The School of Information Resources and Library Science is preparing students for life and work in the digital age.
eSociety is a program that was launched by SIRLS last fall. This program gives students the option to pursue either a Bachelor of Arts degree or an undergraduate minor in the field.
“eSociety is a term that simply refers to the idea that everything we do in society is often based in digital communication,” said Catherine Brooks, director of undergraduate studies for SIRLS. “It’s a relevant degree program for today’s digital age … and students are enthusiastic about it.”
Over the past semester, there has been an increased interest in the eSociety program, according to Ricky Salazar, administration and recruitment manager for SIRLS. The program started with about six students pursuing it as a major and five students pursuing it as a minors, and has since grown to about 22 majors and 20 minors, according to Salazar.
“Over one semester, it’s quadrupled, essentially,” Salazar said. “We are getting students from all disciplines. … The curriculum is so diverse.”
Students in the program are studying a wide breadth of subjects, such as computer sciences and data analysis. Other areas include information management, online collaborative work and social media use, along with management across the health, education, business and civic sectors.
“We felt that it would be important to offer an undergraduate degree in the social dimensions of the Digital Age,” said J.P. Jones III, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “Every dimension of our lives [is] being constantly transformed through the growth of digital information.”
In addition to business, the eSociety program is also designed to teach and prepare students for work in social media production, marketing, big data analysis and consulting with governmental and nonprofit organizations, according to Salazar.
Salazar, Brooks and others in SIRLS organized an employer roundtable with about eight organizations from Tucson, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Salazar said.
“They were inspired by the curricula and skill set that our students will be well-trained in,” Salazar said. “We have taken the steps to set up internships and capstones with many of these organizations.”
This hybrid technical and social science degree has captured the attention of future employers, and
has sparked their interest in UA students involved in this degree, according to Jones.
“There was an Apple representative and she told me, ‘Steve Jobs would love this degree,’” Jones said. “That was probably the biggest compliment that I got about any degree we have offered.”