Saturday, December 20, 2008

Incognito Reporting...

Assignment was to write a profile about a professor ... but you weren't allowed to directly interview him. This is what I came up with.

"It’s every student’s dream to find themselves with an instructor that has accurately described. If the word “attractive” is the adjective of choice when used to describe a Richard Gere lookalike with silver-touched temples, Hawaiian print shirts and khaki slacks, then the ladies may have found a new reason to regularly attend class and it has absolutely nothing to do with course material or participation grades. But as any good student knows: dashing good looks mean absolutely nothing in the long run if the instructor is for lack of a better word, challenging. Whether the course proves to be difficult or a breeze depends on the student; but with an average final grade of 87 percent: odds are in the favor of the student. 
But while the ladies are busy moon’ing their way to asphyxiation, a daily dose of the latest in sports entertainment should be reason enough for the gentlemen to get up in the morning and drag their tired selves to class, if for no other reason than trivia, where a correct answer garners the winner with a dose of sugar in the form of the tart candy known as Smarties®. 
Gaschen explained that he once passed out the lollipop “Dum Dums®” but found via self fulfilling prophecy that students performed better with a placebo that insinuated their inner brilliance.
Dennis Gaschen, an instructor of Public Relations in the Communications Department at California State University, Fullerton, comes to his students with 30 years of professional experience and has coordinated more than 150 special events that range from workshops and seminars to black-tie galas and press conferences. If the students attend class for no other reason than picking up attendance and participation points and an occasional sweet treat for trivia, then at the very least, they can say they were instructed by someone that has been around the block once or twice. Accepting instructor criticisms can be difficult from a student that spent the better half of an all-night study session, especially when the average college student believes the best quality work develops under pressure. But as Gaschen is the former president of the Orange County chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, the 2004 recipient of OC/PRSA’s Distinguished Service Award and the 2007 CSUF Outstanding Professor as voted by the Alumni Association, his students would be wise to regard his opinion as one that matters. 
The key to keeping his students continually coming to class could be credited to his ability to relate to the students, especially when he admits that his college career began with a slightly bumpy start. In fact, the path to his success started off the way many first-time-away-from-home college experiences do: partying like it’s 1999 and taking the university’s “We don’t care if you show up or sleep in” attendance policy for face value. The end result was a GPA that combined with that of his roommates, only added up to 1.75. 
The real selling factor to are the rankings that distinguish the professor’s ease or difficulty in course material. While this rating is purely subjective, Gaschen reviews a timeline every class period that breaks down the aspects of creating a press kit into more manageable pieces that serve as drafts for the final piece, while other faculty members assign the project at the beginning of the semester and expect a polished and finished product at the end of the semester without much review. Classroom review sessions provide the student with extra practice on creating summary headlines, format for media alerts, pitch letters, news releases and newsletters serve as the foundation for creating documents to place into the student’s portfolio.
“This class will really prepare you for real PR work,” said Nicole Hullen, 23, Communications. “My first press kit is in my portfolio and even though I worked hard on it in class only to earn a B, I look at it now and realize how far I have come. He’s tough; he’ll kick your ass […] but it’s the closest thing to real public relations that you’ll get in a classroom.”

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