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11 November 2011


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Bob Batchelor

Hi Karen,

Happy Monday! Thanks for this report, which is insightful in many ways. The primary issue that jumps out at me is that the move toward integration (blurring) continues to proceed at a quick pace, primarily based on technology.

I guess we've all seen this as "the writing on the wall" over the last decade. I'm wondering, though, from your perspective as one of the leading thinkers in the field and as editor of one of the major journals, if you feel the scholarly side of the industry has or will catch up to the stark reality of what's going on in the profession?

In addition, could information such as you've outlined above be considered the beginning of the end for distinct PR and/or Ad majors? I have to admit, we're grappling with this at Kent State. We have a wonderful undergrad PR major, but it seems to make more sense to integrate with Ad to bolster the skills of students across both fields more than what is "normally" required, like each major taking one or two in the other.

Karen Russell

It's such a struggle, Bob, for many programs. In our case both the advertising and the PR programs are very strong -- nationally ranked, even, so it's hard to figure out how to blend them without losing the strengths of either side.

But I think we can take a lesson from industry: instead of figuring out how to do it, just start doing it. Next semester a member of the ad faculty and I are team-teaching a campaigns class with both ad and PR students. We *truly* haven't figured it out yet, but we're going to try it and see what happens. We're also combining more informally -- such as the ADPR Connection event described above, or inviting speakers from PR to ad events and vice versa. I think the students are very open to it (perhaps more than some of the faculty!), so I'm interested to see where it goes.

Could it be the end of separate ad and PR majors? I think it *could* be, but academic traditions are slow to move, so I don't see that happening in a hurry-- and that's not necessarily a bad thing, as the old push for "IMC" may indicate.

And now I'm off to check out your post on this topic....

Bob Batchelor

Thanks for the thoughtful reply Karen! I hope that you'll write about your experience in the team-teaching class. It would be informative on a number of levels.

One of the ideas we've considered -- and Bill sledzik -- is really leading it, is that whether or not we can/should find a "bigger" moniker or theme for what we do and combine via that. For example, Bill's been talking about a "School of Storytelling" that enables us to teach based completely on the skills students need or could have when they graduate, rather than based on a formula we've created.

From my perspective, our students could benefit from the visual and graphic expertise of Advertising and our School of Visual Design, just like they could benefit from the theoretical/scholarly approach of our colleagues in Communications Studies.

I think it's a great time to be in the vanguard of these changes, particularly if one is student focused and willing to rebuilt to help students better prepare for the future.

Thanks again for bringing this all to light!

Karen Russell

Bob, thanks for elaborating -- by the way I tried to comment on your post but your spam blocker didn't like me. Anyway, it struck me that we're talking about the same things, and aren't we lucky to live in exciting times!

I'll definitely post about the Campaigns class. I'm guessing it'll be one of those semesters when the prof learns more than the students.

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