About Dr. Judy Foster Davis, PhD: Judy Foster Davis is a Professor of Marketing and Integrated Marketing Communications at Eastern Michigan University. She earned her Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Advertising and Media, respectively, from Michigan State University and her B.A. in Communications from Howard University. Her areas of teaching responsibilities and expertise include undergraduate courses in Advertising, Promotional Strategy and Consumer Behavior; and graduate courses in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Principles, Strategies and Tactics; Multi-Channel Media; Audience Behavior and Insights; IMC Ethics and Regulations; and IMC Privacy Policy Management with emphasis on applied projects.

Dr. Davis is interested in the development of marketing communications professionals and is the author of the book: Pioneering African-American Women in the Advertising Business. As the former Faculty Coordinator for the IMC program, she led a team of interdisciplinary faculty in the design, implementation, assessment and improvement of the IMC curriculum and courses. She currently chairs the faculty committees which provide input into IMC program development and assessment.

Interview Questions

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of Eastern Michigan University’s Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications, and how it is structured? What topics are covered in the core curriculum, and what are the key learning outcomes students can expect from this program?

[Dr. Judy Foster Davis] The Master’s of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) at Eastern Michigan University is the only online IMC graduate program offered through an AACSB-accredited business school, providing globally-recognized standards for high quality. Offered exclusively online, the IMC Program is a delivered by interdisciplinary faculty from Marketing and Communications disciplines providing students with knowledge, training and experience in integrating and coordinating all marketing communications vehicles to build brand image and maximize brand equity for commercial organizations and not-for-profit entities.

The six core courses provide solid foundation in IMC principles and tactics; branding strategies; consumer insights; data and behaviors; marketing research and analytics; and regulatory and ethical perspectives, while helping students hone their writing, research and problem-solving skills. Students also choose six elective courses which offer opportunity to delve into areas of specific interest such as creative and media strategies; CRM; public relations; and direct and digital marketing approaches including social media and SEO strategies, privacy policy management, and other topics. A highlight of the program is student participation in the annual Marketing Edge Collegiate ECHO Competition, which is run through IMC 608. EMU students have earned more than 16 top awards in this prestigious worldwide competition since 2008. Students can expect to graduate with hands-on knowledge and practice suitable for managerial roles in marketing communications in for-profit and non-profit organizations.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What online methods and learning technologies does Eastern Michigan University’s Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications use to ensure students actively engage with course concepts?

[Dr. Judy Foster Davis] U.S. News and World Report has ranked the IMC program at Eastern Michigan University as one of the best non-MBA online degree programs. Faculty use a variety of teaching approaches and materials to facilitate learning including lively interactive threaded discussions, video cases, business and trade publications, collaborative case projects using real-world organizations, and more. Instruction tends to be asynchronous to accommodate students who participate from across the globe, although there is opportunity for synchronous communication using course tools which allow for real-time group or one-to-one communication among class members. The faculty are highly responsive to student questions and typically reply within several hours to questions and/or hold online office hours. Students often collaborate in work teams to produce IMC proposals using collaborative tools of their choice.

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please elaborate on the capstone experience that students are required to complete? What are the components of this project, and what steps must students take to complete it?

[Dr. Judy Foster Davis] IMC 631 is the capstone course for the IMC program. Students coordinate knowledge and skills gained in all prior courses and integrate them into a campaign aimed at maximizing brand equity for a real-world organization, applying a step-by-step methodology to develop an effective IMC plan. The plan includes appropriate situation analysis, budgeting, message development and media approaches and justifications. The instructor selects a contemporary case to give the students a real-life experience and provides weekly feedback on their submissions. Students may work in small groups or individually to complete the capstone project. Project topics represent actual brands for medium to large-sized organizations. Students will understand the strengths and weaknesses of each communications approach and the unique role of each vehicle within IMC to produce a comprehensive IMC campaign proposal and presentation at the end of the course.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What role does faculty mentorship play in Eastern Michigan University’s Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications, and how can students make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems? Additionally, what career development resources and academic services are available to students of this program?

[Dr. Judy Foster Davis] A hallmark of an education at Eastern Michigan University is the high level of engagement between faculty and students, even in the online environment. IMC faculty are responsive to student needs and the university provides a variety of support services and opportunities to online students such as personalized Academic Advising, online Writing Center support, Career Services and an IMC Virtual Library. Many IMC faculty are also involved with EMU’s Center for Digital Engagement, an entity which offers practitioner workshops, a student Digital Marketing clinic program and an annual Digital Marketing conference on the EMU campus. Since there is a great deal of synergy between IMC and digital marketing topics, the relationship with the Center for Digital Engagement offers a unique benefit to EMU students and increased opportunity for networking and mentorship.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice do you have for prospective students in terms of submitting a competitive application for the Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications?

[Dr. Judy Foster Davis] A graduate of the IMC program suggests that prospective students should highlight their experience connecting with customers – such as any projects in which they created customer engagement by incorporating effective contact points that provide a setting for interactive communication; or created a seamless experience for customers to interact with a brand by melding elements of marketing and/or communication across various channels to act as one unified force. In addition, displaying their understanding of the importance of branding, customer relationships, public relations, and target marketing will make for a strong application.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What makes Eastern Michigan University’s Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications unique, and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students?

[Dr. Judy Foster Davis] There are several aspects which make the IMC program unique: 1) it is the only fully online IMC program which is AACSB-accredited through a college of business; 2) it has a proven track record of student winners through participation in the annual Marketing Edge Collegiate ECHO competition over more than 10 years; and 3) it has a strong relationship with EMU’s Center for Digital Engagement, offering unique opportunities for students, marketing managers and entrepreneurs. The IMC program is also priced to offer great value for students. A 2017 study that compared every institution which offered a 100% online Master’s degree in IMC revealed that EMU’s program was about 1/3 less expensive than its competitors. In addition, the hands-on and project-based nature of the assignments provide skills and knowledge that students can immediately apply to their current jobs or entrepreneurial endeavors. Students finish the program well-positioned to perform as marketing communication leaders and managers in their organizations, making the IMC Master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University a particularly attractive graduate degree option.

Thank you, Dr. Davis, for your excellent insight into Eastern Michigan University’s Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program!