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Morgan Edwards values the Business Certificate in Promotions Management that she achieved at East Central University.

Along with earning her bachelor’s degree in business administration-marketing last spring, Edwards simultaneously earned the certificate which has helped in her current position as the marketing and communications specialist for the Oka’ Institute on ECU’s campus.

“Morgan is a great example of a student who understood the advantages of adding this business certificate to her formal degree plan,” said Wendell Godwin, dean of the Harland C. Stonecipher School of Business. “I was able to work with Morgan while she was enrolled in our digital marketing course last spring. She was a leader in the classroom, completed a marketing internship this spring and then moved into her fulltime position after graduation. I am proud of her academic achievements and know she will do great things in the workplace. We constantly speak to our students about the importance of being well-rounded.”

The certificate was made possible through a collaboration between the Stonecipher School of Business and the Mass Communication Department.

“I chose certain electives in combination with my marketing classes,” said Edwards. “I was able to take digital publishing and public relations for example. The blending of the two (departments) has helped me in my current position.”

Since starting at the Oka’ Institute late last spring, Edwards has built the institute’s website, used digital publishing and Photoshop, written press releases and put together marketing materials and brochures.

“It has opened doors for me. I didn’t have the skills before,” she said. “The courses I was able to take broadened my perspective on marketing, and ultimately helped me figure out what I want to do in my career.”

Edwards describes working at the Oka’ Institute as exciting and fast-paced.

“I was excited to continue working on ECU’s campus. The Oka’ Institute is an innovative place, that is charging a new frontier in the water industry” said Edwards. “I am blessed to be able to work in such a great environment.”

The Oka’ Institute bridges the gap between sustainable water management and economic development. The word Oka’ means water in the Chickasaw and Choctaw languages.

Edwards highly recommends going through the certificate program because time shouldn’t be an issue and the courses will directly help you in your career.

“There’s no extra work, you just have to make sure you take the right electives,” Edwards said. “The industry is changing and it is not enough to just understand how to do market research. You must understand the interrelation between public relations and marketing, it’s a blending of different skill sets that you will learn when pursuing the business certificate in promotions management.”

By business students taking these courses in the Mass Communications Department, they can satisfy the required elective classes built into the degree plan, according to Godwin.

“Public relations, PR writing, digital publishing and advertising are courses that add valuable knowledge and skills as students seek internships and fulltime employment. Many of our graduates move into positions that require creative design skills that are taught in mass communication,” Godwin said. “Being able to work with graphic design software, website developmental tools and social media platforms are becoming requirements for entry-level marketing positions. These updates were driven by employer feedback discovered during our marketing degree plan redesign in 2015. At the end of the day, we must deliver graduates that meet the expectations of the hiring firm.”

Edwards is currently in the process of promotions for the 2017 Oka’ Institute Sustainability Conference set for Oct. 10-11 in the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center. Topics to be discussed include drought contingency, trends and major issues in water law and policy, water cluster development and two separate panel discussions: policy/projects that move Oklahoma forward and data/research that moves Oklahoma forward.


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