It’s almost August and this means only a few things. First, the summer weather is coming to the end and we are going to have fall weather come soon (love how the seasons change, especially here in Kentucky!).

Second, football season is about to start, and I am excited to be cheering for all of my teams this year (Louisville, USC, Tennessee, Florida, West Virginia, and Army). Yay! 🙂

However, the main thing we are going to be expecting in a few weeks is the start of the new academic year. I am entering my third year at the University of Louisville (wow!) and will be teaching two courses this semester. One of these courses will be social media, which I first taught at UofL this past semester but also helped out with the social media class at the University of Tennessee before I graduated with my PhD in 2011.

UofL Social Media Class [Spring 2013] w/ Guest Speaker Jason Falls

I have been very impressed with the level of creativity, innovation, and engagement these PR professors put into their classes. These are truly the professors who are preparing their students for the demands of the PR workplace.

  • Kelli Matthews: Kelli has done a superb job with her social media class at the University of Oregon. She has a very comprehensive blog for her social media activities for her students titled Pros in Training, which is very appropriate. (@kmatthews)
  • Matt Kushin: a PR professor from Shephard University has done a great job in organizing his blog for his social media classes.  I was really impressed with his strategic application of the platforms by giving the students hands on experience with some of these tools. Matt’s one of the professors setting the standard for PR professors teaching social media! (@mjkushin)
  • Robert French: Robert is the standard to look at when it comes to preparing students for their online portfolios – they are truly amazing! He has been a leader in this area for years, and I remember the first blog post he wrote about me when I first started blogging – he’s been a great supporter and truly a wonderful professor to look up to in the area of new media. Thanks, Robert! (@rdfrench).
  • Corinne Weisberger: Corrine teaches at St. Edwards University and has also been a professor who has been very active in making sure she has content that’s relevant, current, and balances the theoretical/applied perspectives when it comes to social media. She’s another person to look at and aspire to when it comes to creating beautiful and visual presentations. (@corrinew).
  • Patrick Merle: Patrick is a new PhD and about to start his assistant professor position at Florida State University. Patrick is great in sharing relevant content in real-time with his students on Twitter as well as discuss his professional activities and projects on his personal website. What is great about Patrick is that he is able to share his perspectives on social media from a PR and journalist point of view – which is definitely great to see in the classroom (@patrickmerle).
  • Marcus Messner: Marcus has done a very good job with uploading, sharing, and disseminating content related to his social media class at Virginia Commonwealth University. Marcus has also been willing to share not only what he has done in research, but also in teaching by providing examples of his syllabi to share with others. (@marcusmessner).
  • Tiffany Gallicano: Tiffany is a wonderful PR professor – and does a splendid job with her blog titled The PR Post at the University of Oregon. She has her students of course write blogs during the course of the class, but she’s also very active in researching what are some new tools and assignments that can be applied for social media and PR courses. I had the pleasure of working with Tiffany this past year on an infographic assignment study, and we found some interesting results! We’ll be presenting these findings next week at the AEJMC 2013 Conference in DC. (@gallicano).
  • William Ward: William, or otherwise known as Dr. 4Ward online, teaches at Syracuse University and has always been an innovator when it comes to new emerging technologies. I thank William for directing me to the Hootsuite University Certification program (which I used this past semester at the University of Louisville and will this upcoming fall semester). William is also a Google Glass Explorer, so it’s been fun to exchange ideas and talk via Twitter about the new tool.(@dr4ward).

These are just a few PR professors who really have set the bar when it comes to creating and engaging students with innovative and strategic perspectives in social media.

While all of these professors have blogs for their social media activities, there are some other PR professors you may want to follow based on the content they share via social media sites (ex. Twitter) as well – they have their own designated hashtag for the class and are very generous in sharing updates, articles, and are actively engaged with their students in discussions.

Some include Amber Hutchins (@amberhutchins) of Kennesaw State University, Carolyn Kim (@CarolynMaeKim), David Remund (@remund) of Drake University, Melissa Dodd (@mellydodd) of Central Florida University.

What makes all of these professors on the must follow list for social media classes? They all do similar things including:

  • using a particular platform to engage students outside the classroom (ex. Twitter with a class hashtag or Google+ for hangouts for office hours or presentations);
  • are life long learners of emerging trends and tools – never staying the same with their syllabi, so they are always evolving and
  • are leading by example with social media integration into their own activities in consulting, research, and practice.

Special shout out to all of these great PR professors who are generous in sharing their knowledge, expertise, and best practices with the entire community on how to effective design and implement a social media class for 2013 and beyond. Thank you and keep up the great work!

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,