There has been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere and this Conference about the future health of the public relations industry and how the definition of our industry is evolving. I think the key to our future is in understanding what is being taught to the future generation of public relations practitioners. As an educator and a person extremely concerned about the health and growth of public relations, I was excited to attend the Educators Academy Research Session, Saturday evening, November 7.
The overwhelming theme among the 10 research paper presentations was the study of leadership in the public relations industry and discovering our industry is truly lacking great examples of leadership and must look to other industries for guidance. In addition to the paper presentations and roundtable discussion, 16 pedagogical poster presentations focused on putting theory into practice through service learning programs and student-run agencies. Attendees walked around the roundtable and poster presentations at their own pace, discussing best teaching practices, research and strategies with the panelists.
Unfortunately, while the session was open to everyone, the majority of attendees I met were other educators and not practicing practitioners. Yes, it’s great there is peer to peer networking and learning among the academics at this session, but practitioners could learn so much from academia research, and vice versa. We should foster dialog between the academic and professional practice worlds. Such discussions might shed light and solutions on the identity crisis our industry faces today.
Visit the Educators Academy for more information on the proceedings of the session and Conference.
By Lauren Vargas is a community manager at Radian6, based in Boston, Mass. She is a well-known public relations blogger and speaker who specializes in integrating social media tools into communications/marketing and business strategy. Vargas is a multi-faceted communications professional with experience in internal and external corporate communications, governmental affairs and community relations. Connect with Lauren on LinkedIn and Twitter.
For coverage of the PRSA 2009 International Conference: Delivering Value, visit our Conference blog or follow the conversation on Twitter at hashtag #prsa09.