Medill graduate students Grant Jones and Christina Kellman marked a milestone in IMC this spring as the first two students to graduate from the online program. As the first two, they will be sponsored by Medill to travel to Evanston for Convocation on Saturday, June 21.
After working with faculty, staff and other students virtually to complete her degree, Kellman says she’s anxious and excited to meet people face-to-face.
“Grant and I worked with another student Scott on a Netflix project for [IMC Professor] Judy Franks’ class, and had a blast doing it,” Kellman said. “We have some special time set aside at graduation so we can spend it together. I can’t wait to meet in-person.”
The Online IMC program was founded at Medill in 2011 for working professionals who want to learn how IMC principles can help them mine for customer insights to create relevant, engaging and business building communications strategies. Even though it was a well-researched and informed decision, it was still a leap of faith, said Online Program Director and Associate Professor Tom Collinger. While watching students graduate is always gratifying, Collinger said seeing Medill’s distance learning strategy so fully adopted by faculty and students makes this moment that much more satisfying.
“To our surprise and delight, when we surveyed online students, 90 percent said they planned to come to Evanston to graduate,” Collinger said. “We are excited to recognize and celebrate our very first two – Grant and Christina, and actually hand them their diplomas here in Evanston. Also joining them will be fellow IMC Online classmates, Scott Knudsen, Kristen Lease, Sangram Pradhan and Anna Tung, who completed the program this quarter. “
To Medill’s knowledge, no other elite university offered an online Master’s in IMC program where its full faculty held the teaching responsibilities, Collinger said. According to Kellman, this made for a unique virtual learning experience.
“I would tell students considering the IMC online program to not consider it to be an online program - you might as well be there in the class,” Kellman said. “There’s a huge benefit to feeling like you’re in the classroom. I studied with my colleagues in Detroit, San Francisco, Texas, etc., looking at them and working with them. I didn’t realize I’d have such fluid access to my colleagues in online classes.”
Jones agreed, and said he understood the benefits of an IMC degree and appreciated the flexibility the online experience provided.
“I wanted to be on the cutting edge of what was changing in the digital space and have a degree that supported business and creative understanding,” Jones said, “But I am a working professional. The degree that opened those doors for me was in IMC.”
For more on the IMC Online Program, visit our website.