In an era where Public Relations is undergoing constant evolution, the importance of a well-rounded PR education cannot be understated. Or overstated. To shed light on the ever-evolving landscape of PR education, a distinguished panel of experts convened to discuss the “Outlook of PR Education”. So, it was a close look at navigating in the evolving world of PR education. This insightful discussion explored the challenges, trends & opportunities in preparing the next generation of PR professionals.
Setting the Stage
Hemant Gaule, the moderator for the panel discussion, aptly set the context by acknowledging the pivotal role of PR in our dynamic world. PR has always been at the forefront of shaping perceptions, driving change, and fostering meaningful connections. With the world continuing to evolve, so too must PR education to keep pace with the industry’s demands.
The panel boasted an impressive lineup of industry luminaries, including: Amybel Sanchez de Walther, Dean – University Universidad de San Martín de Porres; Silvia Arto, Vice President – Global Alliance and Chair of the European Regional Council; Sia Papageorgiou, SCMP, Managing Partner – Centre for Strategic Communication Excellence & Dr. Wole Adamolekun, Elizade University.
Attracting and Retaining Talent in PR
Silvia Arto, representing Europe, highlighted the universal challenge of attracting and retaining PR talent. She stressed that people today seek balanced, meaningful work, emphasising the importance of a company’s purpose. For managers, it’s about creating favorable conditions for the younger generation, who are, in turn, reshaping the world.
Sia Papageorgiou, sharing insights from Australia, noted that post-COVID, PR teams are becoming smaller, and budgets are shrinking. Additionally, the cost of studying Communication & PR in Australia has surged to $15,000 per year. She pointed out that public perception of PR needs a makeover to move beyond the stereotype of “spin doctors.”
PR Education Transforming
Amybel Sanchez de Walther, representing Peru, highlighted the transformative phase of PR education in her country. She emphasised the need to retain “the human touch” in PR, even as the field undergoes profound changes.
Dr. Wole Adamolekun pointed out that there is now a better understanding and collaboration between academics and practitioners in PR, leading to significant progress in the field.
Essential PR Skills
When the panelists weighed in on crucial PR skills, Silvia emphasised the importance of strategic thinking, while Sia stressed that PR professionals are, first and foremost, business people who “build relationships and trust”. Amybel emphasised the ability to connect with people and work within ethical frameworks. Dr. Wole Adamolekun emphasised the importance of data and research skills, and understanding the broader environmental factors beyond the bottom line.
Bridging the Gap Between Academia and the Business
The panel delved into the alignment of academic education with the business environment. Silvia noted that digital transformation has reshaped education, emphasising the need for adaptability. Sia suggested that academia and industry should strengthen their collaboration, especially in areas like research and the impact of AI.
Amybel emphasised the holistic approach to PR education and the necessity of industry professionals participating in the classroom. Dr. Wole Adamolekun reiterated the importance of industry-academia collaboration.
A Call for Mutual Learning
The parting shot was Silvia’s who aptly summarised the need for a symbiotic relationship between academia and the professional world: “We need students in the professional world and professionals in the academic world.”
The panel discussion on the “Outlook of PR Education” illuminated the evolving landscape of Public Relations and underscored the critical role of education in shaping the PR professionals of tomorrow. As the industry continues to change, it is evident that the intersection of academia and industry knowledge will play a pivotal role in preparing PR professionals for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
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