Programme Leader, MA in Public Relations, De Montfort University, Leicester
MA in Mass Communications, University of Leicester. I was recently awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and am currently working towards my PhD.
I’ve been at De Montfort University for two years and set up our MA in Public Relations.
A journalist before moving into PR (for publishers Oxford University Press), I subsequently spent six years in corporate communications roles with Royal Mail and then swapped to the agency side, working in senior consultancy positions in the UK and Iceland.
Don’t be afraid to academically challenge your students, but ensure that you give them the tools that aid understanding and help them work effectively. Be prepared to spend time with students beyond formal teaching – one-to-one tutorials can really make a difference.
PR and gender; how people working in media occupations use social media technologies.
Interests outside work:
I lived in a ski resort for three years where I could snowboard every day; now I’m back in the UK I get my kicks from fell running and road cycling instead.
I spend far too much time travelling round Europe with my husband where we climb, walk, buy wine and fail to send any postcards to our relatives. When I am forced inside I read, listen to Radio 4 and mess around on the Internet in the interest of research (honest).
Why did you become a lecturer?
In 1999 I was invited to present a careers lecture at Loughborough University, loved it, and wanted to do more. Consequently, I became increasingly involved in PR coaching and training and ultimately chose an academic career because I was – and still am – motivated by constantly learning, understanding and applying knowledge.
What do you most like / dislike about your current role?
Dislike? Nothing, although I wish the University was closer to the railway station – it’s a long walk in the rain. Like? Every day here is different and I have some great students and colleagues who can make me laugh, think, explore new ideas and surprise me with what they do and say.
What is your proudest achievement?
When I achieve something I always think that if I could do it, it couldn’t have been that hard – as a result, I’m always looking to the next challenge.
What is your greatest disappointment?
Every Wednesday at running club when I can’t keep up with the fastest men!
How has public relations changed during your lifetime?
While working at Oxford University Press a colleague took sick leave after being accused of splitting an infinitive in some brochure copy – I don’t think that would happen now. However, in those days PR practice tended to lack rigour and took a ‘one size fits all’ approach. There is now a greater appreciation of the underlying theories, issues and problems behind the practice of PR.
How do you envisage it developing in the future?
I hope that the developments in PR education and professionalism will result in practitioners being seen as advisors rather than tactical paid helps (which still happens!). The industry’s future is in the hands of today’s new practitioners – if they understand the wider contexts in which PR is practiced and appreciate the ethical issues involved, the industry will develop. If not …