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A.Q. Miller School launches Bachelor of Science in digital innovation in media for fall 2023

Monday, Aug. 22, 2022



MANHATTAN — Kansas State University's A.Q. Miller School of Media and Communication is launching a new Bachelor of Science in digital innovation in media, introducing a new era of academic innovation designed to deliver graduates with in-demand blended digital skills in entrepreneurship, computing and digital engagement.

Online and on-campus classes begin in fall 2023. Prospective students can apply to the program at k-state.edu/admissions/apply.

The program, the first in Kansas, the region and one of the first in the country, includes a 60-hour core curriculum that features courses in eight- and 16-week formats that will enable students to earn four credentials in one program without additional courses or semesters. In addition to the bachelor's in digital innovation in media, students will earn a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation, a certificate in computer science and a certificate in digital engagement.

Approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in June, the digital innovation in media program reimagines the traditional degree to build a new cohort of digital innovators. The program was developed by the A.Q. Miller School in the College of Arts and Sciences in partnership with the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, the College of Business Administration, the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab at Hale Library and K-State Global Campus. The faculty and staff include award-winning industry professionals, scholars and thought leaders who have worked for or consulted with Fortune 500, Fintech 100 and Digital 100 companies, colleges and universities.

"This program builds students' skills in a variety of important ways," said Greg Paul, professor and director of the A.Q. Miller School. "It also demonstrates our commitment to collaboration, engagement and digital transformation that are hallmarks of the future of higher education."

The Mid-America Regional Council and Zippia project that Kansas and regional employers will need to hire more than 40,000 graduates over the next 10 years with the blended digital skills for the jobs of today and the jobs that will be created in the future. Across the country, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 1.7 million digital media-related jobs will need to be filled by 2030. In addition, the bureau reports entry-level salaries for digitally skilled professionals will range from nearly $40,000 to more than $111,000.

"Industry has challenged institutions of higher education to shift quickly to meet the demand for digitally skilled workers," said Alan Boyer, digital innovation in media program director and professor of practice at the A.Q. Miller School. "K-State is leading the way in developing programs that build in-demand blended digital skills and the mindset of an entrepreneur, computer programmer and content creator."

Boyer, a K-State master's alumnus who is also a member of the school's national advisory council, envisioned the program in collaboration with K-State's Scott DeLoach, head of the computer science department; Chad Jackson, director of the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship; and Jeffrey Sheldon, associate director of the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab. The team developed and aligned new courses, modalities and lab experiences with existing courses to create a fully blended degree program that will prepare students to write compelling content; start their own businesses; code software; build mobile apps; secure networks; design next-gen games; optimize analytics and data; communicate across cultures and more.

In addition to 60 hours of general education requirements, digital innovation in media majors will complete 12 hours of foundation courses and 48 hours of required core courses organized in three curriculum areas: digital engagement, computing and entrepreneurship. Students will participate in apprenticeship programs during their junior or senior years to perfect their newly developed skills with potential post-graduate employers. Jobs in the field include mobile marketing manager, digital brand strategist, software developer, data analyst, game designer, digital product manager, digital brand manager, social media specialist, programmer, digital business analyst, online merchant, digital merchandiser and digital strategist, among others.

"This new degree is an academic innovation that also advances K-State's cyber land-grant initiative and aligns with the Kansas Board of Regents' strategic focus on the talent pipeline to Kansas businesses and innovation," said Chris Culbertson, professor and interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information about the program, visit k-state.edu/digin.