Being a member of PRSA Hoosier Chapter has a slew of benefits included on the website. As an educator, I always want to learn more about the field and pass it along to my students. To access the publications, on-demand professional development training seminars, APR prep classes and study materials, and local events to network and learn from professionals are just a few at the top of my list. I believe it all starts with involvement as a college student in PRSSA. At Anderson University, my students have been the beneficiaries of your knowledge.
Today I want to share a few tips for higher education professionals to bridge the gap between PRSSA and PRSA in hopes of students eagerly joining PRSA post-graduation.
- Get involved! My students and I were members for only a month when we attended the November annual luncheon. I also have found the monthly luncheons are an excellent opportunity to send students based off a topic and their interest. This year seniors took advantage of Half Day with a Pro and were able to circle back with employers to job shadow again.
- Network. For public relations professionals, networking comes more naturally as we enjoy communicating with others. But networking goes a long way for your students even if they are not present. I learned through a six degrees of separation experience more than one guest speaker for classes and PRSSA meetings. And the Hoosier Chapter members rarely say no; we are all here to help each other succeed.
- Be creative! At Anderson University, we are a smaller program with about 30 majors and minors. This affords me the opportunity to test what works for our monthly PRSSA meetings. Last year when the monthly meetings were scheduled at an odd time and attendance was shrinking, I regrouped with our officers to create an opportunity students would NOT want to miss. Now we host monthly luncheons on campus at a low cost from my budget and free for students. Each month I bring in a different Hoosier member or alum from our program. Attendance has swelled each time.
- Professional development. As a professional, I have been humbled to send along my resume or LinkedIn account for critique by others in the Hoosier Chapter. This also is important for our students, especially graduating seniors. After networking with professionals, ask if they would be willing to review a resume or cover letter for your PRSSA members. I have yet to hear no.
- Use chapter resources. The resources on the Hoosier Chapter and PRSA national website contain practical tools for PRSSA meetings. Dig into the recorded webinars and APR study materials a few times a month and utilize these resources to expand your student’s knowledge outside the classroom.
If you ever want to brainstorm some ideas or have ideas of your own, reach out to me anytime at email@example.com. As we each work to add professionals to this industry, I am always open to learn from peers and network with our Hoosier Chapter members.
Stefanie Leiter is a 2016 graduate of Purdue University in the master’s of science communication program and started her Ph.D. in Communications from Regent University in 2018. Stefanie serves as an assistant professor of public relations at Anderson University. Stefanie is the faculty advisor for Fifth Street Communications, a student-run pr agency; AU’s PRSSA faculty advisor; and serves on the United Way of Madison County board of directors. She also earned a graduate certificate in strategic communication from Purdue University in 2015. Stefanie is married to her best friend, Dave, and mom to their two adorable, young children.