January 18, 2016

Centenary University’s unique social media program aims to meet the demand of NJ businesses

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: You may have told your teen countless times that though the websites may be fun and engaging, social media skills won’t get him or her a job — or will they? Centenary University in Hackettstown has embraced the communication styles of the digital age — and the know-how sought by competitive marketing firms — with its recent launch of its Social Media Program, a new 16-credit program surrounding social media.

“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, Google head of analytics, Consumer Goods and Entertainment Sector.

Kathleen Naasz, the dean of the program, said its four courses — Social Media Marketing, Digital Advertising, Digital Analytics and Social Media Strategy and Consulting — are required to earn a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Social Media Marketing. The four courses also can be applied to any degree as a minor.

Trends in job postings indicate that employers increasingly cite social media knowledge as a required skill for many traditional marketing positions. “I was teaching traditional marketing and looking at the job postings on LinkedIn, and saw there was a 1,357 percent increase from 2010 to 2013 in job postings on LinkedIn saying that social media marketing skills were required,” Naasz said.

Over the last few years, several colleges around the country have launched master’s degrees and certificate programs in social media. Centenary University is the only college to offer a business degree with a concentration in Social Media Marketing at the bachelor’s level in the tri-state area.

Centenary also offers a social media certificate program for professionals and free help for some small- and medium-size businesses in New Jersey that want to use social media to attract and track customers.

“The function is a degree program, but with the center coming together, I really view this as a place where businesses can come and collaborate with students,” Naasz said. “We’re a place where students come to gain social media expertise and a place where businesses come to leverage those experts.

“I have been collaborating with New York City start-ups to design our new center with a modern and hip feel,” she said. “Our graduates will stand out with an undergraduate degree focused on Social Media Marketing in a job market that is increasingly demanding these skills. To put it simply, businesses need high quality social media experts and we are going to provide them.”

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.

“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,” said Dr. Barbara-Jayne Lewthwaite, president of Centenary University. “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.”

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University is an independent, coeducational liberal arts and career studies college distinguished by an accomplished faculty, small class size and diverse student body. Centenary is the only baccalaureate and master’s degree granting institution in northwest New Jersey.

Centenary University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, with its equestrian facility a few miles away in Washington Township, Morris County.


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