The undergraduate certificate in social media offered at Central Michigan University has been helping some students get an edge on their competition.
Former Social Media Adviser Mary Lichtman developed all of the courses for the program, which began in 2012. She said social media has greatly changed business, marketing, journalism and communication in recent years, and she believes it can be a powerful tool for students.
“It’s much more than knowing how to post on Facebook or Twitter,” Lichtman said. “It’s using analytics; designing strategic plans to integrate social media tools as part of an overall communication plan.”
The first and only undergraduate certificate at CMU, the social media certificate takes 15 credit hours to earn. Students are required to complete four specific online courses, as well as one related elective course. The required classes focus on the impact of social media in today’s world and teaching practical applications of social media for organizations and businesses.
The certificate shows employers that a student is proficient in skills pertaining to social media.
The certificate is available to on-campus and off-campus students, as well as those who are not pursuing a degree at the university.
It is unknown how many main campus students are enrolled in social media classes, but there are 15 students taking the courses through CMU’s Global Campus online program.
Recent graduate Gina Joseph earned her certificate last year through CMU while working in PR solutions at a software company called Cision. She said what she learned from the program helped her excel when she was named to the newly-formed social media team at the company.
“Social media is pretty essential for most brands and businesses, and it’s becoming a priority for universities to teach,” the Traverse City native said. “Whether you major in business, public relations or journalism, social media is a great skill to know.”
The courses, taught by journalism professors, show students how to optimize their use of popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, how to increase traffic to websites and how to incorporate social media into an organization.