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Public Relations practicum stretching students in new ways

Public relations, communications and marketing students are getting some real-life career experience working with the MVNU Admissions Office this semester.

Director of Admissions Tracy Waal is teaching a Public Relations practicum this spring after proposing the idea to the communication and business departments last fall.

Students in the PR practicum will use previous course knowledge and assigned reading to tackle real problems and situations that the MVNU Admissions staff has faced in the past. They also will work in small groups on real projects and presentations for prospective students.

Waal said the course is designed to give students “real-life experience within their field.”

Communications Department Chair Joe Rinehart said the practicum will help equip students for their future careers.

The practicum experience “will allow them to have something practical and real to put on their resume/portfolio,” Rinehart said.

While this year’s practicum is unique, the overall purpose is no different from previous sections that have been taught, Rinehart said.

“It’s simply a new type of project for our students. It will be challenging and will stretch them in different types of ways,” he said.

Past PR practicum sections also have focused on real-world professional projects. For example, one recent section, organized by business professor Ed Thomas, focused on a web research project linked with WNZR Radio.

In this revamped section, students will be pushed in their writing and presentation abilities and must drive themselves to improve their persuasion techniques, Waal said. It also allows for more practical applications in PR.

“This class gives a realistic outlet for students to take the concepts learned in previous courses and apply them to an important and realistic project,” said senior marketing and management major Joe Orihel.

For their final, students will work in groups with an MVNU admissions counselor to plan a dinner and discussion event for prospective students.

The communication and business departments will evaluate the overall success of the course and consider offering a similar practicum in the future.

“This section of PR practicum fits well with our collective mission to prepare our students for their future beyond MVNU. We hope that there can be an admissions-focused section every couple of years for PR practicum,” Rinehart said.

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