Bryant University’s College of Arts and Sciences has announced it will offer a Digital Communication major for its Bachelor of Arts degree starting in Fall 2022.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected in May 2020 that digital communication occupations will grow 14% over the next decade. There are already signs of growth. With more people, businesses and communication moving online, hastened by a period of upheaval that began in 2020, today the demand for professionals with digital media skills is rapidly increasing.
“Bryant is answering the call with our Digital Communication program, which prepares our graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to support the vital role of communication in society.”
Building on Bryant’s unique academic curriculum, which integrates the liberal arts, STEM, and business with an emphasis on real-world preparation and a global mindset, the Digital Communication program will create skilled graduates who are real-world ready to meet rising demand and make a difference in a field that is central to organizations today.
“Communication markets and mediums are changing as a result of today’s ongoing digital transformation, calling for increased curricular integration at the university level. By combining traditional training with technology and the liberal arts with business, Bryant is answering the call with our Digital Communication program, which prepares our graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to support the vital role of communication in society,” says Wendy Samter, Ph.D., Bryant’s Interim/Associate Provost.
Meeting digital demand
Digital communication is a specific area within the field of communication focusing on digital content and digital message design. From social media to podcasts to engaging online communities to subscription streaming shows and movies, all require specialized skills and knowledge to design, create and manage them if they are to be successful.
“As more people go ‘online’ and consume digital content across a variety of platforms, professionals who really understand how to use digital media effectively are going to become ever more important.”
“As more people go ‘online’ and consume digital content across a variety of platforms, professionals who really understand how to use digital media effectively are going to become ever more important. Digital media tools require thought and planning to use effectively. Failure to do so can detract from your message or your brand, become a PR ‘nightmare’ or result in some other type of crisis,” says Chris Morse, Ph.D., Director of the Digital Communication Program, Department Chair and Professor of Communication and Executive Faculty Fellow for the Center for Health and Behavioral Sciences. “The creation and use of digital messages is an important trend in the communication field that is here to stay.”
Bryant’s new major focuses on digital content, and its design, creation and management. The fact that students also acquire a complementary business minor as a fourth element will make these graduates truly unique compared to any other programs and positions them for superior education outcomes.
“The business minor will help students by providing them with a real business acumen that allows insight into the management and financial side of the organizations or contexts that they will find themselves working in. What are the markets in this content area? How might the competition impact decisions? They'll have that frame of mind in the background,” says Morse.
“One of the reasons why we’re excited to offer this program at Bryant is because we feel we have a unique mixture of elements to offer students.”
Program graduates will be effective at creating content, determining what content is appropriate for which platform, and managing that content for both themselves and organizations. They can be successful in a range of roles, such those centering on using digital content to sell or promote a product, producing shows for subscription streaming companies such as Netflix, managing digital campaigns for initiatives within organizations or communities, increasing readability or usability of web content for companies such as Google or Amazon, being a social media content manager and more.
Unique program features
“One of the reasons why we’re excited to offer this program at Bryant is because we feel we have a unique mixture of elements to offer students,” compared to programs at other schools, says Morse.
The program’s distinctive focus on content combined with an emphasis on experiential learning, state-of-the-art technology and studio production resources, personalized attention from Bryant faculty experts and a required business minor prepares students with the knowledge and experience they need to become in-demand managers of digital communication media and campaigns. All this from a College of Arts and Sciences that confers median earnings for its graduates in the top 10% nationally.
“At Bryant, we integrate knowledge with practice. Students in this program experience hands-on practice starting their very first year."
Students will benefit from coursework where they:
- Learn from a dedicated faculty of prominent scholars, teachers, mentors and accomplished media professionals who serve as advisors.
- Focus on digital communication techniques, both as the consumer and the creator and in respect to a variety of audiences and goals.
- Learn theoretical knowledge on how to design messages and persuade audiences, including writing technique.
- Utilize technology and state-of-the-art production facilities.
- Understand features and benefits as well as best practices for a range of digital platforms.
- Create and mold digital content starting the very first year, from social media to studio productions to podcasts to digital narratives and scripts.
- Learn how to manage digital media through hands-on learning throughout the curriculum.
- Gain real-world experience in Capstone course by partnering with a nonprofit and designing and implementing a digital media campaign that solves a problem, providing knowledge, resume credentials and networking opportunities.
A key emphasis throughout the program is real-world learning. “At Bryant, we integrate knowledge with practice,” says Morse. “Students in this program experience hands-on practice starting their very first year—and learn the ‘why’ and the ‘how’—so that they can apply what they’ve learned to a variety of situations, which they’ll need to do in the real world.”