Over the last few years, faculty within the Department of Mass Communications at St. Cloud State have been able to experience opportunities to help propel one of the top mass communications programs in the Upper Midwest.
Thanks to a grant from the Hubbard Foundation, faculty within the Mass Communications department have been able to participate in externships with companies across Minnesota, the country and the world that are innovators in advertising, public relations, journalism, broadcasting and more.
Since 2016, various SCSU faculty members have immersed themselves in a semester-long externship that allows them to observe various practices and translate those observations into revised and improved teaching practices. The externships are part of an ongoing strategy designed to align what is being taught in the classrooms around campus with the needs of university community partners.
“I think that the externships provide an opportunity for the faculty to stay current and learn about the latest developments and gain new skills. It’s very important for me to know what is the latest in the industry,” said Dr. Roya Akhavan, a Mass Communication professor at SCSU. “If we don’t have the opportunity to experience the fast-changing things within the industry, it’s hard to prepare the students for the 21st century.”
Akhavan is one of the professors at SCSU who will soon experience an externship of her own in the early months of the 2020 calendar year. Akhavan will be working with the firm Quite Remarkable, which is a global digital advertising agency that operates in London, Sydney, Silicon Valley and New York.
“(Quite Remarkable) is a global digital advertising agency and is really a state-of-the-art company,” she said. “I applied for this experience to be able to find out about the cutting-edge types of strategic communications, going beyond the traditional notion of branding and marketing. They have higher technology that allows them to really pinpoint the market and target audiences and deliver with great efficiency, and I wanted to learn more about that.”
Akhavan, who has held her position at SCSU since 2001, will be working with a higher education online institution, client of Quite Remarkable, assisting in developing advertising and marketing campaigns, among other things.
“I think that they will provide an opportunity for us to stay current and learn about the latest developments and gain new skills,” Ahkavan said. “It’s very important for me to know what is the latest.”
The Mass Communications program at St. Cloud State is considered one of the best programs in the Upper Midwest and the ongoing externship experiences have helped and will continue to help in maintaining the program’s excellence while ensuring students are well prepared for success beyond their schooling.
“I believe that, as a professor who teaches courses that either introduce students to or help them delve deeply into various aspects of our fast-changing field at the national and global levels, I have the obligation to keep up with important new trends in the field and expand my knowledge and insights in this game-changing area,” Akhavan said.
“It’s really important to have these opportunities so we know what we need to teach the students and what kind of opportunities they need to have for when they are done with their schooling.”