Once again this semester, I’m teaching two concurrent sections of Public Relations Campaigns. I’m in the process of changing the course a bit, though, trying to better adapt it to the changing PR landscape. Since this class is the capstone for seniors majoring in public relations, I want to do everything I can to prepare them for a professional career.
In my view, part of doing that means shifting the emphasis away from media-based campaigns. I continue to be surprised at how many students come into the class thinking that press releases, media kits, and a Blackberry full of journalists’ contact info represent the core of their future career. This capstone course is my last chance to shake them free of this idea. At the same time, they definitely need to come out of this class knowing how to research, develop, and evaluate a strategic plan. There is only so much time in a semester to give them the conceptual and methodological tools they need, practice dissecting campaigns to figure out what does and doesn’t work, expose them to enough examples to remind them just how vast a territory is covered by this field, continue their socialization into the profession, and coach teams as they work on their specific client projects. It’s a delicate balance. I push them hard, because I know I’m doing them a favor that way, but even so there are objective limits on how much you can do.
I’m still fine-tuning the syllabus (and probably will be right up until Tuesday morning before the first class), but I think the course description now says everything I want it to. Read more »