Grady College names 2021-22 Teachers of the Year

Grady College is happy to recognize its Teachers of the Year for the 2021-22 academic year: 

Grady College is also happy to recognize the 2021-22 recipient of the Roland Page Award for Outstanding Graduate Faculty:

  • Sabriya Rice, Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism, Journalism. 

The Teachers of the Year are annually selected by their peers, based on excellence in the classroom and student feedback. The recipient of the Roland Page Award for Outstanding Graduate Faculty is annually nominated and selected by graduate students. 

“Winning the Teacher of the Year award in one of our departments is saying something, because these hallways are lined with award-winning teachers. It takes a superb effort to rise to the top of this competition,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College.

Dodie Cantrell-Bickley advises students on the set of Grady Newsourse. (Image: Sarah E. Freeman)

Cantrell-Bickley, who previously spent more than 30 years in various roles for television news stations, is known by students for her enthusiasm, high energy, interesting and inspiring stories and persistent willingness to help students both inside the classroom and during the job hunt. 

“(Professor Cantrell-Bickley) communicates a lifetime of experience in easy-to-understand and widely applicable techniques, quotes, witticisms, and when need be, lectures. All of this is done in a frank and personable manner with respect to who students are and who we are developing into as people,” wrote one student.

“The Journalism Department is so lucky to have Dodie,” added Janice Hume, head of the Journalism Department and the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism. “She offers students the perfect mix of professional rigor and support. She does as much for students outside the classroom.”

In 2021, Cantrell-Bickley launched an all-volunteer news production program focused on social justice that attracted students from freshmen to seniors, and she led a team of faculty coaches and students to produce the hour-long documentary, “The First Five: The Integration of University of Georgia Football.”

Mattison, a filmmaker and author, uses his large bank of experiences writing and directing to teach his students what it takes to create stellar films. 

“Some students in his directing and capstone courses come away with award-winning films. But they all come away with invaluable knowledge, experience and insight into the skill, inspiration and determination it takes to create an entire, original visual story from the ground up,” said Jay Hamilton, head of the EMST Department and the Jim Kennedy New Media Professor.

Booker T. Mattison celebrates with students during Grady’s spring 2022 graduation celebration. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Outside of the classroom, Mattison recently finished shooting for his upcoming film “Sound of Christmas,” which stars musical artist and actor Ne-Yo and will air on BET during the holidays.

Pfeuffer is known as an avid proponent of active learning, a teaching method that focuses on engaging with students through discussion and problem solving. 

“Professor Pfeuffer is absolutely amazing. He’s so understanding and so concerned about every one of his students. He makes sure we understand the material, while still being genuinely concerned about our workloads,” wrote one of his students. 

“Alex is a beloved professor who teaches tough core courses in the curriculum,” added Bryan Reber, head of the AdPR Department and C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership. “The fact that students express the fact that they don’t have to come to his classes, but they want to come to them, speaks volumes.”

Smith, who specializes in teaching Graphic Communication, is beloved by her students for preparing them with applicable skills for their careers. 

“Kristen is an excellent instructor!” wrote one of her students. “She was always engaging and excited about our work and eager to both give helpful feedback and listen to students’ ideas. I feel like I learned a lot about graphic design, to the point that I would feel comfortable doing graphic design work when necessary in my career.”

“Kristen Smith continually embraces new pedagogical models in her teaching,” added Reber. “Even when it means that it will increase her workload, she is willing to take the plunge and try new ways to critique and grade student design work. Kristen is a remarkably dedicated teacher.  Our students are fortunate when they wind up in her classes.”

Rice is an expert health and medical journalist and communications professional with experience reporting for some of the nation’s top news organizations and serving as the director of media relations for the American Cancer Society. She is praised by her students as a mentor inside and outside of the classroom. 

“Professor Rice has gone above and beyond countless times for me and my peers in and outside of the classroom,” said one graduate student. “She helped me network and helped me get an assistant producer freelance job that I am enjoying so much!”

Juan Meng named Department of Advertising and Public Relations Head

Juan Meng, an associate professor of public relations and founder and director of the Choose China Study Abroad program, has been tapped to direct the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Grady College effective August 1, 2022.

Current department head, Bryan Reber, will retire effective August 1, 2022.

“Dr. Meng adds to the long line of distinguished faculty who have stepped up to lead AdPR over the decades,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “She possesses the leadership skills needed for this demanding position, and she’s earned the role through years of strong service to the college. I’m so excited to work with her.”

Meng joined the AdPR faculty in 2012 and is an affiliate graduate faculty member, serving as the founder and advisor of the UGA/SHNU cooperative education 3+1+1 degree program, which recruits undergraduate students of Shanghai Normal University in China to complete their undergraduate and graduate degrees at UGA. Meng’s teaching focus includes public relations foundations, public relations campaigns, PR ethics, diversity and leadership, and global PR. Her research specialization includes public relations leadership, leadership development, diversity and leadership in PR, measurement in PR, and global communication.

Meng has published more than 70 refereed journal articles, scholarly book chapters and research reports on leadership-related topics. She is co-editor of the book, “Public Relations Leaders as Sensemakers: A Global Study of Leadership in Public Relations and Communication Management,” published by Routledge in 2014. Her most recent scholarly book, “PR Women with Influence: Breaking through the Ethical and Leadership Challenges” (Peter Lang, 2021), is the Volume 6 of the AEJMC-Peter Lang Scholarsourcing Series. Meng has presented her research at various panels, workshops, webinars, podcasts, and symposiums nationally and internationally.

Meng serves on the editorial advisory board for six leading scholarly journals in the field of public relations and communication management, including Journal of Public Relations Research and Public Relations Review, among others. She was recently named to the advisory board of PR Daily. Meng was recently tapped to serve as an inaugural member of the Institute of Public Relations new initiative called IPR ELEVATE, a group of PR leaders dedicated to advancing the research-focused mission in the industry. She currently also serves as the Research Co-Chair on the executive leadership committee of the Educators Academy at Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

Meng serves on the national advisory board of The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the University of Alabama. She has collaborated with The Plank Center over the past ten years on several signature research projects, including the largest global study of PR leadership, Millennial Communication Professionals in the Workplace, the biennial Report Card on PR Leaders and the biennial North American Communication Monitor.

She is a graduate of the UGA Women’s Leadership Fellows program, the Office of Service-Learning Fellows program and UGA Teaching Academy Fellows program.

Meng earned Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees from the University of Alabama; a Master of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio; and a Bachelor of Science degree from Fudan University in Shanghai, China.


“I am honored and thankful for this opportunity. I look forward to working more closely with our talented students, dedicated colleagues, passionate alumni, and other brilliant leaders in the field to continue upholding AdPR’s legacy of excellence in education, research and service.” — Juan Meng

AdPR is the largest department at Grady College and graduated more than 200 advertising and public relations students this past Spring 2022. The department, one of the most prolific in terms of research productivity and cited articles according to a 2019 study, houses several certificate programs, labs and key programs within the College including the Crisis Communication Coalition, the student-run agency Talking Dog and the Center for Health and Risk Communication.

Incivil replies to ‘The Squad’ nearly doubled after Trump tweet, researchers find

After Trump’s 2019 tweet telling four congresswomen, known as “The Squad,” to “go back” to their home countries, the number of incivil replies to tweets made by the congresswomen almost doubled, new research finds. 

Despite all four congresswomen Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — being U.S. citizens, many of the remarks echoed Trump’s sentiment that the congresswomen don’t belong holding office in the United States. In particular, two types of incivility towards the congresswomen increased significantly after Trump’s tweet — the use of stereotypes and threats to individual rights. 

According to the researchers, these four women “represent the racial, gender and religious minority in the United States” and have been the target of a large amount of incivility online. This research provides insight into incivility on Twitter, particularly when it is directed towards members of minority groups. 

“Conceptually, we were trying to figure out what incivility is,” said Itai Himelboim, a co-author of the study and the Thomas C. Dowden Professor of Media Analytics at Grady College. “Part of it is vulgarity, name calling and so on, but another element is a threat to one’s rights and democracy as a whole.”

To conduct their study, the researchers collected all replies to all tweets made by the four congresswomen from June 1, 2019, to August 31, 2019 six weeks before and six weeks after Trump’s July 14 tweet.

Out of the total 102,815 replies to the congresswomen’s tweets during the time period, a sample of 20,563 were coded for 14 variables, including tones and popular topics such as immigration, Muslim ban, abortion, LGBTQ rights and more. 

The researchers determined that just under two-thirds of all replies during the 12-week time period included at least one type of incivility. The findings also showed that, after Trump’s comments, the total number of replies to the congresswomen’s tweets jumped by roughly 20 percent. 

Overall, the most common type of incivility used against The Squad was “name calling,” identified as using disparaging remarks, such as “idiot” or “stupid.” Second was “stereotype,” which was identified as associating an individual with a group and using terms, such as “Muslim,” in a derogatory manner. Third was “threats to individual rights,” which is implying someone should not have rights, such as freedom of speech. Fourth was “vulgarity,” which is the use of swear words. 

Less frequent types of incivility included “aspiration,” which is making disparaging remarks about a policy, such as immigration, “pejorative wording,” which is using disparaging words about how someone is communicating, and “threats to democracy,” which is stating or implying a threat to the democratic method of governance as an ideal or system, such as advocating an overthrow of the government. 

“We need to understand that it is more than being vulgar and calling names not that there is justification for that but it comes down also to threatening individual rights and threats to democracy,” said Himelboim.

The study, titled “‘You are a disgrace and traitor to our country’: incivility against ‘The Squad’,” was published in the journal Internet Research.

Additional authors include recent Grady Ph.D. graduate Bryan Trude (PhD ’22), Kate Keib (PhD ‘17), associate provost of non-traditional programs and an assistant professor of communication studies at Oglethorpe University, Matthew Binford (PhD ‘21), assistant professor of practice at Western Carolina University, Porismita Borah, an associate professor in the College of Communication at Washington State University, and Bimbisar Irom, an assistant professor in the College of Communication at Washington State University. 

Grady researchers explore the effectiveness of humor in STD advertising

For decades, companies, government systems and other organizations have incorporated humor into their advertisements as a way to grab consumers’ attention and help them retain information. 

It’s clear that humor is a powerful tool when advertising, for example, chips and beer during the Super Bowl. But could it be effective when presenting information about stigma-associated health issues, such as human papillomavirus (HPV)? 

That’s the primary question Hye Jin Yoon, an associate professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Grady College, set out to answer through her most recent research. Yoon worked with Eunjin (Anna) Kim, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Southern California, and Grady Ph.D. student Sung In Choi, to conduct the research. 

“I wanted to see how humor can help communicate health information, especially health information that people are not very comfortable communicating or talking about,” said Yoon. 

As noted in the research paper, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It is known to infect almost all sexually active adults at some point in their lives, causing health problems such as genital warts and cervical cancer. However, despite how common the disease is, there is still a significant lack of public knowledge about HPV, the researchers explained in their paper. 

“In 2022, it has shifted a bit for sure, but it is still the case that people hear HPV and don’t necessarily know that it is a sexually transmitted disease,” said Yoon. 

Therefore, there is a clear need for health communicators to develop ways to effectively educate people about HPV prevention and treatment methods. 

While conducting their research, Yoon and her team showed HPV advertisements, some that incorporated humor and others that did not, to a diverse group of more than 150 individuals. Ultimately, they determined that, among those who did not know much about the disease, incorporating humor, without including information about HPV being an STD, proved to be effective in creating greater attention and more positive responses. 

However, when information stating that HPV is an STD was brought into the ads, the researchers found that the ads without humor proved to be more effective for those with low HPV knowledge. To those who already knew a lot about HPV, incorporating humor had no impact on the effectiveness of the ads. 

“It is likely the case that once you tell them it is an STD, they have to focus on that information,” explained Yoon. “Humor takes up our cognitive space in order to process it. You have to process humor to find it funny.”

Yoon explained that the takeaway from this research is that when advertising HPV prevention and treatment methods to people who don’t know too much about the disease, it is best to use humor without explicitly mentioning that HPV is an STD. However, if HPV advertisers do decide to give explicit STD information in their ads, it is better to not use humor. 

The study, “Will Humor Increase the Effectiveness of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Advertising? Exploring the Role of Humor, STD Information, and Knowledge,” was published in the March 2022 edition of the Journal of Marketing Communications.

Jooyoung Kim helps people become innovators

Whether his students are a group of undergraduate advertising students, graduate advisees or international visiting professionals, the guide that Jooyoung Kim uses in his teaching is the same: helping people become innovators through thinking and doing.

Inspired by Apple’s Steve Jobs, Kim frames his teaching philosophy from bringing together the two pillars of thinking and doing in one person.

“To be a thinker, you have to have knowledge,” Kim said. “To be a doer, you must apply your knowledge and experience in the classroom to settings in real life. That collective experience can help a person succeed, innovate and make positive impacts whether it be at a micro or macro scope.”

In addition to teaching advertising courses, Kim’s research mainly focuses on the roles of advertising in branding context.

“I like to observe and theorize how things work, especially human behavior and thoughts,” Kim said. “Since a brand is a perception shaped by a set of constantly updated cognitive, emotional and sensory experiences, my research scientifically explores how advertising helps that process. And, I want to provide useful insights at both a small and large scale.” As the Dan Magill Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Sports Communications, his research also examines advertising and brand communication in the sports context.

As a means to connect with academics across the world, Kim serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Interactive Advertising and was secretary of the American Academy of Advertising, a flagship learned society for advertising science and research. Kim also directs the Advertising and Branding Insights Studio at UGA to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations that focus on research-driven insights in advertising and branding using various scientific approaches.

Kim founded the Business and Public Communication Fellows program to provide international professionals in communication fields with the opportunities to learn from the faculty at Grady College, known as one of the top programs in media and mass communication, especially in advertising and public relations research. Created in 2010 in conjunction with the Cox International Center, the program has graduated more than 100 participants.

Jooyoung Kim teaches an undergraduate advertising class in the Peyton Anderson Forum.
Dr. Jooyoung Kim teaches an undergraduate advertising class at Grady College.

Amid the increasing awareness of diversity, equity and inclusion, support for Korean Americans on campus is important to Kim, as well. He co-founded the Korean American Faculty Association at UGA last summer, which is committed to increasing the visibility of its members and mentoring the Korean and Korean American students on campus. He currently serves as vice president of KAFA.

Preparing students is at the heart of Kim’s teaching, and he believes that the skills he teaches are transferable to any career.

“Advertising is science. The system of knowledge and skillsets related to advertising, including data analytics, research and message strategy, are important competences for any career,” he said. “Moreover, communication is a critical component for the success of any project. If you think about the terms such as ‘science communication’ and ‘environmental communication,’ you can see why.”

Kim is always thinking about the future and encourages his students to be, too. For instance, Kim recognized the importance of understanding large media and consumer data and realized several years ago that there was a gap in understanding between advertising and data science experts. He then formatively created a graduate course to teach data science for communication research. More recently, he encouraged his students to include metaverse advertising strategies in their capstone projects for Nike last fall, acknowledging the importance of the emerging media environment for advertising.

“I want to make my teaching relevant to what my students will need to be thinking and doing after graduation. I want to go beyond the textbook and ask, ‘How can you use these ideas for your future career?’ Let’s do it now and see how it goes. Because of the ever-changing media environment, we may never be able to prepare our students perfectly. But knowing how to think and do simultaneously should last and foster themselves to be constantly prepared,” he said.

Glenna Read, AdPR faculty and alumni recognized at American Academy of Advertising conference

Glenna Read, assistant professor of advertising, was awarded the Mary Alice Shaver Promising Professor Award for junior faculty excellence at the American Academy of Advertising annual conference March 25-27, 2022.

The Award honors a junior faculty member who has demonstrated excellence and innovation in advertising teaching and research. The honor is not bestowed every year.

Students recognize Dr. Read as a dedicated teacher who uses in-class activities to demonstrate concepts and engage students,” said Karen King, professor emerita, in her letter nominating Read for this award.

Since joining the AdPR faculty in fall 2018, Read has taught three different undergraduate classes (Media Strategy and Activation, Advertising and Society and Insights and Analytics), as well as four different graduate classes. She has developed two new graduate courses, Consumer Neuroscience and Media Psychophysiology. She is the founder and director of the Brain, Body and Mind lab at Grady College, which uses psychology, psychophysiology and neuroscience to study how people process advertising.

Read has published thirteen articles in leading journals included Journal of Advertising, Journal of Communication and Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising. She has made 30 peer-reviewed conference presentations.

Read’s award was among several honors by Department of Advertising and Public Relations faculty and alumni at the AAA conference.

Grace Ahn trying out Snap Spectacles at the AAA conference.
Grace Ahn trying out Snap Spectacles at the AAA conference. (Photo: courtesy of Grace Ahn)

Other honors included:

    • Nate Evans, associate professor of advertising, Jay Lim (MA ’16, Ph.D. ‘21) and Ph.D. student Marilyn Primovic (AB ’18, MA ’18) received runner-up for the Best Article Award in the Journal of Interactive Advertising for their paper Exploring how disclosure works for listicle-style native advertising: the role of persuasion knowledge, persuasion appropriateness and supplementary disclosure effect of brand social media.”
    • Alex Pfeuffer, assistant professor of advertising, and Joe Phua, associate professor of advertising, were awarded a AAA Research Fellowship Award for a three-year research project studying video blogs and trust cues about COVID information.
    • Jisu Huh (MA ’00, Ph.D. ’03), of the University of Minnesota, was named the editor of the Journal of Advertising.

Additionally, Sun Joo “Grace” Ahn, associate professor of advertising, organized and moderated successful half-day pre-conference session titled “Advertising in the Metaverse.”

Eric Haley (ABJ ’87, MA ’89, PhD ’92), of the University of Tennessee, received best paper awards from several AAA journals.

Jooyoung Kim served as the AAA secretary and is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Interactive Advertising.

Neil Landau authors second edition of “The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap”

Interviews with 19 of the most respected showrunners in television today are at the heart of the all-new second edition of “The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap: Creating Great Television in an On Demand World” by Neil Landau.

Landau, founding director of screenwriting for the UGA MFA Film program, follows the success of the bestselling first edition of his book, supplemeted by interviews with today’s most trailblazing showrunners, including Issa Rae of “Insecure,” Chris Mundy of “Ozark,” Noah Hawley of “Fargo,” Jesse Armstrong of “Succession,” Liz Feldman of “Dead to Me,” Sam Levinson of “Euphoria,” Steven Canals of “Pose,” and Daniel Levy of “Schitt’s Creek,” among others.

“This book reflects the enormous changes that have occurred since the first book came out in 2014,” Landau said about the new edition that focuses exclusively on streaming shows and features several international shows.

Among the topics covered in the new book are a conversation with Hawley about reinventing the Coen Brothers’ classic film; insight from Damon Lindelof of “Watchmen” on world building, and an interview with Alex Pina of “La Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”) on non-formulaic episodic story structure. Other topics covered by Landau include the power of empathy, family dynamics, antagonists and pitching projects.

Landau explained that at the time the first edition came out, there were very few books about creating and writing an original TV series, and few people know the role of a showrunner, or the person who is the head writer and executive producer of a television show.

“This book is for people who may someday be showrunners,” Landau, who said he was raised on television, continues. “It breaks down the process of what the elements are to writing and creating a successful television pilot and how to sustain it over time. It’s a book for writers and creators.”

He added that the first edition was frequently used in the classroom, including the Sundance Institute Episodic Lab.

Several themes emerged while writing the current edition of the book, according to Landau, including the international impact of entertainment.

“The entire entertainment business, not just television, is global. It’s not a Hollywood-centric business anymore,” Landau said.  “You cannot sell a show if it doesn’t have international appeal.”

He further explains that most of the growth happening with Netflix, HBO Max and Paramount+ and other streaming services is occurring because and they are opening offices in cities all over the world and their focus is local programming produced by people who live in that country using the local language of that country.

Landau also said that intellectual property is now driving the entertainment business. He said the Spider-Man and Batman movie franchises are prime examples.

“If you have a built-in marketing hook, like a show based on a best-selling novel or super popular characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, entertainment providers know that when they go to air it, they will have a built-in audience,” Landau said. “There are still original shows being written, but most are based on known source material. The value of intellectual property is more crucial than ever to break through the noise of over 560 scripted series across multiple platforms—an all-time record.”

Landau also notes that the lines between cinema and television have blurred.

“Television is not a lesser-form of creativity. It’s actually an artform unto itself.”

He continues: “Because TV is available globally, at its best, it can plant seeds of empathy, and reinforce that we all share a common humanity. Hopefully this book will show that we are in the midst of a creative renaissance and it will inspire people to participate, because your voice matters.”

Landau has numerous screen credits including “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” “Melrose Place,” “The Magnificent Seven” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.” His animated movie projects include “Tad: The Lost Explorer” (“Las Adventuras de Tadeo Jones”) for which he earned a Spanish Academy Goya Award, Gaudi Award, and Cinema Writers’ Circle Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2014.

This is the sixth book that Landau has published. Previous books include “TV Writing on Demand: Creating Great Content in the Digital Era,” “TV Outside the Box: Trailblazing in the Digital Television Revolution,” “The Screenwriters Roadmap: 21 Ways to Jumpstart Your Story,” “The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap: 21 Navigational Tips to Create – and Sustain – a Hit TV Series” and “101 Things I Learned in Film School,” reissued by Random House/Crown in 2021.

 

New book ‘Social Media and Crisis Communication’ (2nd edition) bridges gap between theory and practice

Yan Jin, the Georgia Athletic Association Professor and a professor of public relations at Grady College, has released a second edition of her book “Social Media and Crisis Communication.”

Co-edited by Lucinda Austin, an associate professor and the Ph.D. program director at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, the book integrates theory, research and application to orient readers to the latest thinking about the role of social media in the field. 

“This book offers the most updated research insights in the field of social media and crisis communication,” explained Jin. 

 It features chapters written by dozens of researchers and professionals from around the world, including many Grady College faculty members, graduate students and alumni. 

“For this edition, we have a really strong UGA presence,” said Jin. 

Jonathan Peters, an associate professor of journalism, Bryan Reber, the C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership and Joseph Watson, Jr.,  the Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications, Advertising and Public Relations, all contributed to the book. So did Grady graduate students Marilyn Broggi, W. Scott Guthrie, Xuerong Lu and Taylor Voges and alumni LaShonda Eaddy (PhD ’17), Yen-I Lee (PhD ’17) and Logan White (MA ’21). 

The mission of the book, which Jin describes as one of a kind, is to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The book takes a deep look at specific crisis arenas, including health, corporate, nonprofit, religious, political and disaster, as well as emerging social media platforms and newer technology. It provides a fresh view of the role of visual communication in social media and a more global review of social media and crisis communication literature. 

“We want to connect research and practice,” said Jin. “You learn theory and insights, but also there are tangible cases and ongoing dialogues from practitioners shining light on what is important for the industry.” 

With an emphasis on ethics and global perspective, a brief overview of social media research in crisis communication and case studies for each area of application, the lessons in the book, Jin explained, are useful for scholars, advanced students and practitioners who wish to stay on the edge of research. It will appeal to those who are in public relations, strategic communications, government and NGO communications, corporate communications and emergency and disaster response, among others. 

The first edition of “Social Media and Crisis Communication” was published in 2017. Austin served as the lead editor of the first edition, while Jin co-edited the book. 

Clementson teaches professors how to help PR students get internships and jobs

AEJMC panel discussion focuses on ethics in the profession

David Clementson, assistant professor of public relations at Grady College, was an invited speaker at a panel teaching other public relations professors how to help their students get good jobs in the industry.

The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Public Relations division hosted the symposium Feb. 25, entitled “Great Ideas for Teaching.”

About 180 public relations professors from across the U.S. attended.

Clementson outlined a series of nine detailed and creative class assignments as part of a project which equips PR students for entering the market for internships and jobs.

“Our goal in the classroom should be to confidently and comfortably ease students into the professional world of public relations,” Clementson said. “This can include a holistic approach to preparing students with the proper toolkit and expectations while also alleviating their emotional concerns as the process can induce anxiety.”

Clementson also proposes incorporating an ethically-minded focus into the curriculum. The overriding aim, according to Clementson, is to empower students to rise above the potential competition by demonstrating to prospective employers that the applicant is prepared for ethical quandaries that inevitably arise in the competitive and challenging public relations industry.

“Clementson’s classroom project smartly combines an emphasis on getting good jobs and internships, with ethical best practices,” said Pamela Brubaker of Brigham Young University, chair of the AEJMC Public Relations Division’s Teaching Committee.

Stephanie Mahin of the University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School, also a leader of the Public Relations Division’s Teaching committee, added: “I hope other professors will consider employing ideas like Clementson’s project into their curriculum, as we try to do what we can to make teaching a little easier amidst all the pressures on us and the exceedingly competitive realm of PR where ethically-minded professionalism is needed now more than ever.”

“It is an impressive series of strategies to calm the nerves and prepare the professionalism of public relations students entering the workforce,” said Nneka Logan of Virginia Tech, who moderated the panel.

Joseph Stabb, APR, of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a leader in the AEJMC Public Relations Division who helped organize the panel, added: “Through our ‘Great Ideas for Teaching,’ we strive to help public relations educators employ the best teaching in their classrooms. Today’s panel put the spotlight on innovative ways we can embolden students getting the most out of their diploma with good jobs upon graduation.”

Clementson was one of three presenters from across the U.S. who were invited to present their teaching strategies at the event, which was held virtually via Zoom on Feb. 25. The symposium was hosted by Amanda Weed of Kennesaw State University and Stabb, and was moderated by Logan.

AEJMC’s PR Division is the largest organization of public relations educators in the world. The division has more than 400 members from institutions of higher learning in the United States and about two dozen countries around the world.

NIH awards $4 million grant to Emory University and University of Georgia to launch center focused on improving the health of Black children

Sun Joo “Grace” Ahn named co-director of Center for Children’s Health Assessment, Research Translation and Combating Racism

Many Black communities in Metro Atlanta face high levels of environmental exposures that can negatively impact the health of Black children, and scientists are faced with the challenge of effectively communicating the dangers of environmental exposures to diverse communities. To address these issues, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded a $4 million five-year grant to support research related to addressing health disparities through transformative communication strategies.

Sun Joo “Grace” Ahn, associate professor of advertising at Grady College, will direct the health communication initiatives of the grant and serve as co-director of the newly created Center for Children’s Health Assessment, Research Translation and Combating Racism.

With this grant, an Emory-led team of environmental health scientists and health communication experts from the University of Georgia will join forces to translate important environmental health research findings to key stakeholders in the community, academia and health care systems. The new Center will develop high-impact messaging strategies that can be used to improve children’s health by focusing on health literacy and best practices in prevention communication and dissemination.

Faculty from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and Spelman College, one of nation’s most prestigious historically black colleges for women, will also play a critical role in advancing the science generated by the Center and ensuring meaningful discussions and rapid feedback between a community advisory board and all members of the Center.

Linda McCauley, dean and professor at Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, will direct the new Center.

“This Center is uniquely positioned to foster excellence in research on children’s environmental health that will nurture the next generation of scientists and provide information that can benefit the Atlanta community, which has suffered from decades of environmental racism and has many of the highest levels of health disparities in the nation,” said McCauley. “Our goal is to improve the health of children, and we know better communications will lead to prevention and early detection of environmental health exposures.”

Ahn, who also directs the Games and Virtual Environments Lab at Grady College, will use her expertise in interactive digital media and health messaging at the new Center.

“We hope to expand the public health impact of children’s environmental health science by synthesizing existing research into innovative health communication interventions, curricula and policies,” Ahn said of the new project. “Together, we will identify target audiences among marginalized and under-resourced populations and design innovative health messages that can help us better communicate with audiences that have traditionally been challenging to reach.”

The Center will also partner with Sharecare, the digital health company whose comprehensive and data-driven virtual health platform helps people, providers, employers, health plans, government organizations, and communities optimize individual and population-wide well-being by driving positive behavior change.

Donna Hill Howes, RN, MS, chief nursing officer and SVP, corporate partnerships of Sharecare, commented, “Increasing access to information about children’s environmental health is critical to building strong, healthy communities. Working closely with our partners at Emory, UGA, and the Center, we believe that, together, we can effectively support the translation of health science to action-oriented information by leveraging our content and products, connecting stakeholders across fields, and utilizing our national reach to augment children’s environmental health.”

Emory is one of six academic institutions in a network of Children’s Environmental Health Research Translation Centers in the U.S., and it will serve as the National Coordinating Center for the network. The Coordinating Center will be led by Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Children’s Environmental Health Network. Other Centers were awarded to Johns Hopkins University, Oregon State University, the University of Pennsylvania, New York University, and the University of Southern California.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P2CES033430. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of the National Institutes of Health.