15:11 PM

UHCL Communication degree expands to meet industry needs for social media proficiency

Social media is now the number one internet activity, according to a report by Business Insider. This means that the overwhelming majority of consumers are influenced by social media in their purchasing choices, and businesses know it. That's why they're actively searching for employees with social media savvy, and it's why for fall 2022, University of Houston-Clear Lake is expanding its Bachelor of Arts in Communication coursework to include strategic social media courses.

"Our program has always been a mix of applied classes and theoretical classes to prepare students," said Associate Professor of Communication Anna Klyueva. "One piece that we have needed was social media. Our students have skills in media writing, computer graphics, video production, communication ethics, public relations and more, but the social media element has been missing till now, and we know from student and industry demand that hiring managers across disciplines want students not only be social media savvy but also understand social media analytics."

She said all Communication students will be required to take a course entitled Social Media Analytics. "Our program here at UH-Clear Lake is among the first to make this a required class for students," she said. "Many programs elsewhere have a class like this, but it's an elective. We taught this class once, and received feedback that suggests students are excited and interested in this."

Klyueva added that the social media courses were open to all students, not just Communication majors.

Caitlyn Cooper, is receiving her Communication degree this spring, is currently taking the Public Relations Campaigns, a project-based, hands-on course in which students take on external clients as well as internal, such as support departments or programs within UHCL, to research and develop communication campaigns that address the client's needs.

Her "client" is the Communication program itself, to help raise awareness about the new social media-related coursework that is now available to students seeking the degree.

She said that in addition to the Social Media Analytics class, students could take Social Media Content Production and Strategic Social Media. "It's a key communication experience," she said. "Taking these courses translates to better preparedness for the job market. Social media has become one of the most powerful tools in the field of communication. Students will be well versed and qualified to be put in corporate positions that include social media proficiency."

Associate Professor of Communication and Program Director Brent Kice said the university considered this expansion a priority and was taking steps to ensure students had the opportunity to acquire these skills. "We are planning to hire faculty specializing in social media analytics and hope to develop additional courses," he said. "Students who would like to be more specialized can take all three of the courses we're offering. The courses are content-focused and based on the needs of clients."

To learn more about UHCL's Communication program, go online.