As Dean continues expanding its baccalaureate programs, many new changes and additions to the College’s curriculum are underway. One of the most notable changes is to the Marketing program, where dynamic new courses are being added to keep pace with the rapidly evolving marketing industry and help students develop real-world skills they will utilize in their careers. These will also provide opportunities for students to develop projects for actual organizations, as well as earn industry certifications – both of which are key for their portfolios and resumes.
The academic reasons for the changes are two-fold: to offer students more courses to choose from for the Marketing major, and to provide more upper-division courses where students can implement the knowledge and skills they learn in the introductory-level courses. But the overarching goal is to provide valuable experience students need to launch their careers.
“In the Sanders School of Business, everything is about having real-world experience,” explained Kelly Rys, assistant professor of Marketing. “Students thrive when it’s real-world experience and they’re working with a real executive or marketing officer. The goal is to have classes where they have opportunities to do that, and where they have the foundational knowledge to deliver on the expectations that these clients have.”
To give students that real-world experience, four new courses are being introduced to the major: Digital Marketing, Marketing Research, Strategic Brand Management and a Senior Capstone. The Digital Marketing course will focus on content creation, which is a major part of current marketing trends, and will teach students tools like email marketing, SEO, Google Analytics, HubSpot, influencer marketing and more. Students will also be able to earn certifications in many of these areas.
Both the Strategic Brand Management and Marketing Research courses will provide opportunities to work with real companies to create marketing plans, perform market research and more. These were experiences that were previously offered in Special Topics courses, but now will officially become a fundamental part of the Marketing curriculum.
Marketing majors will also now have a standalone Senior Capstone course, rather than being part of the Business Management or Sport Management capstone courses.
“The idea there is to have the students put together a marketing plan or work with a company to create a communications marketing plan for a real organization where they apply everything they learned in their courses,” explained Rys. The course will also include a simulation that will replicate a real-world situation for students to learn from.
Existing courses in other disciplines at Dean will now be available to count toward the Marketing major as well. Students will be able to choose from courses such as Consumer Behavior for those who are interested in the psychology behind marketing, Web Design and Social Media Production for those who are interested in digital content creation, and for those who love sports marketing, Sponsor Development and Digital Sports Hospitality.
This will allow students to focus on areas that they’re interested in or that align with their skillsets, as well as expose them to other areas of marketing that they’ll need in their careers.
“I try to tell students who are thinking about marketing that it doesn’t matter what your skillset is – there’s a specialization in marketing that will be a great fit with that skillset,” said Rys. “Whether it’s writing or numbers or research or creating content, there are actually so many opportunities for students.”
While these changes to the Marketing program will take effect for the 2023-24 academic year, these changes will have much longer-reaching impacts – helping students launch their careers in marketing.
“It’s a growing field and there’s a lot of opportunity there,” explained Rys. “Now that marketing is attached to actual data that shows its value, marketing is where companies are actually investing. There’s a lot of opportunity in the field, and our students can see that every single business has marketing. Having a degree in it will hopefully open some doors for them.”