Friday, March 26, 2021

March 26, 2021 Panel Presentation: Public Relations Professionals and Graduate Standards in the Ever-Shifting Pandemic Landscape

This morning I participated in a panel discussion on "Public Relations Professionals and Graduate Standards in the Ever-Shifting Pandemic Landscape." The panel took place at the International Academy of Business Disciplines (IABD) Annual Conference, and was moderated by Tricia Hansen-Horn. Other panelists were Dani LaGree; Ashleigh Horn; Kylee Julian; and Adam Horn. Special thanks to Bonita Dostal-Neff for making this panel possible, as well as her ongoing support and mentorship.

I raised six points during our discussion. They were as follows:

  1. We've lost a year of each other's lives as a result of our physical separation during the pandemic. That meant a major disconnect with our students and colleagues. What will reconnection look like?
  2. Life has become harder, and more complicated, time consuming, and stressful for public relations practitioners and academics alike over the last year. Major shifts in lifestyle, work habits, and career selection are beginning to play out and no doubt will take some time to manifest completely.
  3. There are two kinds of online learners: those that choose it willingly, and the second, who were forced into online education because of the pandemic. Some of the latter group struggled, and from their perspective are better served by face-to-face education. As we increasingly move to an online education model, how do we continue to serve this latter group of individuals?
  4. Technology is essential in teaching and learning online, and often appears to drive conversations about those topics. Yet the burdens of this ever-changing technology are significant. How do we keep pace? 
  5. Communicators will be much needed as new issues come to dominate the landscape in the coming years. These include heightened concern about public health issues; the repurposing of readily available retail and commercial space; the evolution of urban areas in the wake of shifting uses of space; and the pursuit of strategies to address global warming.
  6. The availability of remote work, whether in the form of a full-time jobs or short-term contracts, will grow in public relations. 

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