Jennifer Scott, PhD, a clinical assistant professor for PR and corporate communication within the NYU SPS Division of Programs in Business, is helping to provide tomorrow’s public relations professionals with the latest skills and tools needed to tackle the communications challenges of the future. Previously, Professor Scott was managing director for thought leadership at Ogilvy, where she helped organizations, corporations, and governments to engage audiences with compelling communications, tuned in to broader social, business, and cultural dynamics. Before joining Ogilvy, she was president of Edelman Intelligence. Over the past 25 years, she has used intelligence-driven communications to build and strengthen reputations, manage crisis response, build brands, advocate for public policy initiatives, and inspire behavior change.
Jennifer Scott, Clinical Assistant Professor, Public Relations and Corporate Communication, Discusses Recent Successes of the Division of Programs in Business PRCC Program
What is the current state of the PR profession?
The pandemic has been disruptive of everything—including PR—and that disruption has given us permission to take a fresh look at our profession and act to transform it to meet the demands of today. The profession is in flux, changing significantly based on the impact of social media, technology, and the public’s expectations of corporations in terms of social activism. PR professionals have tended to focus on the needs of our clients, without also looking critically at whether those needs resonate with broader social expectations. Today our profession needs to take a more holistic perspective, so we can guide our clients more strategically in terms of their place in the world.
What are some of the initiatives you are working on?
I am very excited about a collaboration with PRWeek, where we are fielding a survey in the Spring to look at the attitudes of the next generation of national and international PR professionals and students (ages between 20-29). We want to be able to predict early trends shaping the industry and to understand what this generation represents so that we can develop insights into the future of PR. We also want to use our learnings to enrich the Public Relations and Corporate Communication (PRCC) program, keeping it fresh and contemporary.
What are some of the questions you hope to address with the survey?
The survey questions include asking young PR professionals and students how ethical they think their own profession is today; whether they believe it is well-respected; and, how well they think the profession is doing in terms of promoting women and minorities to senior positions. We will also ask them what they want to change about how we work and the practice of PR.
What are you most proud of?
We are continually working to enhance the reputation of the PRCC graduate degree through new course offerings that focus on helping PR professionals adapt to the impact of social media and technology, and on cultivating executive skills in future leaders, especially women and minorities. We are delighted that the PRCC program was just named to the 2022 PRNews Education A-List; and earlier this year we were awarded the Outstanding Education Program of 2021 by PRWeek.