Back in the US of A! The last couple of weeks have been ver busy for me due to my conference schedule at the end of may. First, it was ICA in Phoenix and then I traveled back to Louisville for about 12 hours, and then I was on a plane to Milan, Italy for the RI Conference. I have gone to the Integrate Conference for the last two years, and I realized that I would be missing the first day of the conference due to traveling back from Milan. However, I was still able to make it for the second day, so I was happy about that.
So, I traveled back from Milan from Zurich to Washington DC. I wished I was able to stay a bit more in Zurich, but I was able to see the airport briefly as I ran to my connecting flight to DC. I arrived late Friday evening in Morgantown – still adjusting to the time difference – but it was good to see everyone again from last year. The Integrate conference was very well organized and all of the presentations were relevant, professional, and innovative. I enjoyed the ones I was able to attend to – especially the presentations by Bill and Chris – great job everyone!
My presentation this year at the Integrate conference was a little different from what I have previously presented on. The first two years focused on the emergence of social media and crisis communications – one presentation was with a panel and the other was a presentation I did last year on the subject (it was also presented at the PRSA Digital Impact Conference in NYC). This year I focused on how to market yourself with a MA for the PhD. I had a great turnout for the presentation – great questions and comments! I believe that we are entering a dynamic new business and academic environment, and I believe having a balance of applied and theoretical points of view for PR is essential to have for incoming PhD students and professors.
The keynote speaker was Fred Cook, who is the CEO of GolinHarris, and they recently changed their agency structure to fit the evolving business landscape and expectations for PR professionals. His presentation was inspiring, and I think that professors and others need to be aware of these changes and how they impact how we 1) prepare our students for the future and when they graduate 2) how we can make sure we are aware of the growing changes in the industry so we can educate ourselves and 3) determine if we too need to restructure our curriculums at the undergraduate, graduate, and PhD levels. All of these ideas need to be explored, and I really do appreciate Fred taking the time to come to the Integrate Conference and sharing his knowledge with everyone.
At the reception dinner, I was totally surprised when I found out that I received along with Matthew Cummings the 2012 Alexia Vanides Teaching Award, which is voted by the students. I did not know I was going to receive the award, so I was speechless and definitely got teary eyed in the process.
This teaching award is such an honor and I could not have done it without the support of everyone who is part of the IMC program. Chad, Rick, Shelley, Brianna, Alex, and Nicole really have done a wonderful job with everything part of the IMC program. I also have to thank the students (especially Hannah, Michelle, Mary, Amiti, Kevin, Bill, Marilyn, Eric, and Laura) – I had the chance to meet some students for the first time in person, and others again from previous years.
Teaching is so rewarding – this is my first teaching award, ever. I will make sure to put this in a place of honor in my apartment, right next to my athletic trophies.
Thank you all so very much – words cannot express my full gratitude for all of your support, encouragement, and kindness. You all are more than colleagues – but a family. I hope everyone has safe travels and it was truly a pleasure to be part of the Integrate Conference.