New (Academic) Year, New (Academic) Job

Hello there, and happy new academic year to my friends in higher education!

Just a quick update: I have moved from Beaumont to Austin, and I am now working at the University of Texas at Austin.

Connect with me on LinkedIn:

Check it out: Lamar PRSSA is doing a fundraiser

Friends, I am the academic advisor for Lamar PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America).

My chapter is doing this virtual fundraiser with See’s Candies. With this fundraiser, you order online and the goods will be shipped directly to you. No fuss, no muss, no trudging to Beaumont, Texas, to come get your orders. Consider buying some chocolates for yourself, your loved ones, and your friends. Hell, buy a sweet treat for your archnemesis and other assorted enemies.

Just support my great student chapter and buy something.

Your money will support a small but mighty chapter of great students who are aspiring communications professionals.

#shamelssplug #PRSSA

Leadership with Equity Lens

Somehow, I managed to double-book myself and schedule two webinar presentations at the same time. Since I will be on the CUNA DEI webinar with credit union communication practitioners, I will miss the 2020 PRSA Educators Leadership Panel with Dr. Bey-Ling Sha (California State, Fullerton), Dr. Maria Elena Villar (Florida International University), and Dr. Vanessa Bravo (Elon University). (Can I just say that I work with some amazing people in academia? #academicfangirlmoment)

Here is the focus of the panel:

“Racism permeates the academy. Full stop. From that one “old-school” professor who always says the wrong thing, to the classroom policies that favor the traditionally privileged student, to the “merit-based” criteria for faculty tenure and promotion, to the unspoken expectations by which leaders are judged — all of us involved in the mission of higher education have the opportunity to fight for racial justice. This war has only intensified in 2020, with mainstreamed public consciousness of violence perpetrated by police against Black Americans, COVID-19 fears casting Asian Americans again as “the yellow peril,” and unrelenting stereotypes of Latinx Americans as “illegals.” Panel members will share their experiences in higher education leadership, suggest concrete tools for this fight, and offer specific strategies for deploying these tools. Panelists represent public and private universities, large and small, geographically dispersed, with different compositions of students.”

I am sending remarks. Some of the remarks and my citations are here:

About finding allies: Yosso (2006) in her very important work on community cultural capital calls this navigational capital or the skills needed to maneuver through social institutions. If you are working on issues of DEI or JEDI, you must have a method of resilience to operate int he organization. I draw on my social networks to get inspiration, help, and collaboration. You never know who has your back until you start speaking out and speaking up. Cultivate your relationships across campus. Find people at all levels of the organization who understand the issues and can champion the work you are doing.

About self-care for DEI campus activists: “Self-care, whether through mindfulness practices or another approach, is critical to the sustainability of educational justice movements” (Gorski, 2015). This isn’t about bubble baths and spa days. You have to rest. I follow The Nap Ministry on Instagram and Twitter. [Its tag line is “Rest as Resistance.” Those three words are a sermonette.] It is a daily reminder to practice rest and restoring one’s self to balance. You cannot go to battle these issues everyday if you don’t have the mental, ethical, and moral strength. It is easy to become a martyr. I have done that. It’s not worth the burn out. Take your time to acknowledge your feelings, seek out support, step back and allow others to do some of the work. Harming myself isn’t going to help the cause.

Thinking beyond the equity lens: You cannot think about equity without thinking about justice and accessibility as well as thinking about the institutionalized racism that exists. Jones (2000) in a beautifully written essay on the levels of racism wrote, that “institutionalized racism is the most fundamental of the 3 levels and must be addressed for important change to occur.” Using the metaphor of a garden, Jones notes that the “gardener is the one with the power to decide, the power to act, and the control over the resources.” If you aren’t looking at the gardners in your research and are instead focusing on feel-good measures like award programs and adding people of color to the website, then you are missing the point.

Enjoy the panel discussion. Tag me on Twitter so I can follow the conversation after the fact!

Thoughts about DEI, PR, and organizations

I have had the pleasure of giving several diversity, equity, and inclusion workshops since June 2020. Here are some of the key thoughts I have had based on my presentation and the questions asked.

The public relations function serves as the boundary spanner between the organization and its publics. It goes without saying that PR folks keep the pulse of what is happening in the environment and between its stakeholders. Communication creates reality; it builts organizational culture and contrbutes to healthy organizational climate. We are positioned to be at the forefront of these DEI conversations.

DEI is not just an issue for human resources. Every function should be responsible and concerned. Every function plays a part.

We have to think beyond diversity. It’s important to consider equity, inclusion, access, and justice.

Too often, when thinking about diversity initiatives, we think in terms of tactics. We want to jump right in to the tangible solutions we see others doing without thinking about whether or not those will work for our brand or organization. As my grandmother who say when making dresses for me, “Measure three times. Cut once.” Every effort we do in organizations requires measurement — research before, during, and after implementation. I cued up a great quotation to plug this point: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” (I believe this is from Sun Tzu. I might be wrong. Whoever said it is spot on.)

Another thing we have to consider is whatever works for one person may not work for another. Every organization has to work based on its own speed, stretch, and distance. Some organizations can deploy within days. Some has bureaucracy that takes a bit more of a push and time to get the momentum going. Some organizations have pursued this for awhile. Others are just reading the tea leaves and getting started.

Organizations have to go at the appropriate pace, but that does not mean dragging its collective feet in an effort to avoid the doing.

You have to communicate what you are doing. You can’t just meet in silence or move in silence. Let the organization’s stakeholders know what is happening.

If you’re going to communicate, you need to have some results. Plans are great. But people want to see and know that the plan has movement. Actions trump words. Walk the talk.

You can see more of my thoughts from the presentation I did for Ragan and will give again for CUNA.

Goal, Objectives, Strategies and Tactics

From the APR Study Guide:


Goals are longer-term, broad, global and future statements of “being.” Goals may include how an organization is uniquely distinguished in the minds of its key publics.

Example: To become the recognized leader in our industry and foster continuing public support.


Publics are groups of people tied together by some common element. Before starting to plan, public relations practitioners need to clearly define groups with which an organization needs to foster mutually beneficial relationships. Objectives need to say which public a public relations strategy is designed to reach.


(from this IPR whitepaper) Management guru Peter F. Drucker said, “Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.”

Objectives focus on a shorter term than goals. Objectives are written after research on all publics is done. Objectives (1) define WHAT opinion, attitude or behavior you want to achieve from specific publics, (2) specify how much change you want to achieve from each public, and (3) tell by when you want to achieve that change. Objectives should be SMART:
• Specific (both action to be taken and public involved)
• Measurable
• Achievable
• Realistic (or relevant or results (outcome) oriented)
• Time-specific

Objectives establish standards for assessing the success of your public relations efforts. Objectives come
in three general types:
• Output objectives measure activities, e.g., issue 10 news releases during the month or post three tweets per day. Outputs can help monitor your work but have no direct value in measuring the effectiveness of a campaign. The Barcelona Principles discourage the use of output objectives.
• Process objectives call for you to “inform” or “educate” publics.
• Outcome objectives specify changes in awareness, opinions, behavior or support. (For example, “Increase downloads of our product coupon by 25 percent from October levels by Dec. 31.”) Outcome objectives require high-level strategic thinking. You must determine, for instance, which changes would be consistent with organizational goals and demonstrate public relations effectiveness to management. (For example, a fundraising objective may be more appropriate for a nonprofit organization’s annual gala than an attendance or awareness objective.
The group’s board is likely most concerned about raising money.) “Differentiate between measuring public relations ‘outputs,’ generally short-term and surface (e.g., amount of news coverage, number of blog posts) and measuring public relations ‘outcomes,’ usually more farreaching and carrying greater impact (changing awareness, attitudes and even behavior)” (Seitel,2001, 145).

(from PR Couture) Tips for writing PR objectives

  • Start with an action verb – words like increase, reduce, improve, maintain work well
  • If you are using “by” you are writing a strategy, not an objective. Try again.

Are these good or bad objectives?

  • To help humankind
  • To add $1,000,000 in PR-attributable sales in the new year
  • To secure 15 blog posts on UK-based style blogs within 2 months (via PR Couture)
  • Raise awareness of “cleaning power” among women 25-34 from 20% last year to 50% this year.
  • Create an understanding of insurance pricing models by the end of the campaign in November.
  • By the end of the year, convince 10% of customers that bank fees are an acceptable charge.
  • To raise awareness for the Foundation’s signature fundraising weekend through earned media placements and social media activation in order to drive event ticket sales, increase total amount raised for children’s charities and increase awareness for the Foundation’s overall mission


Strategies provide the roadmap to your objectives. (Communication strategies target publics for change. Action strategies focus on organizations’ internal changes.)
• Strategies describe HOW to reach your objectives.
• Strategies include “enlist community influentials to …,” “accelerate involvement with …,” “position the company as …” or “establish strategic partnerships with … .”

Broom and Sha define strategies as “the overall concept, approach, or general plan for the program designed to achieve an objective.”

Strategies connect objectives to tactics, or “the events, media, and methods used to implement the strategy.”

From PR Couture (again):

Tips for writing PR strategies

  • Use action verbs like Develop, Create, Promote, Target, etc
  • Did you just write Develop a look book to….. sorry kitten, strategies do not include the “to” phrase. The “to” in this case is to meet the stated objective. The stinker.
  • Also omit your tendancy to use “by” – as in “Promote my brand by developing a look book to – that look book you are all amped about? That, my friend is a tactic. What you DO with that look book is your strategy.

Example:  Promote Lottie Lingerie through personalized pitches to 50 UK-based style bloggers


Tactics are specific elements of a strategy or tools for accomplishing a strategy.
• Examples include meetings, publications, product tie-ins, community events, news releases, online
information dissemination and social networks.
• Activities are details of tactics: six meetings, four publications, three blog posts and one tweet per
day. Activities have dates, indicate who is in charge and tell what attendance or outcome is expected.

Media Releases for Today’s Assignment

Group 1:

Frank’s® RedHot® Invites Everyone to Join Live Spin the Bottle Game on Sunday, February 2nd

Group 2:

adidas And Beyoncé Launch The adidas x IVY PARK Collection: 

Group 3:

NAFSA: Coronavirus Travel Ban Impacts International Education

Group 4:

The Princeton Review Has Released Its “Best Value Colleges” List and Rankings for 2020

Group 5:

Move Over Cupid, Baskin-Robbins is Stealing Hearts this Month

Group 6:

Study: Singles Are Over The Pressure Of Valentine’s Day, Say It Should Be #Canceled

Group 7:

Censorship on Coronavirus Imperils Public Safety, States Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

Group 8:

To-Dos for Desktop Publishing


We’ve made significant progress. But we still have some things to do for your client and in this class.

Side note: I saw Dr. Evans (the university president) last night. He mentioned your class project and what you were doing to help the Recruitment/Admission area, and he is excited to see what you have done.Let that be your motivation for the remainder of the class.

To-Do #1

If you have not submitted your empathy map, please do so immediately. Send it to

To-Do #2

Now that you have the persona, layer on secondary research about that public/target audience. Pull at least 10 key facts about your group from the resources below. (These are places to start. Look widely in the databases available at Lamar and online via Google Scholar.)

To-Do #3:

Next, you will need to work on page 3 of the handout that I gave you Tuesday. Work on the message and elevator pitch. Now that you know what you know about people who are at LU, what can/should we tell freshmen from your target audience about Lamar?

Regarding your messaging, it does not have to be perfect.

To-Do #4:

Type up the data from the handout and your key facts. Send to me by the start of Tuesday’s class.