Advertising major approved; combination of journalism, marketing classes

Central Michigan University students can now join the multi-billion dollar advertising industry fully armed with an advertising major, as it was approved two weeks ago.

The major is a combination of journalism and marketing designated classes.

Starting July 1, the new bulletin will allow students the opportunity to officially sign an advertising major, allowing CMU to be on a level playing field with other institutions that offer the major, including Western Michigan University, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, Ferris State University and Eastern Michigan University.

Journalism Professor Doug Berry said the whole curriculum approval process took about two and half years. Berry was the main professor behind formulating and lobbying for the advertising major.

“Its approval means a lot of things,” he said. “It means students have a full curriculum that is really based on what they need to know by the time they leave. The marketing and journalism departments were both very supportive and great. The dean was fantastic as well.”

Associate Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts Shelly Hinck said she is excited the major was passed.

“I was really positive about the curricular changes that the journalism department wanted to make, partly because I know that we have a strong advertising concentration, and I thought the changes he wanted to make appeared to be sound,” Hinck said. “It will provide the students with the necessary education to be successful when they leave.”

Previously, only an advertising concentration within journalism and an advertising minor were available.

“The minor was really good. It was half marketing and half media,” said Berry, who has 24 years of experience working at top-notch firms like Young & Rubicam, Team Detroit and Leo Burnett. “Advertising and marketing are very interrelated, and you need both to succeed.”

One new class, JRN 397B: Writing for Advertising, has been created for the major, as well as a mandatory internship.

“The new class, Writing for Advertising, really came from the students, who requested more help on this,” Berry said.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Salma Ghanem, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts. “When Doug Berry showed it to us, he had done a survey of the students and there seemed to be a very big interest in pursuing such a major here at CMU.”

Berry said the survey of 140 students revealed an advertising major can complement many different majors, as students had diverse backgrounds such as marketing, integrative public relations, psychology, journalism, apparel merchandising and graphic design.

Though Berry said many students take an interest in advertising after discovering their interest in a course like JRN 360: Advertising Principles, there is an advertising student stereotype.

“Advertising is ‘think different.’ The reason why the advertising is as substantial as it is, is that it thinks of brands in different ways, in emotional ways that linear people don’t understand,” he said.

Berry said a student might think, “I like marketing, but I don’t like statistics. I like writing, but I’m not sure writing press releases is what I’m made for, and advertising sounds much more interesting to me.”

“It’s a kind of student that rebels against the rules a bit,” Berry said. “A more outspoken student compared to news editorial students who are quiet and polite.”