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How I’m Teaching Public Relations with Karen Freberg’s PR Textbook

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Teaching the Public Relations Class with Freberg’s PR Textbook, Discovering Public Relations

Karen Freberg‘s PR textbook, Discovering Public Relations: An Introduction to Creative and Strategic Practices, has been called a substantial advancement in public relations education (see Gallicano, 2021). It was published in time for the 2020-2021 academic year. But this semester is the first chance I’ve had to incorporate it into my Public Relations class. In the below post, I’ll discuss how I’m incorporating this textbook and share my new Public Relations Principles syllabus.

I had the privileged of writing the ancillary materials for this textbook, including a syllabus, and discussion questions and activities and assignments for each chapter.  You can get your hands on those materials from Sage when adopting the textbook. So rather than sharing specific assignments, below I share three ways that I’ve used this textbook to update my class.

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Teach Social Media book now available on Kindle Unlimited

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Teach Social Media now on Kindle Unlimited

Welcome back! We have arrived at the spring 2022 semester.

Teach-Social-Media-Kushin
Teach Social Media: A Plan for Creating a Course Your Students Will Love

To kick off the semester, I am excited to announce that my book, Teach Social Media: A Plan for Creating a Course Your Students Will Love, is now available on Kindle Unlimited. This means that if you have Kindle Unlimited you can read the entire Kindle book at no additional cost beyond the price of Kindle Unlimited membership.  The book remains available for purchase in paperback and on Kindle.  I hope that this enables more people to get access to the book so that they can take advantage of its contents in preparing their social media class.

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Leveraging Technology in Leadership Communication by Carolyn Mae Kim [Book Review]

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Leveraging Technology in Leadership Communication by Carolyn Mae Kim

Dr. Carolyn Mae Kim has a new book out about leadership and the role technology can play in building ethical leadership. Published by Routledge, this new book is titled Leveraging Technology in Leadership Communication.  Below I review this brand new book.

But before we start, I must admit my bias up front in reviewing this book. In my social media class, I use one of Dr. Kim’s other books, Social Media Campaigns: Strategies for Public Relations and Marketing (I reviewed the first edition of this book in 2016. I currently use the second edition in my class).

Professor Kim is someone I have long-admired. She is a leader in public relations education and the work she has done in helping build the PR program at Biola University is an inspiration. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from her as well as work with her on a few projects and I know her to be a person of exceptional character. Lastly, I had the opportunity to make a small contributions to this book in a leadership spotlight (more on that below). So, again, fair warning: the review you will find below is biased.

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Here Are My Social Media and Strategic Campaigns Hybrid Course Syllabi and my Introduction to Mass Communications Asynchronous Syllabus

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Communication Course Hybrid and Asynchronous Syllabi

This semester is flying by! How is it late October already? We are entering week 10 here at Shepherd University. I promised several weeks ago to share my syllabi for this semester. As the saying goes, “better late than never.” 🙂

Below, you will find 2 syllabi from courses I have discussed previously on this blog. You will also find a brand new syllabus for a class that I have never shared on this blog before: COMM 203 Communication & New Media. This is a course that is commonly called Introduction to Mass Communication or similarly titled at other universities.

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What’s Changing? Navigating a ‘New Normal’ in 2021

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What’s Changing in Fall 2021?

Welcome back! Fall 2021 is in full swing.

Traditionally, I begin the academic year with a “What’s Changing” blog post (example: my 2019 What’s Changing post). In these posts, I share my big picture plans for the fall semester, and sometimes for the spring as well. Last fall, I broke that tradition with a post that I hope provided some encouragement to the education community.

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A Note to My Fellow Educators: Thank You (p.s. It’s Okay to be Exhausted)

The 2020-2021 academic year is drawing to a close for many of us. Thought you may not have felt like it at times, you have done an incredible job this past school year.

In my final announcement to my students, I thanked them for showing up. I told them that I hoped that, if nothing else, this school year helped them see how resilient they truly are. I share these words because the same goes for all the educators out there. Thank you for the sacrifices you made. Thank you for showing up.

As I wrote back in September:

You are good enough. You are awesome.

During this long, strange academic year we have had to adapt to a new world.  Many of us have learned to grow our skills in new vectors while shrinking the scope of our pre-pandemic plans. Throughout this journey through anxious times, we have dealt with uncertainty and tragedy.

As educators, we have a talent for self-laceration. Perhaps it is the fact that academic work often involves less oversight that we find ourselves playing the dual roles of motivator and motivated. As such, we may have struggled this year with thoughts like: “I should have done more of (fill in the blank),” or “my productivity this year has been a fraction of what it was last year.” Those kinds of thoughts just create more stress when pandemic-related obligations or restrictions get in the way of getting things done. Let those thoughts go.

My summer plans are, in many respects, probably not much different from yours. That is, I plan to play a lot of catch up. But, in doing so, I’m going to challenge myself to be mindful of the (often self-imposed) pressure of finishing all that went unfinished, or in many cases, unstarted, this past academic year. Can we put that pressure aside, at least for a little while, and work on our to do list while practicing self care?

Lately, I’ve been reminding myself a lot of something someone said to me once: “Stop trying to be perfect and start being human.”

You deserve a break. You deserve rest. It has been a hard year. And that is okay. It is okay to be exhausted. It is okay to be human. You do not need anyone’s permission.

Kermit, I love you, but I’m not sure I agree with the ‘that’s none of my business’ sentiment. In a way, I think it is all of our business to ensure we are supporting each other as whole people.

It is important to decompress. It is important to take time for yourself and for your loved ones. What you have been able to get done during a global pandemic is and was enough. Full stop.

So I plan to spend a lot of time this summer doing simple things to focus on the whole of me. This pandemic has taught me, for example, that I like to make homemade almond milk and oat milk (tweet at me for the recipes. Both are super simple to make). This summer, I plan to learn how to make vegan homemade ice cream (just bought an ice cream maker!!!), bond with my child in nature, and sit on my deck and listen to the morning birds. This pandemic has taught me the value of many things I was too in a rush to do or to notice.

But wait… who am I to tell you that you deserve a break? Let’s be real. I’m a person with a section on his blog titled “Be more Productive.” The irony of me in 2021 writing this blog post is not lost on me. Like many of you, I’ve developed into a compulsive worker.

One school of thought is that it is risky to take time to yourself in an ever-changing world. I think that the pandemic has taught us that we need to push back against that mantra and realize that we risk losing who we truly are if we do not carve out a space for the whole self. During this pandemic, many academics have shared stories of or concerns about burnout in academia. A candle that has burned out cannot light a path for others. The same is true for academics. With that in mind, it is imperative that we do take time for ourselves.  If taking time for yourself feels selfish, then do it for me. Allow me to be the selfish one here and say that I want the best version of you out there impacting lives, advancing knowledge, changing the course of humanity.

At the start of fall 2020 academic year as we entered the uncertainty of the COVID classroom era, I wrote  “We are in a time of revaluation. We are in a time where our compassion and humanity are our greatest assets.”

I hope we do not lose sight of our compassion and humanity as we move forward. This summer, I hope to keep my eye on compassion and humanity in my own life and in the lives of others.  I hope you will remain cognizant of your own humanity and approach yourself with compassion as you slide into summer in 2021.

Disruption engenders change. In what direction do you want to change moving forward?

From one educator to another, I sincerely thank you for everything you have done and continue to do.

Tweet at me your plans to take some ‘me time’ this summer. This is a question I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. It is important that we have more conversations about self-care, burnout, and the role they play in fulfilling, meaningful work in academia. Let’s talk.

Have a wonderful summer! I look forward to connecting in the fall!

Be well!

Matt