NACOGDOCHES, Texas - A new program offered by Stephen F. Austin State University's Nelson Rusche College of Business is attracting students who desire a degree more focused on communication, leadership, technology and employee development in organizational settings.

The Department of Business Communication and Legal Studies launched the new major in business communication and corporate education in fall 2013, and students already are enrolling in the first-of-its-kind program.

"The growing demand in the corporate world for individuals with extensive knowledge in communication and employee-related training and development helped influence us to develop this program," said Dr. Ann Wilson, SFA professor and chair of the Department of Business Communication and Legal Studies. "No other college or university offers this precise combination."

Students graduating with a bachelor's degree in business communication and corporate education will be prepared to enter the growing fields of training and development/human resources development, business communication, digital and social media, and events management, to name a few.

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that the public relations, management and human resources specialist fields will grow 21 percent faster than average between 2010 and 2020. Overall, the outlook for business communication-related careers is expected to see above-average growth, making this newly created degree program attractive to college students.

"The foundation of the program is in the College of Business," said Dr. Gail Weatherly, SFA assistant professor of business communication. "In addition to the business foundation courses students will take, the department has developed a new cornerstone course, GBU 330 - Principles of Employee Development, that will support the degree and better prepare students for careers in an organizational setting."

The new degree entails 41 hours in general curriculum, 42 hours of foundation courses in business and 27 hours specifically in business communication and corporate education courses. The student also selects 10 hours of electives.