BROOKINGS, S.D. – The South Dakota Board of Regents Thursday approved a new undergraduate degree in corporate communication at Black Hills State University. It also authorized the university to deliver its existing mass communication degree to students in Rapid City.
“In today’s business world, it is more important than ever to prepare effective communicators,” said BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp. “Students who pursue this degree will develop and refine their oral, written, and visual communication skills, while studying the practice of organizational and business communication within corporate structures.” The new corporate communication major is the only degree of its kind in South Dakota’s public university system to combine the study of communication and business.
Likely careers for students who earn the B.S. degree in corporate communication include broadcast management, public relations, marketing, corporate advertising or communication, electronic media, writing production and management, event management, and technical communication.
Schallenkamp said the need for a degree of this kind was demonstrated by student and business surveys and the growth of new career opportunities in the communications field. Sixteen of 17 local businesses surveyed by BHSU said they would want to hire someone with a corporate communication degree, she said.
No new state resources were requested for this program, as most courses used to complete the degree are now in place for other programs. Earlier this year, the regents also terminated a number of low-enrolled academic programs and specializations to free up resources for this and other high-priority initiatives.
The university also will expand access to its B.S. degree in mass communication by offering it at University Center-Rapid City starting this fall. This move accommodates students who are unable, due to work or family commitments, to commute to Spearfish to complete the major. Mass communication is one of the fastest growing majors at BHSU. A survey conducted last year found mass communication to be the third most requested major in Rapid City, with 246 individuals saying they would be interested in pursuing the degree if it was offered there.