In the past, many people thought of public relations as an inherent skill. It was simply not something you went to school for. PR specialists were either born to charm the public – and teach clients how to do it – or not. This belief has changed drastically, due in part to schools creating programs for public relations in response to the growing popularity of the field.
However, schools themselves seem to recognize the best knowledge in public relations still comes through experience, rather than mere study. As a result, Arizona State University (ASU) hired former Edelman U.S. President and CEO, Mark Hass, to become a strategic communications professor.
Learning PR in a Constantly Changing Environment
In fast-paced fields, college students face the risk of leaving school with outdated information. The time it takes colleges to learn new information, approve it, change the curriculum, and have that approved as well, takes time.
As a result, one of the most important things students learn in PR is how to adapt, innovate and change. More importantly, students should learn to anticipate and set trends in the marketplace. This is something textbooks cannot teach more effectively than “mentorship” in a classroom from a seasoned professional.
The Immediate Benefit of Hiring Professors in PR
Unlike most other members of faculty, professors enjoy almost complete academic freedom. As a result, they do not need to strictly follow a curriculum while instructing students. This allows colleges to pass on new information as it becomes available, which remains essential to learning in public relations.
As new apps, new practices, new social media platforms, and new ethical standards become industry norms, students can receive this updated education right away. This is likely what ASU had in mind when it hired Mark Hass as a teacher, and granted him professor status.
As other business and communications schools compete with ASU, more teaching positions will become available. Subsequently, more top-level experts may resign from the field to teach and mentor a whole new generation of PR specialists.
This provides greater opportunities for not just the new PR generation in school, but those already working in the field. New open positions in PR mean greater promotion opportunities and better chances of growing in public relations at the executive level. This helps the new wave of PR experts build their portfolios and expand their professional experience.
About Mark Hass
Hass has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of journalism, entrepreneurship, and strategic communications. Prior to his prestigious position at Edelman, Hass founded and led MH Group Communications, until Edelman bought the company in 2010. Hass also held the position of Global CEO at MS&L Worldwide.
In his new capacity, Hass will work jointly with Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He expects to teach both communications and marketing courses to his students.