Broadening Students’ Digital Horizons

Public Affairs Lecturer Joyce Sullivan (MBA ’84)

JoyceSullivanAnyone born before the 1980s likely envies the ease with which today’s undergraduates—most squarely in Generation Y—have embraced digital technologies. Yet the professional applications of social media aren’t second nature—yet. To that end, teaching Baruch undergraduates how to function professionally in the digital world and create value from online visibility is School of Public Affairs Lecturer and Baruch alumna Joyce Sullivan (MBA ’84).

Sullivan, whose MBA is in international marketing and finance, is part of a long and celebrated Baruch tradition of welcoming real-world experts to the classroom. Her impressive and varied credentials include more than two decades of VP-level responsibilities at Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and Credit Suisse and work with government agencies and nonprofits to develop and run their social media platforms. Sullivan also founded SocMediaFin, a social media strategy company for leaders in regulated industries.

Says Sullivan, “My students are destined for leadership positions in nonprofits and government at all levels. I want them to be powerful advocates for their organizations, and social media savvy will ensure that.”

And that power starts with advocating for themselves, explains Sullivan, who believes that social media is an ideal career development tool: “Students can quickly be seen as an expert in an area, can build a network and following, and can bring themselves to the attention of organizations for which they may want to work in the future.”

Sullivan’s first class—a five-week, summer session section of PAF 3201 Public Communication and Organizations—was itself an example of the innovative technologies on which the course focuses. She and 10 students interacted through Google Hangouts, video lectures, TweetChats, and CUNY Blackboard. What were some of the challenges to a course taught entirely online? “Instruction across time zones,” responds Sullivan, whose class included a student on exchange in Italy.

This fall more Millennials will experience the professional power of social media as Sullivan teaches two sections of the upper-level course, again 100% online.

—Diane Harrigan

Follow Joyce Sullivan on Twitter at @ProfJoyceSull and @JoyceMSullivan.

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