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Online Learning Consortium says WVU's IMC 'Outstanding Online Program'

The Integrated Marketing Communications online graduate program at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media been named the “Outstanding Online Program” for 2015 by the Online Learning Consortium, the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of online learning worldwide.

The OLC annually recognizes an outstanding online program offered by a member institution that has a proven record of excellence, as demonstrated by its success in providing expanded access, learning effectiveness and high levels of student and faculty satisfaction, in a cost-effective manner.

“The OLC Awards acknowledge creative and effective approaches to advancing online education,” said Catheryn Cheal, chair of OLC’s Nominations, Awards and Recognition Committee. “The 2015 recipients represent extraordinary examples of the exciting innovation happening in online learning today, and we congratulate them on their successes.”

The OLC said WVU’s IMC program was recognized for “excellent growth, leading-edge, interactive coursework and a dedication to student success and satisfaction.”

The program, launched in 2003 with an initial class of 17, is now WVU’s largest graduate program with nearly 500 active students. IMC has long been recognized by marketing communications leaders for its practical, industry-focused approach. This honor, according to IMC Program Director Chad Mezera, highlights the program’s academic quality and commitment to the student experience.

“This is the most significant and prestigious award an online program can receive,” said Mezera. “I am extremely proud of this achievement and the validation of the work we’ve done over the past decade.”

Mezera says he looks forward to building on the success recognized by this award to further strengthen the IMC program and serve as a model to expand online education in the College of Media.

“This award is indicative of WVU’s commitment to academic innovation,” said WVU Provost Joyce McConnell. “We’re extremely proud that the IMC program is being recognized as a world leader in online education.”

The IMC program gives public relations, marketing and other communications professionals the theoretical grounding and practical skills they need to build, implement and measure integrated communication programs in today’s dynamic digital environment.

The academically rigorous program offers a customizable master’s degree in IMC and a graduate certificate in IMC. Characterized by small class sizes, personalized attention and access to the most current thinking and innovative methods in the field, the program is both specialized and flexible, requiring no on-campus classroom attendance.

“Our model provides superior engagement throughout the student life cycle,” added Mezera. “At all touchpoints, the program seeks to facilitate interaction, provide exceptional customer service and instill a sense of community.”

The program’s curriculum emphasizes a holistic approach to marketing communications. Professionals are able to choose from master’s-level courses in brand equity management, marketing research and analysis, content marketing, visual information design, digital storytelling, mobile marketing and multicultural communications, among other subjects.

The OLC, formerly The Sloan Consortium, will present the awards at a luncheon on Oct. 15 at the 21st Annual Online Learning Consortium International Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Read the official release at WVU Today.