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University of Missouri’s New #SocialMedia Curriculum Setting New Standards

A new innovative partnership between the Missouri School of Journalism and global marketing agency VML will serve as a professional training program for students interested in working in social media. The course, “Advanced Social Media Strategies,” will be offered for the first time in the spring 2016 semester and will enroll both undergraduate and graduate students.

VML is one of the world’s leading marketing agencies recognized by the industry’s most prestigious creative award programs such as Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, among others. The School is an international leader in journalism and strategic communication education, recently ranked No. 1 in the NewsPro/Radio Television Digital News Association poll for the third year in a row.

Advanced Social Media Strategies will create a new hands-on learning opportunity, an extension of the Missouri Method. Students will plan, develop and implement social media for the Missouri School of Journalism’s social accounts, embracing the opportunity to showcase their work throughout the semester via the School’s public channels. The course will help students evaluate and integrate multiple social media platforms, upgrade their skills and provide access to experts in various channels.

“Collaborating with top professionals provides a tremendous opportunity for Missouri School of Journalism students to develop strategic social media skills using the industry’s leading tools and techniques,” said David Kurpius, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism.

What makes this partnership different from the ongoing practice of collaborating with industry organizations and hosting guest speakers is the depth of the involvement from VML. Representatives helped develop the course structure, from inception through development of the course schedule, materials, workflow and other activities. Students in the course will be immersed in the practice of social media much like they would in an agency setting.

Missouri School of Journalism Professor Suzette Heiman will direct the course. Co-instructors from VML will be Chad Martin, director of social and emerging media, and Laura Brand, BJ ’06, a supervisor of social strategy.

The coordinated approach for Advanced Social Media Strategies will also allow students to identify knowledge gaps between their personal social media use and the professional tools they’ve used in their other courses and internships.

At the conclusion of the course, those enrolled will have the enhanced social media skills VML and other agencies seek in their new hires and interns.

This is a proactive approach to the always-changing and evolving nature of social media that provides skill sets that are needed in today’s marketing landscape.

“VML is committed to advancing the social media skills and experience that students need to help them be successful in their job search after graduation,” said Jon Cook, global CEO at VML and a 1993 Missouri School of Journalism graduate.

Martin added, “With this partnership, we’re able to better shape the future of talent across the strategic communications industry, and we’re honored to work with the Missouri School of Journalism to create this opportunity for students.”

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Andre Bourque (@SocialMktgFella) is a cannabis industry media influencer, brand executive and advisor, blockchain marketer, and cannabis columnist. He specializes in cannabis industry partnerships, distribution, and funding. He is a ranked social media marketing and content strategist.

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