loyola, has already witnessed the potential payoff these new minors will provide.

“A lot of what makes this exciting is seeing the students respond to nontraditional media they are familiar and comfortable with. We instruct them in the traditional and important skills of reporting, editing and ethics. The results have been impressive. We've grown our social platforms significantly since establishing them last year.”

For more information on the minors, contact the School of Mass Communication at masscomm@loyno.edu.

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