The first online IMC program in the nation, the WVU IMC program has seen significant growth and continued innovation throughout the last 10 years.
The WVU IMC graduate program began in 2001 as a 15-credit hour certificate program. The full 39-credit hour master’s degree program officially launched in the fall of 2003 with 17 students in its first class. Just three years later, the program exceeded 100 students.
Today, the IMC program has 426 students enrolled from 41 states and five foreign countries, as well as almost 500 graduates representing 46 states and countries on five of the seven continents. The program caters to mid-level communications professionals. In its most recent starting class, students averaged 8.3 years of professional experience upon entry.
“The growth of the IMC program is a reflection of the excellent curriculum, faculty and administration,” said School of Journalism Dean Maryanne Reed. “We have become a national leader in quality online graduate programming, and our pioneering efforts are a model for competitors in the field.”
As other universities launch online programs, WVU IMC is proud of its history and how far it has come since its inaugural class of 17.
“In the online program space, the WVU IMC program is a seasoned veteran,” said Chad Mezera, online programs director at the School of Journalism. “The trick to our success is that we don’t take that for granted. We’re still constantly thinking about what’s around the corner, what we can do better and how we can best update, and add to, our curriculum to make sure we’re offering the most relevant master’s degree for communications professionals.”
“The world today being built by the millennial generation is a lot more social, digital, participative and collaborative than the world of previous generations,” said Thomas L. Harrison, Chairman of Omnicom’s Diversified Agency Services and member of the WVU IMC program’s advisory board. “The WVU IMC program understands where the industry is headed and is there to help communications professionals be leaders in that space.”
While the growth of student enrollment is certainly a strong benchmark, the IMC program is equally proud of other milestones, including the addition of flexible electives now totaling 20 allowing for specialization within the program; the launch of a graduate certificate in digital marketing communications; the recruitment of expert faculty now totaling 59 from across the country; the launch of an online professional development series in social media and marketing in the fall of 2012; and the continued growth and success of the program’s annual INTEGRATE professional IMC conference.
“We know what we do well is adapt our curriculum and program offerings to current industry trends, as well as listen to our students’ needs and make sure that we’re putting them first,” Mezera said. “That is what we’ve done for the last 10 years, and it’s exactly what we’ll continue to do for the next 10 years.”
Nationwide online education has been on the rise throughout the last decade. According to the 2012 Babson Survey Research Group report “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States,” approximately 1.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in the fall of 2002. By fall of 2011, that number reached 6.7 million.
The IMC program will host a special 10-year anniversary celebration during its annual INTEGRATE conference this May 31-June 1. More information about the conference can be found at http://imc.wvu.edu/integrate. Access a special 10-year anniversary web page at http://imc.wvu.edu/community/10th-anniversary.
CONTACT: Briana Warner, School of Journalism
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