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Loyola’s Emerging Media Program Continues to Evolve


As “millennials,” Loyola students are well-versed in the various social media that surrounds them on day-to-day basis. But in a world where competency in social media usage, strategy and responsibility can land you a high-profile job after graduation, it is becoming more evident that there is more to learn about this industry. Loyola’s Communication Department is looking to teach students more about the importance of social media and our responsibilities as users with an M.A. program in Emerging Media.

While this program has now been in existence for the past three years, curriculum and course offerings continue to change as the nature of media changes. So what exactly is emerging media? Erin Richardson, director of program operations, explained “emerging media is consistently changing so what we’re talking about today would be different if we had this interview a year from now. But right now, the program has a heavy focus on current social media platforms and tools.”

Discussions about creating a potential M.A. program began as early as 10 years ago, with the recession that lasted from 2007- 2009 revealing some key reasons why emerging media was important to focus on. Despite a bad economy, certain Loyola graduates at the time were still able to land jobs in social media which pushed the creation of a comprehensive graduate program.

What makes this particular M.A. unique is not just the fact that it adapts and changes every semester, but that it is almost entirely online and that students can make their own schedules. With only two one-week seminar classes on site at Loyola, the program allows students in all different stages of their careers to earn their graduate degree at their convenience. However, if the program is pursued full-time, students can graduate in just one year, when most M.A programs take two years to complete.

“Students come from various backgrounds, whether they just graduated or they’re in their 50s or 60s. Some were in advertising, some have a healthcare or non-profit background, and I think that creates a richer experience for the students as they’re learning,” Richardson added.

The emerging media program currently has 78 enrolled students who are taught by tenured and tenure-track faculty in the Communication Department, including chair Dr. Elliot King and Dr. Neil Alperstein who developed the program. Richardson recently graduated from the program and shared that from a student perspective, classes that she found particularly engaging included strategic communication, global communication and media ethics.

“Emerging media teaches students how to be smart about what they’re doing on social media, and also drives home the ethical implications of being responsible with social media in both your personal and professional life,” Richardson said.

Financial aid is available for the program through the Office of Financial Aid at Loyola and through scholarships that are given based on academic performance and improvement. The communication department has hosted a variety of virtual information sessions and looks to continue to promote the program to those outside of the Loyola community. On April 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. there will be a virtual chat about “How to Successfully Learn Online” followed by another session on April 27 from 8 to 9 p.m. that shares a student’s perspective.

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Loyola’s Emerging Media Program Continues to Evolve