This article appeared in the Aug. 14, 2018, issue of the student newsletter.
You think you've got an eye for fashion, so you enroll at El Centro. That's where things can get a little complicated.
“People have always had trouble understanding the difference between the Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing programs. It's confusing. In many ways, they're the same thing,” said Wade Hyde, professor of marketing and chair of Marketing Careers.
For almost four decades, El Centro's fashion department has been divided into two academic pathways: Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing. However, Wade is hard at work to clear up the confusion.
“People are very interested in fashion,” Wade said. “But students need to understand that what they see on 'Project Runway' and what they see in a magazine is more about marketing, not so much about actually making a pair of shoes or a shirt or a sweater.”
More changes will come with plans for a new marketing program, which will feature an innovative Marketing degree with three specializations: Sports and Recreation, Digital Marketing and Retail.
“What we're doing is teaching students crucial marketing skills: sales, customer service, retail and just overall strategic thinking,” Wade said. “Being able to think critically about what you're doing from a marketing perspective will change people's lives.”
The changes are, in part, driven by industry changes and trends, Wade said.
“When we created this new degree, we were required to look at where the jobs are," he said. “Well, the vast majority of jobs are in sales and marketing, in almost any industry.”
While the planned program is currently tied to the Fashion department, Wade and his team anticipate most of the students won't be fashion students.
“And you think, now, wait a minute, where is fashion marketing? But again, it's the only marketing connection we have. You're thinking, how are you getting sports and digital? It's because what we're offering is training in marketing, and fashion just happens to be what we started with here.
“Now if you have an interest, we'll let you specialize in that. So the way we're doing this Associate of Applied Science degree is we're organizing it into flexible modules. So you'll have 21 hours of, say, information technology. Combine that with 18 hours of marketing, six hours of internships or external learning, and 15 hours of general classes. Put all those together, and that's your associate degree — as opposed to what we're doing now, which is 60 hours of a rather inflexible degree plan.”
The new degree is planned to begin next fall, but new classes are available right now in the browsable class schedule and ready for you to enroll in this fall.
Eric Hanes will teach the new Strategies in Social Media class this fall.
“One of the things I want to do is help give students a foundation they can build on and then do their own thing," Eric said. “Because there's no right answer to marketing, and there's no right answer to running a business.”
El Centro has also partnered with the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) to offer the Retail Management Certificate, which is offered at community colleges across the country.
The certificate program allows schools to partner with local grocery chains to get their existing employees who want to stay in that industry a certificate, which would put them on the path to eventually earning their associate degree.
“And then if you want to keep working, you can," Wade said. “But what we've found is that once you get going, you keep going.”
WAFC Director of the Retail Management certificate Cherie Phipps says most students finish the program in two years, but it can be completed in one year.
“This is a highly relevant community college certificate, but the special thing about it that makes it unique is that it's a dual certificate," she says. "It combines the expertise of academia and the credential from the college with industry-driven expertise.”
Each of the retailing classes for the certificate is eight weeks long and will be offered face-to-face, online and as hybrid classes. The program also allows classes to be taken on-site at the employer's store. WAFC's partners in North Texas include Kroger and Albertsons.
Finally, a new sports marketing class is being added for the Sports and Recreation specialization. Kevin Miles, who has worked as an adjunct for DCCCD and is a principal at DISD, helped cultivate the idea.
“Kevin said, 'Did you know there's a sports marketing class in high school?' And I said, 'No. We can't match it for dual credit,'” Wade said. “So we had to create it. So we created a sports marketing class specifically to meet that need.”
El Centro will bring in at-risk African-American high school students with an interest in sports.
“When it comes to preparing students for the working world, the reality is we're not just interested in sports; we're interested in marketing sports. What we're more interested in is the business side of it. The vast majority of jobs in sports are all in sales and marketing,” Wade said. “And we're also two blocks from the Mavericks. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys are just around the corner. Of course, many of our students won't necessarily be offered a job at the Dallas Cowboys or the Dallas Mavericks once they graduate, but after finishing their degree, they'll have all the marketing and sales skills necessary to work in virtually any industry.”
If you or a friend have an interest in sports, retail or the digital arena, be sure to check out these new Marketing class and degree options coming to El Centro College. Contact Wade for more information on the program.