PR 2.0 and the New Curriculum for Colleges and Universities

I recently attended the New Jersey AdClub’s Career Day at Montclair State University on April 7, 2009, after being asked to participate on their Public Relations panel.  Students of all ages (not just juniors and seniors, but adult students as well) attended the event.  The day was divided into breakout sessions where PR, marketing and business students were able to select the sessions of their choice.

Overall I thought the day was educational, fun, friendly and provided students with useful information to take with them after college.  However, I did notice that many of the questions that they asked as well as some of the questions posed by my fellow panel members were indicative of traditional PR, media relations and publicity. There was almost no mention of PR 2.0 or social media communication, except when I was offering my opinion on the new media practices of PR professionals or was simply giving students advice on what to expect when they enter the workforce.  Here were my clues:  one student in her definition of PR said, “PR is putting a positive spin on a company,” and another, adult undergraduate asked, “How important is technology?”

I’m glad that I attended the event and was able to share information with the students and faculty on what is considered on the latest and best practices of the industry.  However, in order to turn out the most knowledgeable PR and communications professionals, we have to be on the cutting edge of PR.  Brian and I wrote our book, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, to educate all professionals on the New PR landscape, and how they play an essential role in PR 2.0 today and in the future.

So, if you are reading this blog and you are a student, you know a student, or you are a professor or member of Academia, take a look at what I believe should be the new PR curriculum at major schools and universities across the globe.  I would be very happy if you told me that your institution of higher learning has this covered:

  • PR 2.0 vs. Public Relations: The changing media landscape, the new collaborators, PR redux
  • New Journalism: Journalists vs. bloggers, the blogosphere rising, new relationship strategies
  • Facilitating Conversations through New Tools and Techniques: blogger relations, Social Media Releases, VNR 2.0, corporate blogging
  • How to Optimize your Online Presence through Technology: Keyword Rich Content, SEO, Technorati, Alexa, People want to find you, help them along!
  • Engaging in Social Media: The study of social sciences (sociology and anthropology), social networks, micromedia, new marketing roles for professionals
  • PR 2.0 and the Organization: Community managers and customer service 2.0, socialization of communication and service, the rules for breaking news, blogs for public disclosure.
  • A new guide to PR 2.0 Metrics: Measuring the Conversation Index and understanding the Conversation Prism
  • Convergence: PR 1.0 + PR 2.0 = PR, new roles and responsibilities for professionals

These subjects and more are being discussed daily in the blogosphere.  As a matter of fact, Robert Scoble just posted a private note to Public Relations people.  If it is out there for all to review and internalize, then why wouldn’t every university/college include the topics listed above in their programs.  After all, the goal is to make our students the most knowledgeable and valuable communicators; the professionals who will lead us forward and into the future.