Kathy Naasz, Dr. Deirdre Christofalo and Tim Guella (Photo11: William Westhoven/Staff Photo)
Centenary University’s School of Professional studies is bringing a whole new “Vibe” to its new satellite campus in Parsippany.
The Hackettstown-based school, which had offered its evening adult courses at an office building at the corner of Littleton and Parsippany roads since 1999, recently moved to another township office building in the Mack-Cali campus near Route 10.
Wednesday, the Daily Record toured the second-floor space occupied by Centenary at 7 Campus Drive, where it also unveiled its new Social Media Center of Expertise, better known as “#theVIBE.”
Housed in one of the larger rooms in the 22,000-square-foot campus, #theVIBE offers a technology-rich environment with Apple TVs that can be shared by multiple users, a touch-screen video wall, a glass blackboard for writing or projected images, and seating that ranges from high tavern-style tables to long tables that can be moved or reconfigured for different purposes.
Centenary students studying social-media marketing, for example, will be able to enjoy a modern collaborative environment.
The cafeteria at the new Centenary University satellite campus at 7 Campus Drive in Parsippany. (Photo11: Centenary University)
“This is a rapidly changing field and the program keeps students on the pulse of social media through interactive demos, customized video homework by social-media experts, and hands-on use of industry social media listening software,” the university stated in its announcement of #theVIBE opening. “Additionally, embedded in the courses are Google and Facebook certifications.”
Other courses available for study there include digital advertising, digital analytics and social-media strategy and consulting.
“The career opportunities in this field, in this part of the country, are massive,” said Centenary Vice President for Innovation Kathy Naasz, who is managing #theVIBE with Social Media Director Tim Guella. “We can’t fill all the requests from companies looking for social media experts, so the move to Parsippany, to accelerate the training of working professionals who have interest in either expanding their skill set or making a career shift, is the next logical step. We have not even begun to market it and we already have 10 students in the first class in May.”
The Centenary program has corporate supporters in high places, starting with Kevin Hartman, who heads Google’s Analytics-Consumer Goods and Entertainment Sector. “The program Centenary 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,” Hartman said.
Count U.S. Sen. Cory Booker as another fan.
“#theVIBE will help ensure that the next generation of business leaders is able to harness the power of the digital platforms and translates online presence into tangible results,” Booker said.
The new location for the Centenary University satellite campus at 7 Campus Drive in Parsippany. (Photo11: Centenary University)
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, with its equestrian facility in Washington (Morris County). The Centenary School of Professional Studies, launched in 1999 offers degree programs in Parsippany, Edison and corporate sites throughout New Jersey.
#theVIBE was first launched at Centenary University in Hackettstown in September 2015 as a location where students can gain social-media expertise and where businesses can leverage the knowledge of social-media experts. The program continues there, but its success motivated the university to build a second #theVIBE in Parsippany, large enough to also host events, workshops and conferences.
“All these TV panels are interactive, so you can share anything instantaneously,” Naasz said. “What’s great for learning is if you have any device, and you see a great example of an ad or a post that someone did, you can walk in and just share it on the screen. We also have a camera set up to record lectures.”
Centenary is still adding finishing touches to some of the 10 other well-equipped classrooms at the new campus, where 60 to 120 students may be attending evening programs on a given day, according to Dr. Deirdre Christofalo, Centenary’s vice president for corporate, adult and online education.
The Parsippany satellite campus also offers a patio, cafeteria, quiet study rooms and other amenities. Adult degree programs and certifications offered there include an associate of arts degree with a business emphasis; bachelor’s degrees in business administration and sociology (concentration on organizational studies), a master’s degree in business administration (accelerated); and certificates in health administration, social-media marketing and leadership.
“You can get a certificate or a bachelor of science in business administration with social-media marketing as a concentration,” Naasz said. “So we’re the only ones in the Tristate that have this concentration as part of a business degree. We launched that in 2015, and now we’ve brought it to Parsippany.”
Programs can be taken in three ways — in class, online or a combination of the two.
Staff Writer William Westhoven: 973-917-9242; wwesthoven@GannettNJ.com.