I landed the associate PR professor position at SUNY-Plattsburgh. It's bittersweet as I'm sad to leave the students at UWM. They are great. But I'm very excited to move to the same city as the baby daddy, and focus on PR and social media. I'm so grateful that these opportunities are all falling into place. I'd like to think it's because of a lotta work, a few extra prayers and a little luck.
My face-to-face class students this semester are amazing! As most instructors know some classes just click and work from day one. This is what I have in my ad/PR campaigns course. The students became engaged with the project from day one and are really working to make a difference. Their project is a start-up non-profit program now titled Rise Above (still working on the slogan). The original name was Power to Think, but after a small focus group they found out their student target population was not fond of the name. There's more to come from this group.
My other class, I love them dearly. This is a 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ad/PR research class. I'm elated each week when non of them falls asleep! I'm not kidding. They also are engaged and really are trying to connect the dots to see how research methods can be applied to all areas of ad/pr and to their own personal knowledge.
With everything going on in my personal life (baby on board, fiance 1,100 miles away, living in a house that makes everything 2x the effort (stairs, keys, doors, more stairs, keys, doors), living by myself with no family w/in 400 miles...) I can not be more grateful that I have AWESOME students working their tushes off this semester.
No sometimes really means no. It doesn't matter that I'm short, a woman or someone for whom you have no respect. It still means no.
I was discussing with a TA (who was a former student) today about how students vary at different institutions, but there are always a couple (just like in any populous) who feel they are the exception to every rule.
I'm so very glad I will have a break from being the internship coordinator following the summer semester. I find it much more difficult to gain respect from students with whom I do not have face-to-face interaction with on a regular basis.
I did not have this problem when teaching at Marquette University. Students accepted their grades and generally took responsibility for their actions. The problem at MU generally arose from parents wanting to discuss their child's performance and/or grades. Instructors are not at liberty to discuss these topics with a grown adult's parent.
Then I moved to Mt. Mary College. Here I did not run into authority issues with students. Sure there were a few that questioned their grades and this is more than fair, and I was happy to discuss.
But I never ran into the excuses, complaining and blatant disrespect that I have experienced at UW-Milwaukee. For the most part I love UWM students. In fact, compared to the other two institutions these students, overall, take their educations very seriously. They work hard (in school and at many part-time/full-time jobs). And they are respectful and honest.
But as discussed in the 80/20 post prior, there are always the few that refuse to accept that they are not the exception to every rule. Rules/guidelines and requirements are created for specific reasons. You "special snowflake" are not an exception.
First, I want students to differentiate the difference between the words "deserve" and "earn" - they are not synonymous.
Second, simply because you classify yourself as a "hard worker" is not a reason to grant you a special exception - we expect all of our students to be hard workers. And for the complainers - with as much time you spend on complaining I have no idea how you can get any work done. Generally these "hard workers" are those who did not decide their major until well into their junior year, don't have the required GPA and haven't planned far enough in advance. They are generally scrambling for an internship. Often this is because they've been told for more than a year they need one, but put it off. To me this does not equate into a smart worker, no matter how hard they make the task to be.
Third, an exception to the rule is not granted because you feel it's an unfair rule. In fact the opposite is true. If you are granted an exception, then it is unfair to every other student who followed directions, met deadlines and didn't take up unnecessary time because you didn't read the instructions/requirements/responses.
If you are a student reading this and think this is about you -- know that of the 50-70 student interns managed each semester there are 2 - 5 of YOU that take up 80 % of my (and the committee's) email, phone-call and meeting time. This always hinders me from prepping for my face to face classes to the level I would like (45 - 100 students affected). I complete the other 90% of interns (approving, notifying, discussing) and and internship responsibilities (approving and posting positions, creating documentation, developing the semester/D2L/web page information) in a fraction of the time. This leaves me with time to sleep for at least 4 hours/night. This is not good for the baby to be (@GeorgeMP4).
My plea to students is -
1. Please read.
2. Research the things you want to know/discuss before shooting emails asking things you could have easily found out on your own.
3. Take a step back and try to think about how other people are being affected by your actions.
4. Do not demand you be granted an opportunity, especially if you have not completed the requirements.
5. Do not break rank or make threats (go above, around and up and down the hall) trying to get your way. This makes you look bad. It also wastes a lot of people's time. Every student is important, but you need to learn the appropriate way to address your concerns. Sometimes your concern is not as urgent as you feel it should be.
6. DO - meet face-to-face. Email correspondence can easily be misconstrued.
7. Do not expect an immediate response - especially if you procrastinated and/or do not do the same.
8. If you are told no, and there are valid reasons for this response- accept it! Sometimes no means no. This is not unfair, it's reality.
For the 90-95% of the students who read, meet deadlines, ask appropriate questions and take responsibility for your actions. Thank you!
A student asked me today (via facebook DM) - "
The following link and responses to questions from a recent PR grad Jodi Osmond.
The new class of PRAugust 11th, 2011 by Jodi Osmond • For many, our interest and passion for PR developed in college. As a recent graduate, those who I have learned from and have been influenced by are fresh in my mind. So I wanted to pick the brain of Rachael Jurek, one of my PR instructors from UW-Milwaukee, to see how she uses her experience and knowledge to teach future generations of PR pros.
What do you hope to instill in students each semester about the PR world and how to succeed in it?I hope students see PR as something more than an agency resource used by businesses to promote their brand. I want them to see PR beyond a publicist or a full-service marketing agency. They need to understand that the job of a PR practitioner is to be mindful of all affected publics, not simply the ones that may purchase or use a product or service. PR professionals should also know how to report back to the company about how the outside world perceives their brand, good or bad.
What has changed in the industry over the years, and how do you change your teaching material as the industry changes?
The primary change is the way we communicate and the public’s need for instant information. Twitter and blogging allow anyone to “spread the word.” PR practitioners need to be more proactive than ever. More importantly, though, is being honest and upfront. When something happens, whether good or bad, the PR practitioner of today must be available to provide a statement for the company.
In addition, the PR team needs to stay abreast of how the company is being represented, not only in the media but also on the Internet. Monitoring Twitter mentions and blog accounts are now as important as tracking and analyzing media attention. Building on this, two-way communication is key. The Internet is a fabulous tool to better connect and communicate with the various publics involved with your brand or company.
What has stayed the same over time is that PR practitioners are needed to provide a sense of community for all involved publics. The ways in which we can do this, however, have changed as social media and the Internet continue to become useful tools.
Because you have a lot of valuable experience in the industry, what have you found is difficult to teach versus experience in real life?
Students need to understand that there is not a textbook to life. No two experiences are alike even within the same organization. Hopefully students can take the broad concepts and theories discussed in class and think critically about how to apply them to future tasks and positions.
I encourage students to participate in as many internships and volunteer opportunities as they can while in school. Internships are a valuable learning experience where students are able to employ some of the ideas we discuss in class and transfer them to a real world setting. Students who are able to apply the concepts, strategies and skills that they are learning excel beyond students who do not.
Students do need to understand that learning is up to them. Instructors can provide tools to learn, but a student must connect the dots on how particular lessons relate to the real world. Being a strong writer, thinker, problem solver and communicator are extremely important in this industry.
What should veteran PR pros consider, even though they've been in the biz for years?
I’m lucky in that research is part of my job so I am able to explore some of the industry’s new trends. I also have the liberty to play around with social media at work. PR practitioners are expected to understand the world of social media. As the internship coordinator at UW-Milwaukee, it appears that the practitioners who are not knowledgeable in these new forms of communication are either scared to use them or do not fully understand the power these tools can and should have in this industry.
I can’t imagine I would have the time to learn about all of the emerging technologies and trends if I held a full-time PR position. Any PR practitioner knows there are not enough hours in the day and staying connected can be very overwhelming (social media fatigue comes into play here). I’d encourage any practitioner to continue learning, reading and connecting. Do a little research on the top blogs and Tweeters in the industry. Read the many, many emails from PRSA. Establish a LinkedIn and/or Google+ profile. But if you do, check it daily. Set aside 30 minutes at the start or end of the day dedicated to research and social media. Remember quality of information over quantity. Select the social media that works best for you and your business and stay true to your publics.
This is an industry that is always growing and evolving, so practitioners must always be learning.
Jodi Osmond recently graduated summa cum laude from UW-Milwaukee with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and media communication and certification in digital arts and culture. As a social media and community engagement intern at Allée, she is eager to continue growing professionally while embracing her passion for public relations and social media.
Except I think it's more like the 90/10 rule. I've noted this in my grading blog, but why is it that 10 percent of the students take up 90 percent of your time? I love assisting students. I enjoy seeing them grow from experiences and learning. What I do not like is seeing the same students consistently arrive late/not at all and then demand I "fill them in" or provide extra help.
Yes, I understand the viewpoint of those who say, well don't help them. If it were only that easy. The students who are always finding an excuse for arriving late, not turning things in on-time are generally the ones who have the most questions when it comes to assignments. They are the ones who complain about the class/assignments/projects.
If you are one of these students who is continually frustrated with assignments/class requirements/course policy please ask yourself the following:
1. Did I read the instructions?
2. Did I read the book/materials?
3. Did I attend the lecture?
4. Did I ask for help during class?
5. Did I ask a classmate for their interpretation?
6. COULD I HAVE FOUND the answer ON MY OWN by doing an internet search or making a library trip?
If a student has exhausted the options above I'm happy to help. If not, you are wasting the time I need to devote to the 90 percent of students who show up prepared and are pro-active about their learning. Thank you.
Reading through many pre-Super Bowl discussions/articles/blogs became very frustrating. The ad-related pieces generally denounced social media as a irrelevant way to "advertise." The PR slant was completely the opposite noting that unless advertising incorporates social media the communication platform will die.
There is truth to both sides. Traditional advertising still has a place in the marketing world. But it can not live alone.
And although some businesses claim they have ousted traditional advertising all together - they are still implementing traditional tactics in a new mediate format.
What is clear is that two-way communication is happening, like it or not. The way a company, organization, media outlet deals with it SHOULD have an impact on their success, and the success of their communication messaging.
Although recommendation letters take time to compose, I'm often happy to do them. I really like LinkedIn as I can compose a recommendation for "deserving" (I dislike the word deserve - I'll post about this in my Yikes! blog soon) students without them having to ask.
Sometimes I find it hard to compose a letter for a student who has only done so-so work. I want to reply back to them, "Really?" when I see the request. But I'm a "sucka" and try to piece something together that doesn't overtly say, "I recommend that you find someone other than this person."
The other pain in the arse is that rec letters take so much time to write. Many times the letters are never used. Then I think, "wow I might have been able to try and have a life, thanks "student" for taking 30 minutes of my life for something you're not entirely sure about" - x 20/semester. It would be great if the students all composed a LinkedIn/email rec letter for me in return (hint, hint) ;)
As for the grad school and internship recs -- it's difficult to compose letters that don't have the old "form letter" feeling. I actually prefer to give a phone interview to a written one. As I know (or assume) that most often the letter is a formality.
Does anyone know if academics can get into the same legal trouble as professionals on saying "too much" or on being weary of saying negative things in fear of litigation? The world of academics is very different from the corporate world. But I'd have to imagine the same rules to hold true on answering questions from the HR peeps.
Do you know? What are your feelings/thoughts.
Well now that it's 9:17 on a Saturday night - I think I'll pack up and go home and finish my syllabi for the semester. Fun, fun, fun. I really do love my job - I do.
I am assistant professor in the Journalism & Public Relations department at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.