Public Interest Communications
Summer Institute

Join us for the Public Interest Communications Summer Institute
for public interest scholars and practitioners!

June 22-24, 2022 | Howard University | Washington, D.C.

Click here to view the program.

This is a masked event. Please wear a mask if you are attending in person.

About the Summer Institute

WHAT

An opportunity to learn, share and collaborate in defining and building the emerging academic field of public interest communications (PIC) – research-based strategic communications designed to effect positive social change. Sit down with colleagues from journalism, public relations, strategic communications and other fields as we grow this diverse, inclusive and accessible field together.

Through hands-on workshops, round-table discussions and presentations by leaders in the field, we’ll collaboratively work to better understand and define the field for research and pedagogy. The institute will result in practical outcomes, as we’ll create syllabi and class frameworks, define standards and courses for undergraduate and graduate-level PIC curricula, share research, build connections and more.

 

WHY

Public interest communications is needed now more than ever, and university programs are looking for ways to innovate in these unprecedented times. Equipping a new generation of students representing an array of cultures and voices with public interest communications and research skills will allow them to effect positive social change in the world.

WHO

Scholars, practitioners and others who study and inform the field. Whether you’re just curious about public interest communications or have taught or done research in the area, this institute is for you!

WHAT YOU’LL LEAVE WITH

Syllabi tailored for you. Course materials. Innovative research ideas. New friends and collaborators. Great memories of your trip to Washington, D.C.

Logistics

WHERE

The Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

An online option will also be available. 

WHEN

June 22-24, 2022

HOW MUCH

This event is free to attendees.

MASKING

This is a masked event. Please wear a mask if you are attending in person.

HOTEL

We have secured a block of rooms at the Cambria Hotel Washington DC Convention Center, 899 O St. NW, for the nights of June 22 and 23, with checkout on June 24. The hotel is about a mile from Howard University, where the institute will be held.

Use this link to book your room. The special room rate for attendees is $269 a night. Breakfast is included. If you would like to extend your stay before or after the event, book your room through the link provided and then email the Director of Sales to extend your stay: Renard.Roots@concordhotels.com.

Book now before the block fills up!

All times are in Eastern time.

Wednesday, June 22 
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.Welcome reception and casual dinner (meet and greet)
Location: the Cambria Hotel at 899 O St. NW

Attending virtually? Bring chocolate or cheese (or an alternative snack if you have food allergies) to share (virtually) with others. Facilitators are Ellen Nodine, director of training and programs at the University of Florida’s Center for Public Interest Communications, and Natalie Asorey, a lecturer in the Department of Public Relations at the University of Florida.
Thursday, June 23
Location:All programming will be at the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library, located on the Howard University campus at 501 W St NW.
8:30 a.m.Coffee and breakfast snacks
9 - 9:20 a.m. Welcome

Opening remarks from Dr. Monica Ponder, assistant professor of health communication in the Department of Communication, Culture & Media Studies at Howard University; and Hub Brown, dean of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.
9:20 - 11:50 a.m.Guided and Group Explorations: What is public interest communications?

What is public interest communications? What are key frameworks? Whose voices are missing from the field? We’ll explore these questions in an all-hands convening and in smaller groups. We’ll capture our ideas in a Wiki that will grow throughout the event and continue to serve as a resource well after the institute ends.

Our guides through the discussion will be Erin Hart – chief innovation officer at Spitfire, University of Oregon instructor in public interest communications and University of New Hampshire instructor in strategies for policy impact – and Necole Norris, vice president at Spitfire and Howard University alum.
12 - 1 p.m.Lunch - Interview your neighbor, then share with your
tablemates what you learned about your neighbor’s superpowers


For those online, take a screen break or get some lunch and connect informally with fellow online attendees.
1:15 - 2:15 p.m.Group Explorations - What skills?

We’ll break into groups to explore these questions: What does the public interest communications field need that universities and colleges should address? What kind of skills do practitioners seek in graduates?
2:30 - 4:15 p.m.Group Explorations - Curriculum development

What does a robust public interest communications curriculum look like? How can you weave public interest communications into your journalism, public relations, marketing or other syllabi? And, bigger picture, how can we prepare public interest communications students for careers in the field in ways that are responsive to the needs of both practitioners and the most pressing issues of our time? Whether you want to leave with a syllabus in hand or just want to gather ideas, you’ll get a lot of out of these conversations. Building on the morning’s conversations around what public interest communications needs as a field, we’ll gather in groups, bringing together instructors, researchers and practitioners to begin to generate a collection of key tools for a robust public interest communications curriculum. From instructors, we’ll crowdsource syllabi, lessons, activities, assignments and other resources. Practitioners are encouraged to contribute articles, guidebooks, tools or other resources they have found helpful in their work.

Our curriculum development workshops guides will include:
Dr. Jack Barry, post-doctoral research associate, University of Florida’s Center for Public Interest Communications
Angela Bradbery, Frank Karel Endowed Chair in Public Interest Communications, University of Florida
Dr. Kelly Chernin, assistant professor at Appalachian State University and former manager of the Journal of Public Interest Communications
Erin Hart, chief innovation officer at Spitfire, University of Oregon instructor in public interest communications and University of New Hampshire instructor in strategies for policy impact
Dr. Myiah Hutchens, chair and associate professor, Department of Public Relations, University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications
Sara Isaac, principal and director of strategy and planning at Marketing for Change and adjunct lecturer at George Washington University
Annie Niemand, director of research, the University of Florida’s Center for Public Interest Communications
Ann Searight Christiano, director, the University of Florida’s Center for Public Interest Communications
Sam Snyder, adjunct professor of public interest communications in the University of Florida online master’s program; campaign director with True Blue Strategies.
4:30 - 5:30 p.m.Guided exploration – Innovation and insights: Case studies from the field

Hear from peers who are building the academic field of public interest communications in unique and exciting ways. Our pioneering panelists will share experiences, lessons learned, and moments of insight that are shaping progress and programs around the country.

Our guides through this discussion will be:
Dr. Julia Fraustino, assistant professor of strategic communication at the West Virginia University and founding director of the school’s Public Interest Communication Research Lab;
Dr. Kelly Chernin, assistant professor at Appalachian State University and former manager of the Journal of Public Interest Communications;
Dr. Evan Kropp, director of the online graduate program at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, which offers a public interest communications concentration.
5:30 - 7 p.m.Relax and prepare for dinner
7 - 9 p.m.Dinner and keynote
Location: the Cambria Hotel at 899 O St. NW

Ann Searight Christiano, director of the University of Florida’s Center for Public Interest Communications

Friday, June 24
Location:All programming will be at the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library, located on the Howard University campus at 501 W St NW.
8:30 a.m.Coffee and breakfast snacks
9 - 9:50 a.m.Guided Exploration: Connecting classroom to community

How can we connect the classroom to the community to have a larger impact? In this all-attendee session, we’ll hear from those who have built bridges between the classroom and the community. We’ll crowdsource how-to ideas from academics and practitioners alike.

Our guides through this discussion will be:
Gina Baleria, assistant professor of journalism, media writing, radio and podcasting, and digital media at Sonoma State University, and the host and producer of the News in Context podcast.
Andrew Opel, professor at the College of Communication & Information at Florida State University
Karen Su, digital content manager and director of the Frank Karel Fellowship Program at Burness
10 - 10:50 a.m.Guided Exploration: Public interest communications in your institution - making the case

So you want to build a public interest communications program at your institution. Now what? We’ll offer tips on explaining public interest communications to your administration and how public interest communication skills will help students succeed after they graduate. We’ll also explore the key role practitioners can play in convincing their local universities or alma maters that public interest communications is a field they need to dive into.

Our guides through this discussion will be:
Hub Brown, dean of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications
Andrea Otanez, associate teaching professor and associate director of the Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington
Natalie Tindall, director of the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin
11 - 11:50 a.m.Guided Exploration: Bridging the research-practitioner divide

Research is critical to practice. But busy practitioners often have trouble finding and sorting through the latest insights to uncover those relevant to their work. In this session, researchers and practitioners will come together to brainstorm ways to bridge the gap so relevant research can be more quickly applied in the field. What do researchers wish practitioners understood about their work – and vice versa? Can we find new ways to increase the flow of information from academia to the field – and vice versa? Join us for an energetic and open-ended conversation that will set a foundation for broader use of research in our growing field.

Our guides through this discussion will be:
Sara Isaac, principal and director of strategy and planning at Marketing for Change and adjunct lecturer at George Washington University
Tyler Lewis, managing director of communications at Third Sector
Nader Dagher, doctoral student at the University of Florida focusing on public interest communications; former director of communications and public relations at Birzeit University and the A.M. Qattan Foundation; former public information officer at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency
12 - 1 p.m.Lunch: Making connections and carrying the work forward

We have a wealth of fabulous ideas now, thanks to all of our conversations. Where do we go from here? This conversation over lunch will be led by the summer institute organizers.
1 p.m.Goodbye and thank you!

Questions?

Please contact Angela Bradbery, abradbery@jou.ufl.edu, Andrea Otáñez, aotanez@uw.edu or Gina Baleria, baleria@sonoma.edu.

Event organized by faculty and researchers from Appalachian State University, Howard University, Sonoma State University, the University of Houston, the University of Florida, University of Massachusetts Boston, the University of Minnesota, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Washington, and West Virginia University. 

Sponsors

Thank you to Betsy Karel for her generous support of this event and of public interest communications education and practice.