Naasz rejected any criticism that social media is too new or too lightweight a topic to be worthy of an academic degree.
“It is not a passing trend. I believe it is here to stay,” Naasz said. “Look at where companies are spending their money.”
The new center, which the college has dubbed #theVIBE on social media, will officially launch Oct. 9, though some students are already taking classes.
“It is not a passing trend. I believe it is here to stay,” Kathy Naasz, dean of the new social media center.
The center is housed in a section of Centenary University’s historic Seay Building on the Hackettstown campus. The space has been renovated with exposed brick walls, modular furniture, video monitors on the walls and a bring-your-own-device bar.
It is designed to look like the New York City tech start-ups Naasz, a former AT&T sales executive, visited while researching ideas for the new program.
The new center will also offer a social media certificate program for professionals and free help for some small- and medium-size businesses in New Jersey who want to use social media to attract and track customers.
Google was among the companies Centenary officials consulted when designing the program.
“The program Centenary University is launching in social media will help fill the gap we see today in analytic talent and appears to be on the forefront of instilling the skills colleges should be teaching to future professionals,” said Kevin Hartman, head of analytics for Google’s consumer goods and entertainment sector.
The first courses at the center include Social Media Marketing, Digital Advertising, Digital Analytics and Social Media Strategy and Consulting.
Naasz said she is co-teaching all of the courses this semester, but eventually hopes to hire adjunct professors who work in the social media field to teach the classes.
The private college, which charges undergraduates $31,754 in annual tuition and fees, is funding the start-up of the new social media program and center, school officials said.
“Providing our students with the opportunity to study this field that is predicted to experience accelerated job growth through 2022 is one that is valuable and unique,” says Barbara-Jayne Lewthwaite, Centenary’s president. “This is an exciting new venture that will provide students and businesses alike with knowledge that is now fast becoming essential in the business and communication field.”