In April 2018 got an opportunity to be a part of The Bridge Conference, organised by the Institute for PR, Washington DC. IPR Bridge aimed to bring together the academia and the profession of public relations and strategic communications. I found this particularly fascinating for two reasons.
Highlights of the IPR Bridge, 2018, Washington DC
One panel discussed the manifestation of such collaborations – making strategic communications a part of curricula that create business leaders. Panellists were Kathleen Rennie, Associate Professor, New Jersey City University, Kristie Byrum, Assistant Professor, University Of Pennsylvania, Lynn P. Costantini, Manager Cybersecurity Compliance and Oversight, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the discussion was moderated by Reed Bolton Byrum, Chairman, Byrum Innovation Group
It was insightful to learn the starkly different was the importance of strategic communications for curriculum designers and recruiters. In a study published in the Journal of Management Studies, Dr. Kathleen Rennie, revealed this “compelling need”, and some fascinating realities of strategic communications education:
And it isn’t just corporations who miss such training imparted to their hires. Management graduates themselves feel the need for training in strategic communications and reputation management as an integral to a successful career. Loosely quoting Dr. Rennie:
“One of the reasons why MBA students want to learn more about Press Releases is the concern that someday they might be quoted in one”
Even while there is agreement on its necessity, embedding strategic communications into curricula, it is difficult to make it happen. Particularly in well-established institutions, there needs to be consensus and support with the leadership. A few tips emerged from how PRSA partners with MBA and other non-traditional graduate degree programmes to experiment injection of strategic communications curriculum components:
The conference itself was the first of its kind organised by IPR. The two day conference hosted at the Georgetown University, School of Continuing Studies, and was a success in my opinion. It brought a range of cutting edge ideas from academia and practice and I had the opportunity to meet some incredible people from both spheres, including some students from University of Florida who were helping put this event together. My congratulations go to Tina McCorkindale, Sarab Kochhar, Sarah Jackson and team for putting this together.
I have highlighted some of the fascinating ideas I discovered at the conference through some tweets, do check them out.
– Hemant Gaule
Hemant is the Deputy Dean and Co-founder of School of Communications and Reputation (SCoRe). He is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad, and has counselled brands in the private and political space. He writes a column on Political Communications and can be found at @HemantGaule on Twitter and as Hemant Gaule on LinkedIn