SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – The University of Mississippi at DeSoto Center-Southaven has hired a full-time faculty member to strengthen its integrated marketing communications program.
Patricia Overstreet-Miller, who began working at the regional campus this spring as an IMC instructor, has an expansive career in communications, including public relations, marketing, advertising and lobbying. At the corporate level, Overstreet-Miller has worked for companies such as Allstate, Options Clearing Corp, Zurich Insurance and the McCormick Foundation.
IMC is one of the fastest-growing programs at Ole Miss. The program, housed under the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, includes the study of advertising, public relations, brand management and research into consumer insights, enabling students to build a customized toolbox of professional skills.
An IMC degree offers a myriad of benefits, Overstreet-Miller said.
“IMC opens doors to a world that can take you to so many diverse experiences that can be rewarding both financially and in terms of personal growth,” she said. “It’s never boring and the growth potential is amazing.
“Most executives value communication skills, and the unique communicator who has the integrated approach to and understanding of communication is particularly valuable. While we all have to start at the beginning and work our way up, IMC can be a real leg up in a competitive world.”
Overstreet-Miller plans to share her experience in community relations, government relations, investor relations, employee communications and media relations with her students. She also hopes to connect IMC students at UM-DeSoto with their peers at the university’s Oxford and Tupelo campuses to share learning and experiences.
With undergraduate and graduate degrees in English, Overstreet-Miller leveraged her interest in language and in people to become a communications professional. After earning a graduate degree in marketing and finance, she became a nontraditional student pursuing a Master of Business Administration.
The latter experience gave her a special understanding of many at the Southaven campus, she said.
“Many of our DeSoto students are older, already working and bring with them unique life experiences,” she said. “That can make their learning opportunity particularly rewarding.
“Since I went back to school for an MBA in the middle of my own career, when I had young children, I know that it’s a challenge to balance school with other life responsibilities. But it’s also a chance to create new opportunities in a career that’s already started, or to make a shift to a new career direction.”
Rick Gregory, executive director of UM-DeSoto, sees great potential for the program with Overstreet-Miller’s guidance.
“We are incredibly excited about Patricia joining our team and also about growing the integrated marketing communications program on our campus,” Gregory said. “With so many large corporations, businesses and nonprofits in close proximity to Southaven, our IMC students have unique advantages in terms of internship opportunities.”
Overstreet-Miller agrees that there are numerous opportunities ahead.
“The University of Mississippi is one of a handful of great schools offering an IMC program,” Overstreet-Miller said. “Our students are fortunate to have this opportunity, and I feel lucky to be a part of what our school is building.”
For more information about the IMC program and UM-DeSoto, visit http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/desoto/.