What in the world is integrated strategic communication? For the first time, students at UW-Eau Claire are seeing the words “integrated strategic communication” appear on their class schedules and course catalogues. It’s not just students who may be questioning what the term means, according to a press release from assistant professor Evan Perrault.
Integrated Strategic Communication is a new program, which is officially replacing the mass communication program in the UW-Eau Claire Department of Communication and Journalism as of Fall 2015.
The ISC program still offers a major or minor degree with a public relations or advertising emphasis. But the curriculum is revised, and the approach is a significant change, according to the press release.
Previously, students learned about public relations and advertising as though a wall existed between the two.
The ISC program tears down that artificial wall with a new curriculum. The introductory and capstone courses for public relations and advertising have been merged, so students learn to develop communications that serve in both PR and advertising, through integrated storytelling.
The new ISC introductory course has a multimedia lab for students to learn hands-on skills about producing integrated content. Upper-division courses have changed as well, to further integrate public relations and advertising knowledge and skill building.
Public relations student Hanna Johnson said ISC involves the objectives, strategies and tactics that underlie professions in the field of communication.
“I believe this program will benefit students by providing them with an inclusive, well-rounded degree in communication,” said Johnson who will serve as an academic apprentice in the fall for the new intro course that is combining Introduction to Advertising and Introduction to Public Relations. “Students majoring in ISC will leave college with a strong base of communication skills, knowledge and ethical standards that will make them marketable to future employers.”
But the ISC program is more than just a change in class schedules. It reflects the professional world of integrated communication, and the sea change in the media environment, Perrault stated in the release.
Organizations interact with the public through digital communication and social media. Mass communication has converged with interpersonal communication. Students will learn about this converged – or merged – environment by focusing on how organizations present their personality, or brand, through integrated communication. In addition to learning how public relations and advertising are developed together, students will also learn how “branded journalism” plays a role in how organizations communicate their brand.
All the changes represent broadening career opportunities for students who earn degrees from the ISC program.
Organizations are placing a priority on having communicators to help the organization interact effectively with an increasingly diverse public. Job growth is on the rise for positions in integrated strategic communication, particularly for positions requiring multimedia storytelling skills, according to Perrault.
“I am looking forward to seeing how this change in the CJ department will positively impact current and future students. I believe it is a step in the right direction for UW-Eau Claire,” Johnson said.
What do you think about this change to our department? Let us know in the comments below!