We’ve just finished the first year of our Virtual Public Relations Firm (VPRF). Based on both achievements and feedback from everyone involved, it was a good one that has us planning for bigger and better things as the new school year approaches.
For our clients, the experience was similar to working with a small PR agency helping them to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences. Under the guidance of instructors, who also are industry professionals, the students first developed a research report, then created a strategic PR plan, and ultimately designed and delivered a wide range of promotional content.
“I think the students were superb,” said Jared Auclair, Director of BATL. “They produced really high quality work.”
Finding My Place in the Cross-Cultural Communication Field
It was three years ago that my career gained what I thought was to be my launch into the global market. After graduating from college and achieving my dream job of working at a huge corporation in Tokyo, the unexpected occurred. Within six months, I quit and moved back to my home country, the USA.
Deciding to leave so quickly shocked not only my community, but also myself. I had spent four years learning about Japanese language and culture. Having studied abroad, researched, and interned in Japan. I had braced myself for expected sexism in the workplace, strong drinking culture, and even power harassment. However, the one thing that was I had not prepared for was my own lack of cultural agility.
Despite knowing what the Japanese perspective might be, I found myself defining right and wrong. I would often deem Japanese corporate culture to be unhealthy for its collective mindset, in contrast to my valuing individuality and freedom as someone raised in the USA. When I ended up leaving Japan to pursue a career in cross-cultural communication, I came away from the experience subconsciously wanting to fix Japan. I had a vision and a strategic plan; next steps were to gain the tools.
I appreciated the many opportunities available while I studied at Northeastern University. As the Head Student Life Coordinator for NU Global International Pathways Program, I was responsible for event operations. In my last semester in the Corporate and Organizational Communications program (COC), I coordinated one of the biggest events and collaborations between NU Global International Pathways and the Office of Global Services — Global Voice II.
This second part is about what was, for me, a remarkable journey and experience at CPS. My time in the MS COC program was full of global workplace learning opportunities, intellectual challenges and my personal and professional growth. There is a quote by Benjamin Franklin that is very close to my heart and my personal philosophy of life: “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” And, this quote guided me throughout my learning journey at CPS.
As we forge into this Information Age and World of Robotics, the concept of Human Literacy has been introduced to the stage. What is Human Literacy? Northeastern University President Aoun has proposed Human Literacy to mean our unique abilities to adapt, collaborate, and offer empathy in comparison to computational literacy generated through artificial intelligence. This new use of the term human literacy is an example of a cultural linguistic adjustment in professional studies within higher education. This is where the idea of a cultural audit takes footing. So, what is a cultural audit?
A fundamental skill of all communicators is the ability to tell a compelling story. ePortfolios enable students to tell their own experiential and educational stories, using words, images, and multimedia. A strong ePortfolio makes a statement about your professional brand – who you are, your values, your commitment to lifelong learning.
A judging panel of our Alumni Advisory Council selected three ePortfolios created during the 2017-2018 academic year as outstanding exemplars of what students can create.
Surprise! There is more to corporate communications than writing press releases. We showcased this with five Boston-based graduate students, who joined the MilliporeSigma Corporate Communications team for a day. As alumni from the Corporate and Organizational Communication’s program, we know how exciting it can be to apply classroom learning in the real world.
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.