The Marketing and Management programs began in 1967 as part of the Career Education division of what was Area XI Community College. The program started in West Des Moines and was located in a temporary campus located in a former grocery store. At that time, students could opt for either a two-year Retail Marketing degree or an Industrial Marketing and Management degree. There were two faculty members hired per major. Jerry Manning was the first program chair.
In 1973 the Fashion Merchandising program was launched in response to the rapidly growing apparel industry and development of the regional shopping malls in the Des Moines area. Initially one faculty member, Karen Heuer, was employed and a second faculty member was added the following year. That put the total full time faculty in Marketing/Management at six.
Program promotion efforts by the college were moderate but also adequate for that time. Cut off enrollments were in force at the college for several years so enrollments were limited to 35 new starts per year.
Two, one-year diploma programs were added, Retailing and Sales & Management with the dual purpose to: (1) attract prospective students with shorter term educational goals than the AAS degree, and (2) give non-completers of the AAS degree a better "opt out" alternative by completing a diploma.
Some of the changes that have evolved gradually since the inception of the program in the 1960s include:
- The addition of the Banking and Insurance programs. These programs eventually were realigned with the Business Administration program.
- The college moved from quarters to semesters, so considerable revamping of curricula took place. The College moved away from block scheduling in order to provide student flexibility in scheduling and timing of entry into the program.
- Day and evening courses were offered regularly on the Ankeny campus. Some courses are now available at the other campuses as well. By 2011, seven MGT and MKT acronyms were available online. Students can now complete the Management AAS degree completely online.
By 2011 it was possible for a student to complete each of the program degrees and diplomas through evening courses with the exception of Fashion/Design. Evening offerings in fashion specific courses were introduced in the 1980s. Enrollments were very light and most sections were not run as a result. Upon surveying industry representatives, it was concluded that because of retail hours, evening and weekend courses were not conducive for retail employees to participate in continuing education.
In 1995, because of perceptions held by the program's target market, the Fashion Merchandising degree name was changed to Fashion/Design. There was strong student interest in the visual merchandising field, as well as apparel design, both of which are important fashion related careers.
Near the end of the 1990s an additional dimension of the Fashion/Design program became interior design. Two interior design courses were added to the fashion curriculum, and an Interior Design Consultant certificate was established.
Three student clubs are available which are treated as co-curricular components to the programs. They are Marketing, Management and Fashion. All students in any of the department's five majors are members, dues free. A series of educational study tours are conducted each year to get students involved in learning from corporate leaders and networking with a multitude of resources for career assistance.
An image and mood within the physical facilities of the program were created in 2000. New signage was brought into the hallways with the program's theme, "Marketing/Management…Leaders for the 21st Century." Program visibility increased dramatically because of the new signage and fun, action-oriented photos displayed showing students enrolled in the program in a variety of exciting settings.
By 2011, a large screen TV was added in the department as part of the promotional tools. A promotional DVD was completed profiling the many exciting opportunities and experiences in the program, showing still photos along with video clips and testimonials of students. In addition, the TV is used as means to share photo memories from most recent activities and study tours. By 2011, the program's classrooms were equipped with computerized instructor workstations, Team Boards and Elmo projection equipment.
In 2011, seven certificates were offered as part of the Marketing/Management Programs. They include: Fashion, Management, Sales, Human Resources Management, Interior Design Consultant, Retailing and Supervision.
Karen Heuer was appointed Department Chair upon the retirement of the original Program Chair, Jerry Manning, in 2002.