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Envisioning our Future Together

The innovative spirit of our business community is remarkable. This fall we saw the launch of a new regional tourism campaign that recognizes the destination we’ve become, Explore Murrieta. The campaign engages social media users to tell their travel stories of exploring the region’s wineries, hiking trails, extreme sports and historic Western towns – in essence, the story of us. The business incubator at Innovate Murrieta is developing strategic partnerships in healthcare technology startups and is currently working with three startups in the launch stage.

And, the region’s business, industry and educational leaders have been brainstorming job growth in the greater Murrieta/Temecula Valley and studying regional economic patterns and industries to plan educational pathways for the next generation, ensuring a well-educated labor supply essential to attracting employers paying lucrative wages.

Azusa Pacific University has also been engaged in creating new educational programs that support our region’s emphasis on technology and healthcare with the launch of a new Digital Media and Communication program in 2019.

“The region’s focus on healthcare tech is a great fit for our graduates,” said Pamela Fisher, Digital Media and Communication program director. “They’re tuned into emerging technologies and the role digital media plays in market awareness via social media and digital storytelling across media platforms – streaming, social media, websites and print.”

Fisher moved to Temecula last summer to launch the new bachelor’s completion program after 15 years in digital media for The San Francisco Examiner, Gannett, The Oakland Tribune/ANG newsmedia group. She has served as a newsroom editor-in-chief, digital magazine editor and, until 2016, storytelling coach for The USA Today network. She joined the faculty of Azusa Pacific University in 2017 at main campus as a journalism professor. “In our program students will create editorial content for clients, publishers, nonprofit organizations or agencies and polish digital storytelling skillsets across media platforms: streaming, social media, websites and print for client branding or online news,” said Fisher.

Communication studies coursework in the two-year bachelor’s degree completion program will develop interpersonal and conflict resolution skillsets: personal presentation skills for client presentations and meetings, negotiation skills with clients, stakeholders, editors. The university’s faith-integration teaching model emphasizes faith-based media ethics and communication best practices.

Students will be trained to work as a social media manager, a nonprofit organization communication manager, an audience engagement specialist or a digital newsroom writer, editor or web content creator. The field is growing 7 to 14 percent annually. A Los Angeles Economic Development report found over 200,000 professionals working in digital media at nearly double Southern California’s average salary of $59,890, earning an average of $116, 820.

“We’ll work closely with local organizations and businesses to develop internships, and graduate placement in marketing communication departments, PR and ad agencies, healthcare, and nonprofits,” said Fisher. The two-year degree of 36 units is estimated at a cost of $18,450. Classes begin in July.

Written by Dr. Drake Levasheff

Drake Levasheff, PhD, Senior Director, Murrieta Regional Campus Azusa Pacific University.

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