YSU adds minors to reflect student needs

Student and marketplace demand led Youngstown State University professors to develop new minors.

Minors in fashion, social media campaigns, and natural gas and water resources are among the new programs offered to students this fall. The undergraduate curriculum committee of the Academic Senate approved new minors for this year in the spring.

Priscilla Gitimu, assistant professor of human ecology, teamed up with fellow assistant professor Tachibat Turel to create the new fashion minor.

“What we really try to do is expose them to the world of fashion,” Gitimu said. “It’s a big industry.”

The minor offers courses that teach about the world of fashion from the psychology of the way people dress to computer application. Jasmine Brown, a merchandising major, decided to begin the fashion minor this fall.

After taking a clothing and image development class this summer, Brown talked to teachers and found out about the new fashion minor. “It’s going to make me really well-rounded,” Brown said. “I’ve always been interested in fashion and clothing.”

She added that her goal is to become a buyer and believes the fashion minor can help her attain that goal by teaching her about the world of fashion.

Gitimu recognizes the value of social media in the professional world and has incorporated Twitter into one of her courses. The course includes an assignment that requires students to use Twitter to follow fashion trends and designers.

Adam Earnheardt, chairman of the communication department, pioneered a minor that focuses on social media in the professional world. The social media campaigns minor teaches students how to use Facebook, Twitter and the like to reach large groups of people with messages they need to convey.

Students are challenged to use the platforms to promote events and themselves, as well as give them an edge when applying for jobs. Earnheardt said businesses are looking for people who can incorporate popular social media into their jobs effectively.

“It’s kind of like old school, new school,” Earnheardt said. Students are taught traditional marketing strategies and must use them on the relatively new platforms.

One other minor that caused a buzz at its creation last spring is the natural gas and water resources minor.

Jeffrey Dick, chairman of the geological and environmental sciences department, said the minor is available but still needs some reworking. A lot of students can’t enroll in the minor this fall because the prerequisites are too extensive. Students must have completed the course equivalent of precalculus and two semesters of chemistry.

“It’s no surprise when you take a minor and build it pretty quickly, which we did,” Dick said.

He added that the minor would be revised for spring 2013 and will no longer require two semesters of chemistry.

Dick said students who have already graduated from YSU have expressed interest in participating in the minor. Graduated students can’t re-enroll at YSU to get a minor, so Dick is working on a graduate certificate in natural gas and water resources.

He is hopeful that the certificate program will be up and running by fall 2013.