Faculty Senate approves new social media minor at WIU

By KAYLA HENRY & JENNA SKARLUPKA, Reporters

MACOMB, Illinois (NEWS3) – The Fall 2021 semester at Western Illinois University will include a new social media minor, which the Faculty Senate approved in mid-February.

Josh Averbeck, associate professor of communication, said that there’s a growing interest among students in the social media minor, including those majoring in business, marketing, sports, health and more.

“I’ve had over 30 people contact me since it’s been posted, so I think there’s going to be a lot of interest, we’re going to have to add a lot of sections just to meet the need,” Averbeck said.

As social media has grown over the years, Averbeck said careers in it have, too.

“So not only is it going to be relevant to a lot of people, but I think it’s going to open the door to a lot of jobs that were previously unavailable to students,” Averbeck said.

Classes for the minor include analytics, campaigns and persuasion. Averbeck said the old minor, computer-mediated communication, was rebranded for student interest in social media. 

“A lot of what we teach in two of the courses that are essential to the minor were in social media,” Averbeck said. “So we renamed the courses, updated the titles, and it seemed like the time to do the total rebrand, since that’s what students are interested in.” 

Averbeck said social media in general is about knowing your audience and their needs. 

“Really it’s about how do you generate a message, how do you influence people, and then specifically how do you do that in a mediated context,” Averbeck said.

Search for social media on the WIU homepage to learn more about the minor, or go to http://www.wiu.edu/news/newsrelease.php?release_id=17692.