It’s a beautiful and serene snowy day here in Vienna, Virginia. Looking out my home office window at the falling snow, it is hard to believe that Spring semester begins January 28.
I’ll be teaching a new class (new for me anyway) — Principles of Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Communication. Towson’s 200-level Principles course is the first required course in the PR Track. As such, it is a larger class. I’ll have 36 eager young minds to fill with the history, theory, ethics, and practice of PR.
I will also teach my regular courses, two sections of public relations writing with 40 students total and a strategic public relations planning and management course with 25 students. I will also serve as faculty advisor to 5 students on internships, a couple of independent studies, and be faculty advisor to our PRSSA and IABC student chapters.
Did I mention that I will also take a doctoral course, Legal and Ethical Issues in Instructional Technology? It is shaping up to be a busy spring semester.
Oh well, as we used to say down South: “Don’t worry about the mule; just load the wagon.”
Please do not take the commentary on my schedule as whining. On the contrary, I am celebrating the many and varied things I get to do. In my corporate communication management and consulting days, I would regularly work 60 to 80 hours a week, plus travel extensively. My workload at Towson is both manageable and extraordinarily stimulating. I am blessed to have this opportunity at this stage of my life.
But with it comes a great responsibility. I have a total 106 students spring semester. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be responsible for their academic preparation. But more important than that, I want to teach them skills and abilities that will help them have productive and rewarding careers.
I make it a point to know all my students’ names and something about them early in the semester. I run my classes as staff meetings in a corporation. I am the supervisor, and they are my direct reports with specific job assignments. In so doing, we discuss real world PR issues and approaches to solving problems.
It is most important to me that students learn problem-solving skills and the application of workable strategic communication/PR/IMC techniques appropriate to typical on-the-job situations.
Employers want communication/PR/IMC practitioners who can solve organizational problems. It is my job to prepare my students to fill that role. The wagon is loaded.