In this Q&A, Dr. Ed Powers, Professor of Practice and PR pro, discusses the launch of a new model for learning about PR research, strategy, and tactics: the Virtual PR Firm.
Q: What’s it all about?
A: It’s the next level in experiential learning for our students. Our virtual firm looks and feels just like a small public relations agency. Through it we are integrating our public relations coursework with six-month projects covering six months for real-life clients. And the students will perform the client work using a leading marketing software tool. The purpose is to have students ready for PR jobs that are in demand in the marketplace. Continue reading “Our Virtual PR Firm takes experiential learning to a new level”
The 1st Annual ePortfolio Showcase was held on Monday, October 28th at The Cabral Center on campus. The event, attended by more than 50 students, alumni, and faculty, recognized the top 4 ePortfolio ‘authors’ for 2018-19: Josh Gelinas, Jessica Kline, Jingyi Lyu, Liz McCarthy.
Dr. Ed Powers kicked off the ceremony, providing an overview of the ePortfolio program and how it has evolved as a central feature of the Corporate and Organizational Communication master’s program at Northeastern. The honorees were selected by a panel of members of our Alumni Advisory Council.
Ed Powers, Professor of the Practice for the MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication program, is an experienced corporate communications executive with a strong base in adult learning and curriculum development.
He began teaching at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies on a part-time basis in 2008 and joined as a full-time faculty member in 2017. During his time at Northeastern, he has taught courses in 10 topic areas and was the architect for the Public and Media Relations concentration.
During his thirty-year career in the industry, Ed gained experience in nearly every facet of corporate communications, working for companies in half-a-dozen industries and serving as the chief communications officer for several billion-dollar organizations.
To survive in a rapidly-evolving digital environment, organizations must, according to researchers at the global consulting firm McKinsey, “infuse their cultures with velocity, flexibility, an external orientation, and the ability to learn” (Catlin, et al., 2015, p. 4). For professionals in a wide range of functional areas, strategic communication skills are vital in helping their organizations adapt to this challenging environment.
Northeastern flipped the script on its annual State of the University celebration, presenting an engaging new format in which President Joseph E. Aoun and other university leaders and students delivered remarks from locations across the country and abroad while underscoring Northeastern’s foundational strengths: global, diverse, innovative, entrepreneurial, and experiential.
91 Corporate and Organizational Communication graduates were recognized at the College of Professional Studies graduation ceremony on May 12th.
The ceremony was held at Matthews Arena on campus with all the requisite pomp and circumstance. I’m always inspired by the sense of achievement exhibited by the graduates — and the enthusiastic pride of their families and friends in the stands.
Our global network of alumni continues to expand, and in an upcoming post my colleague Patty Goodman will share her experiences at recent Northeastern alumni events in Singapre and Beijing.
The role of the Chief Communication Officer (CCO) is evolving rapidly in this era of digital disruption. Communication leaders and their teams are uniquely positioned to help nurture the kind of high-velocity cultures that will help organizations thrive, according to research by McKinsey & Company. Not surprisingly, this also means that communication leaders are increasingly expected to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of business strategy.
We’re kicking off 2017 with several initiatives. The first involves adding more concentrations to our master’s program to meet the needs of our students – we’ll soon have eight concentrations! And the second is designed to create additional pathways to a graduate education by offering transfer credit for demonstrated competencies.
New Concentrations We are introducing two new concentrations. The first is essentially a ‘management track’ for communication professionals who have at least 5 years of experience and are managing a communication team or aspire to. The concentration has a rather long-winded title – Leading Communication Strategy and Talent Development. It will be an interdisciplinary program with three new courses that will be based on research that Zorana Mihic, a current student in our program, and I are conducting. We plan to share our research findings with you in the coming weeks.
The second new concentration, Cross-Cultural Communication, is being designed by my colleague Patty Goodman. It too is interdisciplinary and drills much deeper into the skills and knowledge required to communicate effectively to diverse audiences. A unique feature with this concentration is an option of selecting an international path or social justice path. Both paths include two new courses focused on cultural awareness employing a Cultural Intelligence (CQ) assessment and developing strategic action plans.
Multiple Pathways to a Graduate Education at Northeastern Northeastern is actively promoting ways to recognize the competencies potential students have demonstrated by granting advanced standing transfer credit where these competencies map to specific course learning outcomes in our program. The accreditation examinations of several professional associations have met that standard of academic rigor. We therefore will grant transfer credit (representing a tuition discount of from 7% to 20%) for the following certifications: PRSA’s Accreditation in Public Relations, the Society of Human Resource Management’s SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications, and IABC’s Communication Management Professional certification. If you have colleagues or friends with these certifications, please encourage them to consider an accelerated graduate degree in our program!
Beginning this fall, new students in our program will select one of two 12-week experiential learning opportunities for their capstone course.
1. An online “co-op at work” experience in which a student can design a project initiative in her/his own workplace.
2. A virtual short-term consulting project with a sponsor in the private or nonprofit sectors within Northeastern’s Experiential Network.
These new capstone courses are designed to enable our students to apply the knowledge, skills, and best practices they’ve learned in their core, concentration, and elective courses. We believe this change in the curriculum leverages Northeastern’s reputation as a leader in experiential learning!
Experiential learning is a hallmark of a Northeastern education, and we’re delighted to offer students an expanding range of opportunities to apply what they’ve learned to real-world projects. In addition to the ‘traditional’ Northeastern co-op placement for full-time students, a new International field study course involving interdisciplinary teams, and a virtual ‘co-op at work’ experience, we will be offering a new course in the fall — an opportunity to engage in a short-term online consulting project with a sponsor in the private or nonprofit sectors.
Over the past few months, CPS has been piloting a non-credit version of what we’re calling the Experiential Network (XN). More than 100 master’s students from a range of disciplines have worked on short-term projects for scores of businesses and nonprofits. The results have been overwhelmingly positive, both for the students and the sponsoring organizations.
Sonja Pankow, a recent graduate of our program completed a project for a Boston-based marketing agency that helps corporate clients develop social media strategies. Her sponsor tasked her with producing a white paper overview of so-called’ micro-influencers,’ or non-celebrity specialists on particular topics whose expertise makes them ideal online brand ambassadors. “I learned a tremendous amount,” Sonja noted, “from the opportunity to produce a deliverable marketing piece for a real-world company. I was able to directly apply knowledge and skills I had learned in my Interactive Marketing Fundamentals and Intercultural Communications classes. It was also very useful to learn how to write in a non-academic style for a corporate audience. I think this experience will really enhance future professional prospects.” This is the kind of learning experience we want to replicate on a larger, credit-bearing scale!
In the fall, we will begin to offer the XN course as a 3 Quarter Hour elective. Students will apply to participate in the course, with requirements that include a B+ GPA and completion of our core required courses. They will develop a project plan, conduct research, develop and deliver recommendations to sponsoring organizations, and reflect on ‘lessons learned’ under the direction of an instructor in our program.
If your organization has a short-term communication-related project that could be completed during the fall 2016 term, please contact Carl Zangerl at c.zangerl @neu.edu. This is a wonderful opportunity, as well, for you to mentor one of our current students.