Communication Connection

Friends of COM Newsletter

Department News

Communication Studies: Making IMC our “Business”

Friday, June 13, 2014

By: Angelica DiPaolo

Starting Fall 2014, the Communication Studies department’s very own Dr. Persuit and Dr. Bolduc will be taking applied learning to a whole new level. The two have created an integrated marketing communication (IMC) firm that will be offered as a regular course in the department. The company will act as an actual firm in which students with varying interests in IMC, public relations, advertising, video and audio production, and web design can gain hands-on experience while working with clients. This new spin on a course will allow students to gain the knowledge and experience needed for working in their field of study after graduation.

Dr. Persuit lays out the big picture for the company when saying, “This project is about putting the theory and knowledge of our discipline, communication, together with the core skills of our department to create ethical and effective integrated marketing communication.” IMC has become an important fixture in today’s professional world because it combines occupations that are traditionally separate. Jobs such as marketing, public relations, advertising, and event coordination are combined under one large domain to work together in order to target the consumer’s behavior through IMC.  Drs. Persuit and Bolduc recognize the importance of applied learning, and were able to secure a grant through ETEAL in order to make it happen.

The involvement of working with actual clients within the “company” will allow students to have real world exposure while refining their skills in the classroom. The company will be student-run, giving undergraduates the responsibility of making strategic decisions in order to meet the demands of the client. Dr. Persuit and Dr. Bolduc will oversee the “big picture” of the company, taking on the role of the company CEOs. Co-creator Dr. Bolduc says, “Students will gain great experience working with real clients that have tangible ideas and real deadlines.” Undergraduates will gain further exposure by working in teams to take on client-oriented projects, which will help them improve continued communication skills. Dusting off the skills learned in COM 200, students will integrate what they’ve learned from Research Methods in order to do client work (Dr. Olsen was right; this stuff can come in handy).

The company is their own first client in order to gain experience and jump-start the program. The first group of five students branded the new firm as Pier601 Creative and have developed a logo, social media presence and a website to publicize its capabilities. With the agency launched, outside clients are already lined up to take advantage of the firm’s offerings. There will also be outside assistance from our very own Communication Studies alumni, Justin Queen.  Queen will be serving on the board of directors for Pier601 Creative to offer real-world insight from his interactive marketing company, Blu Zeus. 

Interested in joining the Pier601 Creative team? Both co-creators are taking administrative steps to get the Pier601 Creative course listed in the university catalogue. The best and brightest students from IMC, advertising, PR and media production courses will be recruited to staff the agency in coming semesters. Advanced (400-level) experience in at least one of these areas will be a requirement for joining the team. Visit the website at If you are interested in becoming a client of Pier601 Creative, or are an alumni who would like to support our efforts, please contact Dr. Persuit or Dr. Bolduc to learn more.