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New Master of Science in Communication and Information Technology Degree Launched

Online program, led by longtime industry leader Jared Linder, set to begin in fall 2022.

Jared Linder Jared LinderALMA — Students will learn about modern and future information technology systems and processes — and adapt into an ever-evolving job market — at the new Alma College Master of Science in Communication and Information Technology (CIT) program.

The new, low-residency program will be led by Jared Linder, a longtime leader in the field of technology who most recently served as chief information officer for the State of Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration. The program, which was approved last week by the Higher Learning Commission, is set to begin in fall 2022.

“We are delighted to offer a new Master of Science program at Alma College, and pleased to welcome Jared to our faculty,” said Kathleen Dougherty, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “His expertise in communication and information technology, honed by years of work in the private sector and academically, will prepare our students to take on the challenges of tomorrow.”

The CIT program is designed to prepare students to lead organizations through the rapidly evolving technological and regulatory landscape. CIT is an interdisciplinary professional master’s program designed to cultivate communication and leadership skills along with a foundation in technical knowledge and data skills. Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of networks, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data warehousing, and also develop leadership and communication skills.

“The CIT program is very much a mirror of our Evergreen strategic plan at Alma, including providing experiential learning and creating new and innovative courses of study,” said Alma College President Jeff Abernathy. “One goal of a great liberal arts program is to create well-rounded students of the broad universe we inhabit; the CIT program will help us build on our reputation for excellence in that area.”

The M.S. in CIT is the second graduate degree being offered at Alma College in its 136-year history; the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program was launched in 2020 and has since held two successful in-person residencies. More graduate programs are in the works.

In a similar way to the Alma College MFA program, CIT classes will be flexible in their scheduling to allow working professionals to remain employed while also enrolled in the program. Students will have an opportunity to attend working sessions in residence that foster both the community of the student body and the culture of the CIT program, focusing on special projects on critical topics as well as serving in the final semester as the capstone to the program. This flexible program design also ensures students can learn from outstanding instructors and industry professionals from across the country.

An Alma College strategic investment task force spent three years considering different areas of study to add to its offerings before selecting CIT. The task force considered it to be a good fit for Alma because, in part, a number of its own graduates from a variety of majors pursue graduate study in the field.

Linder comes to Alma from the State of Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration, where he led enterprise efforts for health and human services technology solutions, focusing on IT modernization, data and analytics and systems interoperability. Linder previously held roles at private sector technology and consulting firms and has 10 years of experience teaching IT project management to graduate students at Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana.

Linder holds a bachelor degree in English and a master’s degree in information and communication sciences, both from Ball State, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from Butler University, in Indianapolis.

“I am thrilled to be at Alma College, which has a rich tradition of creating a world-class learning environment for students to grow into their calling,” Linder said. “I see the CIT program as fitting in seamlessly at this liberal arts institution, which seeks to build students who are inquisitive and adaptable in ever-changing job market. I can’t wait to get started here.

“My experience in the field has shown me that employers are looking for talented and motivated employees who are great communicators and writers, who possess relevant technical skill sets with emerging enterprise tools, and who can learn to lead and grow. Our graduates will leave with the framework to become an information technology leader of the future.”

If you are interested in learning more about the CIT program, visit alma.edu/cit. You can also contact Linder at linderjb@alma.edu or (989) 463-7176.

Story published on April 21, 2022