Article by Andy Brown

As the world changes, so do the skills graduates need to succeed in the business world. To ensure students are prepared, the Adams State School of Business conducts surveys and other types of employer outreach. “The goal is to set students up for successful careers. We want them to get jobs in the fields they choose, so we’re proactive about identifying local, state and national hiring needs,” says Liz Thomas Hensley, chair of the department and professor of marketing. “We do a lot of research and adjust our emphases and degrees to match skills needed in the workforce.”

This approach recently led the school to launch new degree programs, many of which blend traditional business curriculum with courses offered from other programs. ‘Instead of recreating classes where we already have strong faculty and programs, we’ve combined them in ways that open more opportunities for students as they explore cutting-edge careers.”

The new degrees include:

Digital Marketing. “We created this in response to how important social media and web design have become,” says Thomas Hensley. “It’s a collaborative and interdisciplinary degree among the communications, arts and business programs.”

Public Relations. This program is also a collaboration between the communications program and the School of Business. “When you combine classes from both programs, which are very strong, they make a strong degree.

Systemic Change and Communities. “This program focuses on the economic side of sustainability and what’s happening with the environment,” says Thomas Hensley. “It takes a macro view of the changes happening to cities, regions, and even infrastructure, so as to help graduates lead their communities as they adapt and adjust.” Students pursuing the degree may take courses in agricultural business management and policy, economic policy, health care economics, and so on.

The School of Business has also been promoting its dual degree, which allows students to earn an undergraduate degree and an MBA in five years. “It normally takes six to seven years to earn two degrees, but this allows eligible students to get them both in a shorter time,” says Thomas Hensley. “By allowing them to count some of their graduate courses toward their undergraduate degree, they can realize cost savings and set themselves up for potential job opportunities. Many organizations in the business world want employees to have an MBA. The dual degree can help them move up in their career much quicker.”