The following teaching philosophy was crafted for the University of Tampa in 2017.
In my career thus far, I have been afforded many excellent opportunities to take theories explored in the classroom and engage with them in practical settings. Learning how individuals seek out and engage with content across various media and subjects has greatly informed not only the campaigns I have planned and managed, but also the way I have taught my students at the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida. Making theory real and translating it into enjoyable, relevant learning experiences for my students builds the public relations, communications and advertising skills that will help them as they begin their careers.
Over the last few years as I have engaged with undergraduate students, I have tried several different methods to help them grasp the concepts in their curriculum. Providing context for students in a memorable way can be difficult when textbooks have dry examples and use sometimes outdated jargon and scenarios. By having students create campaigns, write, and experiment with different strategies, they engage with the content on a personal level and learn to collaborate while still being evaluated on their individual contributions to their projects. Students develop projects based on the principles and theories offered in their reading and engage with the content in an entirely different manner, using the literature as guidance instead of the beginning and end of their lessons.
I try to provide context for students so they understand how the principles taught in the classroom translate into the workplace, regardless of their specific career path. Whether they choose to engage in corporate advertising, non-profit public relations, or an agency setting, the principles offered in class can serve as a framework for functional campaigns and communications. Understanding the principles of communication and how relatable interactions between individuals can scale for organizations and campaigns is one of the most important tenants of what I try to teach every semester.
Additionally, I emphasize developing practical, relevant skills for my students. I encourage them to try new methods of creation for projects and push them to experiment with various software and frameworks. Having a basic understanding of design, presentation, and written communication (and how to integrate those skills) are vital for success in senior-level classes and in the workplace, and I cultivate these experiences at every available opportunity to keep students engaged and to expand their knowledge. By the time students offer their final presentations at the end of the term, their ability to craft dynamic campaigns or written communications has been expanded by experiential learning rather than textbook rules alone.
Within the classroom, I strive to create a culture that values experiences and collaboration with clear objectives. I provide strategies for students to employ in projects and in the workplace based on both theory and experience, and strive to bring in new and relevant content as often as possible. I take student feedback into account and welcome questions from students and maintain an enjoyable but productive atmosphere throughout the duration of my courses.