About Sarah Jane Tamme, M.S.: Sarah Jane Tamme is a Student Affairs Officer in the School of Information Science at the University of Kentucky. She also works as an admissions coordinator for the school’s graduate program in Information Communication Technology. With a bachelor’s in Secondary English Education and a master’s in Higher Education – Student Services, Ms. Tamme now processes all graduate applications for UK’s ICT program. Besides working with applicants, she recruits and qualifies eligible students for the ICT master’s degree and plans various events to promote the program. Her interests include education abroad and student services, and she’s a strong supporter of student-centered environments. Her position as a Student Affairs Officer and Admissions Coordinator enables her to fulfill these interests by aiding students’ transitions into the graduate program and serving as a resource throughout their experience.

Interview Questions

[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of the University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Information Communication Technology program, and how it is structured? What are the key learning outcomes students can expect from this program?

[Sarah Tamme] The ICT program at the University of Kentucky is a program that is dedicated to advancing and evolving information technology. Incorporating the communication aspect gives students an advantage that is becoming more and more sought after – being able to bridge the gap between the business and technology side of interactions. The program consists of 36 credit hours, including a required practicum course where the student completes 140 hours of practicum experience. The practicum enables students to assume entry level professional duties and responsibilities in an information technology setting. It’s a great way for students to gain field experience by observing how professionals in the field perform their job responsibilities.

There are four other core courses which enable students to become familiar with data science and research methods in ICT, as well as develop leadership skills in information professions. These core courses allow students to obtain the graduate skills that will serve them well in management roles and prepare them to tackle the technology trends of today. Specialty tracks in our program allow students to take a variety of electives and special topics classes in order to give them more in-depth information on some of the many career pathways ICT can offer as well.

[MastersinCommunications.com] The University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Information Communication Technology program offers specializations in health communication, technology and analytics, and policy and regulation. Could you elaborate on each of these specializations, and what kinds of careers they prepare students for?

[Sarah Tamme] While all tracks prepare students for leadership and managerial positions, individual tracks can help guide students who are more interested in one of these areas. Our health track prepares students by acquainting them with reference tools utilized in health science information retrieval, as well as trends and issues in consumer health informatics. Jobs that can come from students’ pursuing health IT include leadership positions in academic health sciences centers, hospitals, and non-profit organizations.

Our policy and regulation track leads students to be able to analyze and discuss national and global digital law enforcement efforts, in addition to identifying and evaluating the specific technology that facilitates cybercrime and digital law enforcement. Students also learn to understand technological use, political processes, social tensions and cultural values from the perspective of people experiencing socio-digital inequalities. Those who are interested in policy and regulation may find jobs such as an IT Compliance Consultant, Cyber Security Policy Analyst, or something in the field of government analytics.

The third track, technology and analytics, integrates the theoretical and applied aspects of technology security. Students understand the basic terminologies and definitions used in information security, and they get strong hands-on skills and experience through various projects in courses. The technology and analytics track helps prepare students for jobs designing information systems solutions that can help organizations operate more efficiently and effectively. Specific job areas include Information Systems Security, Database Design and Administration, and Mobile App Development.

[MastersinCommunications.com] The University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Information Communication Technology is a campus-based program with select courses that have an online option. Could you elaborate on the learning technologies that this program uses to facilitate peer-to-instructor and peer-to-peer interactions in online courses?

[Sarah Tamme] Beginning fall 2019, the ICT master’s degree will be available as a fully online degree. The University of Kentucky utilizes Canvas as the core Learning Management System campus and course-wide, for both face-to-face and online classes. Additional learning technologies used are course-dependent. The online courses are completely asynchronous, so students can access the material on their own time.

Professors offer both regularly scheduled online office hours as well as meeting with students by appointment. Students are encouraged to contact advisors through email, phone, Zoom, and Canvas, so they have multiple means of contact. Peer-to-peer interactions in online courses may be through the means of discussion boards, Zoom breakout rooms, peer review assignments, Google Drive collaborations, or Canvas groups, where students can collaborate on assignments.

[MastersinCommunications.com] For their final graduation requirement, students of the University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Information Communication Technology must complete a research proposal that includes a written paper and a visual presentation that identifies and addresses a challenge facing the information communication technology space. Could you please elaborate on this final project and what it entails?

[Sarah Tamme] The final research proposal is a way for students to identify an ICT-related problem space, research current options, propose a unique solution, and provide reasoning and evidence that supports this newfound solution. The project may be new research, but some students choose to extend research from their practicum and focus on new questions and issues regarding the previous topic. Students work with their faculty advisor regarding the proposal and poster that they present at the end of the semester. Students draft the proposal during midterms of the semester they plan to present and submit it to their advisor to have it confirmed.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What role does faculty mentorship play in the University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Information Communication Technology? Independent of faculty instruction and support, what career development resources and academic services are available to students, and how can they make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems?

[Sarah Tamme] Students are given a faculty advisor with whom they will work throughout the program. The advisor is there to support the student and guide them, whether they are helping the student figure out what track they want to pursue or aiding the research proposal process. In addition to this mentorship, our school regularly plans professional development and informal learning events. We welcome guest lecturers every semester, giving students an opportunity to learn and network with tech professionals while streaming the speakers live for those unable to attend in person. Experiential learning events have been offered in the past as well, including app development workshops. We keep our students informed about upcoming career and internship fairs, and our internship requirement is essential to prepare students for their future career.

[MastersinCommunications.com] For students interested in the University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Information Communication Technology, what advice do you have for submitting a competitive application?

[Sarah Tamme] It is important for students to focus on why they are a good fit for a master’s program and how they will be successful in ours specifically. We want to not only know what they can bring to the program, but also what they expect to get from us. What about the MS in ICT program will benefit them and help them accomplish their individual goals? A strong GPA is always an advantage, but we are ultimately looking for people who are interested in ICT and can articulate both why this program is beneficial to them, as well as the unique perspectives they can bring to us.

[MastersinCommunications.com] What makes the University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Information Communication Technology program unique, and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students?

[Sarah Tamme] When you search for ICT master’s programs, you don’t find many, especially here in the United States. Our program is unique because we recognize that IT is evolving. Technology is ever-growing and ever-changing, and there are so many pathways students can explore with an ICT degree. While technology is rapidly becoming prominent everywhere, not everyone understands it. Our students are learning to bridge the gap between business requirements and technical solutions, and our program focuses on also giving them leadership knowledge that will serve well in management roles. They can use communication skills to become that liaison between the technology being used and the people who are using it, which is becoming increasingly valuable.

Thank you, Sarah Jane Tamme, for your excellent insight into the University of Kentucky’s Master of Science in Information Communication Technology!