Once a small part of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, and of Outreach, the Integrated Marketing Communication Program’s growth at the regional campuses has increased in the past 18 months. Word-of-mouth promotion from enthusiastic students has driven much of the growth. But active recruitment and disciplined focus has also played a role.
As of the end of May, the program has 26 students at the DeSoto and Tupelo campuses, with additional student registration expected through the summer, since regional students tend to register later than their counterparts on the Oxford campus. The program also had its first graduating class this spring with students either stepping into new jobs and starting careers or planning to attend law school or obtain a higher degree in their field.
Working with admissions officers and academic counselors at community colleges, IMC staff have worked to raise the profile of IMC as an exciting and flexible field of study. Students are attracted to the job potential and creative satisfaction that are part of the IMC major. Thanks to new marketing materials and ongoing communication, students and their advisors are more aware of what IMC is and what it offers. Targeted recruitment meetings at the DeSoto and Tupelo campuses, supported by program leadership and current Oxford and regional students, have attracted potential new students and have been well attended and received.
Community outreach also has helped raise the program’s profile. This spring, the first regional senior class of IMC students developed marketing, branding and public relations campaigns for key community organizations in Southaven and Tupelo. They include the Southaven Park District, Southaven Chamber of Commerce, Tupelo area United Way, CREATE Foundation of Tupelo, and the Shepherd’s Hands philanthropy in Tupelo.
Students had the opportunity to present to executives and boards of directors and saw their proposals accepted and used as part of each organization’s branding and development plans. One of our graduates was hired by one of the participating organizations. Program leaders hope that these efforts will continue to generate growth and additional job and internship opportunities for students.
Leaders believe this growth is just the beginning, and there is tremendous potential for the program at both the DeSoto and Tupelo campuses. While regional students often face different challenges from those faced by Oxford students and complete their IMC requirements in a more condensed time frame, the enthusiasm of the program’s regional students and their belief in their future are very much the same.