Each week this fall, PRsay will interview one of the nominees for the 2021 PRSA Board of Directors.
Name: Dr. Kaye Sweetser, APR+M, Fellow PRSA
Location: San Diego
Current title: Professor of Public Relations, San Diego State University; Director of the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations; Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii, U.S. Navy Reserve
Board nominee position: Director, Western District
Alma mater: University of Florida for master’s and doctoral degrees (Go Gators!)
Number of years as a PRSA member: 14
Like many universities, San Diego State is mostly holding online-only classes this fall. What challenges has this presented to you as an educator?
One of the best parts about education is seeing when a student makes a breakthrough on a complex issue, and truly understands the teaching point. The difficult thing about moving to virtual instruction is not being in person to read a room and the nonverbals during teaching to see how close you are — when to speed up, when to slow down — and of course to witness that big eureka moment. It still happens, but buffering takes a bite (byte) out of the pure joy of the moment.
All the full-time PR professors at SDSU are Accredited in Public Relations now. What do you see as the value of Accreditation in the profession?
At SDSU we are so proud to have all of our full-time faculty Accredited in Public Relations. We find value in it twofold. First, it keeps us connected to the profession. Second, it shows our students that, no matter what season of life you’re in, you should strive to be a lifelong learner. I personally feel the greatest value that Accreditation provides to me in my practice is the constant reminder to do my best in every campaign, and the push it gives me to mentor those around me.
Why did you decide to be a volunteer leader within PRSA?
I volunteered to serve PRSA because I love public relations, and I love the Society. I believe that there is important work to be done, and I want to be active in that effort. PRSA is on the pivot point and ready to lead the profession through these turbulent times for practitioners. I’m ready to step up to the plate, help with bold decisions and keep us focused on our goals.
John Elsasser is PRSA’s director of publications. He joined PRSA in 1994.