World in his hand: Juan-Carlos Molleda bringa a global perspective to this course and the college. (Photo by David Zentz)
Course: PUR 4404 International Public Relations
Teacher: Asst. Prof. Juan-Carlos Molleda
Around the world in a semester
What does International Public Relations teach that students can’t learn in other courses?
This is a profession that is growing in importance and size all over the world and, still, there is so much information that has not been systematized in any way. What I bring to the class is new perspective and information on new developments and new institutions such as the Global Alliance for Public Relations.
What do you aim to accomplish with this course?
Students must know the law and understand that all implications directly and indirectly impact public relations. This is an evolving class. Each syllabus is different. There are common elements and some of the objectives are similar but the content has been different every semester. We have new Web sites and new leaders. We use speakers and teleconferences. I have developed a very broad network of international experts, here and overseas, such as Jean Valin, GAPR chairman, and Colin Farrington, director general for the Institution for Public Relations. We have 10 groups and 10 different topics. I take advantage of every opportunity I have to bring people with different perspectives to the class.
How difficult is the course and how much work does it require?
This is a demanding class. It requires being open minded, being attentive, a lot of readings, enthusiasm, and interest. It requires that students are not just thinking “an exam is going to come and this is the material that we have to read.” I am pushing them a little bit further. I want them to keep looking for information. The class is interactive and the students have to have a lot of interest.
How do you structure the course and what kind of assignments do you give?
I have two exams and a multiple-choice final, and I give study guides because there is a lot of material. I try to incorporate questions from the speakers, the extra reading, the handouts, the group presentation and the formal readings for the class. I ask them to do individual assignments to force them to seek out information, such as go to a Web site of one global PR firm and critique or analyze what is unique about the firm. Then they have group assignments and they have to present the information in a unique way. So, we have three individual assignments, and a group project that includes an oral presentation and a 10-page paper. The class also includes an optional field trip. We’ve traveled to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Uruguay.
What is your teaching style?
Structured. I prepare myself really well for the class. I work in advance so I am constantly reminding my students what is ahead. I combine formality and informality. I joke with my students, greet them with enthusiasm, and share with them part of my life experiences. But then after I make them laugh or even make fun of myself with my accent I say, “Okay, now listen to me.” I also like to show them a professional look. I like to dress well to show them that you need to be professional and you need to behave professionally.
How has this course changed over the years?
I have become more knowledgeable and familiar. I have been receiving so much information that I feel I have more to say. I have been more selective in the type of material that I include.
Does this course require a great deal of reading?
Last semester I required a book, but this semester I decided to organize a packet because there were new things that the book didn’t include and I wanted to add more diversified materials. Sometimes, since I am publishing more, I use some of my material. I remind [students] to constantly read the material because it is too much to read at the end.