23/02/12 - It's all academic
Teaching PR and social media at university
Each year the Media School at Bournemouth University - one of the largest of its kind in the world - appoints four Practitioners in Residence who deliver more than 100 days of professional practitioner input between them.
This includes giving lectures, seminars and workshops, advising students on careers, and helping out with profile-raising projects for the School.
Last September, I was appointed Practitioner in Residence in PR with a specific remit to focus on online PR and social media. Once a week, I head to the coast to teach both BA and MA students studying for PR or Advertising, Marketing and Communications degrees.
Iím humbled to be in very good company: this yearís other practitioners include an executive producer for Radio 4 and a seasoned Fleet Street journalist.
So far Iíve enjoyed the thrill of lecturing to a hundred first-years as they embark on their university experience; Iíve learned some valuable theoretical approaches from colleagues (I read English at university which is great for spouting Shakespeare but has little practical application in the world of marketing communications); and Iíve even taken advantage of the amazingly inexpensive-yet-impressive staff canteen.
Iíve also been impressed by the curiosity and drive of the students, whoíll challenge me with trickier questions than any client or colleague has asked. Never mind the students - itís proving to be a fantastic learning experience for me.
The Practitioners in Residence scheme forms part of the Media Schoolís wider commitment to professional practice Ė most degrees also feature a year in industry.
Given the economic and employment challenges graduates face, this focus on commercial experience can prove invaluable in helping students decide on the direction of their careers and secure a job, and Iím delighted to be a part of it.
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