PIC Summer Institute About

About the PIC Summer Institute

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 better position them to effect positive social change in the world.

Few institutions offer public interest communications courses; we aim to change that. To build the emerging academic field of public interest communications, we worked with faculty from institutions around the country to organize a Public Interest Communications Summer Institute at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on June 22-24, 2022.

About 100 faculty, researchers, graduate students and practitioners met in-person and online to learn, share and collaborate in defining and building the field. Attendees came from across the country, including Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida, Oregon, Missouri, Michigan, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Washington state, Wisconsin, Kentucky, New York and Washington D.C. Online attendees hailed from as far away as Argentina, Germany and Ghana.

Through hands-on workshops, roundtable discussions and presentations by leaders in the field, attendees worked together to better understand and define the field for research and pedagogy. The group identified the skills students need to succeed in the field and explored ways to connect community to classroom and researchers to practitioners. We also workshopped syllabi and shared resources. Most important, we established a foundation on which we will continue to grow.

The event was planned 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.

Logistical, financial and technical support was provided by University of Florida faculty and staff from the College of Journalism and Communications (CJC), the CJC online graduate program, the CJC’s Center for Public Interest Communications and the CJC Public Relations Department. The college thanks Betsy Karel as well for her generous support of this event and of public interest communications education and practice.

See the program here.