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WVU online IMC grad program offers track for DINFOS students

DINFOS Stephanie Luke

Students from the Defense Information School (DINFOS) can now enroll in a track exclusively for military personnel in West Virginia University’s renowned online Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) master’s degree program.

Since 2012, the WVU Reed College of Media has had a partnership with DINFOS that allows students to transfer up to six credits earned through DINFOS into the IMC program, shortening the amount of time it takes for them to complete their degrees from 10 courses to eight. Now the two institutions are collaborating to design and enroll a full DINFOS IMC cohort of students who will progress through the program together.

“We’ve seen the caliber of students from DINFOS, and their work ethic and experience epitomize the characteristics we look for in an IMC student. Not only do we owe it to these service members to provide further education that can help advance their careers, but we benefit from the valuable insights they bring to class discussions.”Chad Mezera, College of Media assistant dean of online programs

DINFOS provides training for more than 2,600 U.S. military, Department of Defense civilians, international military, and interagency students annually. They provide courses in public affairs, print journalism, photojournalism, photography, television and radio broadcasting and various forms of multimedia.

The new DINFOS IMC curriculum begins in May and is structured to ensure students finish the program in one year. All courses are entirely online, and some will be taught by instructors with a military or Department of Defense public affairs background. Additionally, tuition for the WVU IMC program is offered at a discounted rate that can be covered by the G.I. Bill or other forms of Department of Defense tuition assistance.

Ian Carver took advantage of the Post 9/11 Bill and graduated with his IMC degree in 2019. The fully online program allowed him to earn his degree while maintaining a career as a mass communication specialist for the U.S. Navy and project manager for kglobal, a public relations and public affairs agency based in Washington, D.C.

“I was researching online graduate marketing programs and once I saw that WVU partnered with DINFOS, it was a no-brainer for me to apply since I attended DINFOS and currently serve in the Navy public affairs realm,” said Carver. “The degree has given me a strong understanding of how to blend traditional and modern marketing tactics with public affairs. It also taught me the importance of an integrated communication approach when connecting with your target demographics.”

The close proximity of DINFOS to WVU’s campus in Morgantown also presents an opportunity for students to attend the annual Integrate Conference, which typically takes place in May at the WVU Reed College of Media’s Innovation Center. While the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of this year’s event, the conference typically attracts marketing communications professionals from around the country. Through the conference, future DINFOS students will have a unique opportunity to meet classmates and instructors as well as industry leaders at the very start of their IMC education.

“It is vitally important to provide opportunities for our military service personnel to advance their knowledge and experience in ways that directly impact both their careers and their ability to serve their country,” said Mary O’Shea, DINFOS provost. “WVU’s IMC program has a reputation for being among the best in the country. I’m thrilled that we are able to provide this pathway for DINFOS students.”

Students interested in the DINFOS IMC track should visit marketingcommunications.wvu.edu/dinfos for details or contact Ryan Minnigh, enrollment specialist, at rminnigh@mail.wvu.edu. A bachelor’s degree is required, and students must complete the WVU application for graduate admission. WVU is still accepting students for the inaugural cohort, which begins May 17, 2021.