The power and reach of digital and traditional media is now nearly limitless, a truly “always on” engagement with communities, stakeholders, supporters, and the world at large. While the tools needed to launch fully integrated media and communications strategies are more accessible than at any time in history, the experience, insight, and wisdom to use these tools effectively for social change are still challenging to master.
Adler University’s fully online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Media and Communications gives experienced communications and engagement professionals the latest data-driven strategies and knowledge to help deepen their practices. Our program also offers recent college graduates and career changers the comprehensive background needed to develop as leaders in their chosen fields.
Our Media and Communications program was designed by the City of Chicago’s former director of social media and head of technology for the Obama for America campaign. It is led by an academically focused director with broad experience in corporate and community-facing engagement, as well as an advisory board of digital media pioneers including a former news director for Twitter.
Our innovative Media and Communications curriculum surveys the range of knowledge around audience behavior and motivation, and focuses on effective story-driven communication strategies for an evolved approach to engaged, ethically guided activism and social movement. The knowledge you’ll gain is appropriate for a range of sectors and applications, including corporate responsibility initiatives, political campaigns, community organization and outreach, and more. Degree candidates also complete a capstone project that integrates coursework and best-practice case studies to create a viable communications strategy for implementing positive change for a specific campaign, organization, or movement.
This leadership-focused master’s program can help graduates advance their professional standing in the field; our schedule-flexible online approach means students can balance existing professional and personal responsibilities while they complete this degree program. All of our online programs are delivered with the academic rigor and personal attention that has distinguished Adler University for more than 60 years.
Earn your master’s degree in Media and Communications fully online from an institution that shares your values of social justice and community-based solutions.
Graduates of Adler University’s online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Media and Communications program will be prepared to use the full range of communications tools and strategies to advance social change by being able to:
- Integrate psychological and behavioral principles in selecting and using new media and digital communication resources to successfully advance an agenda or idea.
- Understand how the successes of social justice movements can inform modern campaigns that leverage the latest in audience engagement strategies.
- Anticipate user behavior to develop interactive design frameworks that engage and influence communities to move toward unified action.
- Discover how tested and proven baseline communications principles can be adapted to activate online audiences to influence offline actions, through the use of cutting-edge social listening tools.
- Explain historical precedents, current practical applications, and future foreseeable adaptions in order to shape social change movements through the use of new media and communication platforms.
- Organize technical, data-driven, defensible, and innovative digital applications to develop effective, persuasive, and actionable communications strategies.
- Analyze the practical applications of big data and deep analytics to challenge preconceived user behavior assumptions and inform evidence-based strategies positioning, as well as enhance or redeploy information-sharing and persuasion techniques.
- Identify organizational barriers and create strategies and initiatives that implement the structural change necessary to manage and influence a real-time online engagement program that activates meaningful social change.
- Formulate creative multimedia recommendations using both new media and accepted qualitative and quantitative research techniques.
Adler University’s fully online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Media and Communications is a 36 credit-hour program. Courses are eight weeks in length, and this program can be completed online in two years with scheduled breaks.
The M.A. in Media and Communications online program is offered in the following sequence of classes, including a final capstone course:
Graduates of Adler University’s M.A. in Media and Communications online program will have the skills, knowledge, and experience for the following career roles and more:
- Advertising Manager
- Campaign Communications Director
- Communications and Public Relations Manager
- Community/Grassroots Organizer
- Community Engagement Manager
- Community Relations Director
- Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
- Digital Strategist
- Fundraising Professional
- Legislative and Public Policy Advocate
- Marketing Manager
- Nonprofit Leader
- Public Affairs Director
- Recruitment Specialist
- Social Media Director
- Special Projects and Events Director
Davina Jones, Ph.D.
- Ph.D., Communications Studies, Bowling Green State University
- M.A., Communications Studies, Bowling Green State University
- B.A., Speech Communication, Bethune-Cookman University
- Professor, Pasco-Hernando State College
- Executive Pastor, MTI Empowerment Center
- Host, Greater Day Cafe inspirational videos
- Founder and Director, Nia Inspirations, Inc.
- Professor, Florida State College at Jacksonville
- Guest Professor, Atlantic Cultural Institute, Istanbul, Turkey
- Instructor and Academic Dean, Webster College of Ocala, Florida
- Assistant Professor, Bethune-Cookman College
- Program Coordinator, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Areas of expertise, academic & research interests
- Rhetoric: persuasion, social movements, and message construction
- African American history
How does your background inform this program, and what you teach?
The communication discipline is extremely diverse. My concentrations in the field mirror some of that diversity and include rhetorical studies, persuasion, social movements, and interpersonal development. As a rhetorician, I have spent much of my academic career surveying how we use language to achieve outcomes, particularly those related to a range of social issues and movements that continue to shape our discourse:
- Why are some movements more successful than others?
- What are the language nuances that make audiences gravitate to one cause and not another?
- How do we measure the impact of our language choices?
- How is social justice achieved in one situation and not another?
What specific career relevance or career enhancement does the Media and Communications program offer prospective students?Organizations around the world are struggling with the need to keep up with media as a powerful channel of representations, misrepresentations, and desired outcomes. Our Media and Communications program is uniquely designed to equip our graduate students to be the new generation of communication experts who grasp the fluidity of new media, its impact on social issues, and our ability to use media to affect systemic change in organizations, social institutions, and communities around the world.
How does Adler’s program differ from programs offered by other schools?Many of our competitors understand the demand for a new generation of communication experts, but few—if any—understand the demand for communication experts to be socially responsible practitioners who master the art and science of communication in the interest of social consciousness and social justice. Graduates from Adler’s Media and Communications program are challenged to use the arts and sciences of communication with the specific intent to help elevate social consciousness in multiple sectors that include for-profit, nonprofit, and community-based organizations.
How do the concepts of social justice and social responsibility apply to media and communications? How is the Adlerian ideal expressed?Media has always been at the heart of social justice. One picture, one speech, one video, one strategic action can ignite a call for social justice that might have otherwise been unattended. Our students not only study media and its relationship with social change--they will become the new media professionals who seek to influence social change. While other institutions may be in business to graduate degree-holders, Adler University’s Media and Communications program is in business to graduate change agents—socially responsible communication practitioners.
How does the Media and Communications program incorporate community?One feature of community that Media and Communications offers is the time-tested implementation of an advisory board of industry experts who will not only assist with the scholarly and practical relevance of the program’s design, but also with apprentice-style platforms for our graduate students and instructors and professional networking links for alumni.
How does the faculty engage with students of the program?Faculty engagement is key to our students’ academic and professional success. Using the discussion formats, video posts, video chats, video lectures and 24-hour comment turnaround time, our faculty are ready to facilitate an engaging experience in this online platform. Expert communication faculty guide graduate students through the honing of their applications that can then become new patents for social change. Research in primary and secondary schools often demonstrates that the teacher-student relationship is a key factor in student achievement. The experiences of graduate students and their transitions into professional careers is no different.
How is this a career-enhancing program?The great strength of the communications degree is its interdisciplinary transferability. Every major industry depends on digital, media, or message/speech-related communication competence. From traditional specializations in mass communications and rhetorical discourse, to new administrative roles in civic engagement, community advocacy, and social media, the Media and Communications program equips our new graduates to meet new demands in media and communications and the need to uniquely negotiate the relationship between media and social change.
What excites you about what you teach?What excites me about the field of communication studies is how transferable and universal it is in exploring the impact of our actions and interactions with each other. The right message at the right time using the right channel can change a community, change an organization, change a family, and very possibly, change a nation.
Is there a specific course you’d like to highlight?The Evolution of Social Movements is a personal favorite because of my background in rhetorical studies. It is an investigation of communication strategies that lead to social change and social justice. Data Analytics, however, is a unique course because it points to evolutions in the science of communication that are important to the form and art of communication.
Is there one thing that stands out in terms of the online student experience?
I have been pleasantly surprised by how advanced online education has become. Experiential activities that were once possible only in face-to-face classrooms are present in online communities more than ever before, sometimes even more than in face-to-face classrooms.
I’ve also come to value the time that an online student has to digest a thought. If online students choose to step away and immerse themselves in more in-depth reflection, they can do so. Or if they’re ready to move on to the next lesson, they can do that, too.
While I cherish the benefits of face-to-face interactions, the in-class student must always move to the next topic when I (the teacher) move. Online students can move as they learn, not as I dictate.
Why should someone already working in this field consider Adler’s M.A. in Media and Communications?The field of communication studies has changed and continues to change at exponential rates. While many traditions, theories, and concepts learned in former degree programs may still be relevant, the applications are new! To not explore the relevance and use of these new media applications would be the equivalent of attempting to run a presidential campaign only using newspaper advertisements, an innovative application in the 1800s, but mostly ineffective in the 21st century as the sole media component. The current survival of an organization or movement depends heavily on its ability to operate in this new media paradigm.
Kelly Macías, Ph.D.
- Ph.D., Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University
- M.A., Sociology with an emphasis in International Training and Education, American University
- B.A., Spanish, Syracuse University
- Guest Lecturer, Salisbury University
- Teaching and Graduate Research Assistant, Nova Southeastern University
- Adjunct Faculty, Howard Community College
- Lecturer, Diversity Dialogues, University of Baltimore
- Advisor, University of Baltimore
- Organizational Development Consultant and Trainer (Ecuador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Uganda, United Arab Emirates), United States Agency for International Development
- Organizational Development and Leadership Development Consultant (Ghana, Nicaragua, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam), World Bank Group
- Leadership Development Consultant (Colombia), Phelps Stokes Fund
- Steering Committee Member, Global Conference on Testimony