Texas Tech University

College of Media & Communication Offers New Online STEM Leadership Communication Graduate Certificate

George Watson

September 10, 2018

The fully online certificate teaches the communication skills necessary for leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

As the popularity and importance of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines continue to grow, so does the need for STEM professionals who can communicate clearly and concisely.

Amy Koerber
Amy Koerber

The ability to communicate effectively in these areas, while seen as necessary by employers, seems to be significantly lacking among recent college-graduate hires, according to recent surveys. However, it is an ability that is seen as crucial to developing leadership skills as careers progress.

The College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University has developed a fully Online Graduate Certificate in STEM Leadership Communication that provides STEM professionals the communication skills necessary to become leaders in the corporate, academic and public arenas.

“With this certificate, we offer professionals in science, technology and health care the opportunity to gain the communication skills they need to advance their careers as leaders in the academic, industrial or public sector,” said Amy Koerber, a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Associate Dean for Faculty Success & Inclusion in the College of Media & Communication.

The need for effective communication in STEM fields was evident from several recent surveys. A 2018 survey by Hart Research Associates found that recent college graduates were ready to succeed in entry-level positions for the most part, but would struggle to earn promotions, with effective oral communication skills as one of the most necessary, but lacking, skills needed for career advancement.

The 2015 “Job Outlook 2018” survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) determined the top four attributes employers sought were problem-solving skills, ability to work in a team, written communication skills and leadership.

The new Online Graduate Certificate in STEM Leadership Communication at Texas Tech aims to prepare those interested in developing exactly the skill set that emerges as most important in these recent surveys, which could help them advance quickly in their careers.

“With one employer survey after another demonstrating the dire need for professionals across disciplines to improve their skills in leadership and communication, we believe a certificate like this is long overdue,” Koerber said. “We are proud that the College of Media & Communication will be a leader in delivering these skills in an online format that is specially designed to meet working professionals' needs.”

Koerber said her research has found no other university that offers this exact certificate. There are other universities that offer certificates in science communication and health communication or in leadership communication, but none that focus specifically on leadership communication for STEM professionals.

Texas Tech's 12-hour online certificate (four courses) allows working professionals to complete the course on their own time and at a pace that meets their schedule, whether it is academic or work related. The tasks assigned will also allow students to immediately begin building real-world skills and knowledge that is beneficial to their everyday job.

Three courses are required for the online certificate:

  • COMS 5314: Professional Communication in Health, Science and Technology
  • MCOM 5324: Audience and Data Analysis and Reporting
  • MCOM 5350: STEM Leadership Communication Capstone

The final class in the certificate can come from one of several possible electives covering topics ranging from intercultural communication to research methods, risk communication and management, interpersonal communication and more.

Traditional graduate school admission requirements apply to be eligible for the certificate. Those wishing to apply also must submit a statement of purpose, a CV or resume, three letters of recommendation and a writing sample, either academic or professional.

The link to apply for the online certificate can be found here.

For more information on the Online Graduate Certificate in STEM Leadership Communication, go to its website.