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New major at WSU Vancouver draws new students

The communication program at Washington State University Vancouver recently expanded by offering a new major to students. Students can now major in integrated strategic communication, and administrators believe the major will help students succeed as the need for focused communication in the workforce increases.

As compared to a traditional communication degree, the integrated strategic communication degree is a much narrower area of study, according to program director Nanu Iyer. Strategic communication has a focus on advertising, public relations and corporate communication. The typical communication degree focuses on a broader spectrum of career fields that can range from journalism to cinema.

Iyer said that that his program, an extension of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication in Pullman, decided the degree “was the best fit for students in the WSU Vancouver campus because of our location and the demand for strategic communication professionals in the greater Portland-Vancouver area.”

As students pursuing a strategic communication degree graduate, job searches should be less time consuming and stressful, as the need for advertising and public relations continues to grow in the Portland area, according to Iyer. Iyer also discussed some of the work students could expect to do after they graduate.

“Upon graduation students can work with advertising or PR agencies, and pretty much any organization that needs communication professionals who are adept at problem solving and strategic thinking,” said Iyer. “Our students will be trained in research, message creation, design and strategy, media planning, social media and the successful execution of campaigns.”

Students in the program will learn a variety of skill sets and will be provided with classes that are relevant to the field of modern communications.

“The program emphasizes the inclusion and need for social media and other new media skills in all its classes,” Iyer said. “In addition, we require students to take two core classes that cover these areas. We also encourage them to look at DTC courses that could be a great fit based on their interests.”

The new degree has been much anticipated by faculty and prospective students. A related startup on campus, “Strategic U,” was recently profiled by The Columbian newspaper. For more information, contact Nanu Iyer at (360) 546-9176 or nanu.iyer@wsu.edu.

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