During my career at SPEA, I’ve worked as a Graduate Assistant (GA) in the Graduate Program Office (GPO). My current projects include one that I am very excited about—I have been working on a series of professional development workshops that the GPO offers free to masters students! The whole concept came from Dr. Mikesell, the Masters of Public Affairs Program Director. Dr. Mikesell wanted to offer professional development to our students that would be supplemental to SPEA’s coursework. The concept is now unfolding as SPEA’s “Public Affairs Workshop Series.”
The first workshop that I helped to arrange with Dr. Mikesell was presented by Professor Beth Wood from Indiana University’s School of Journalism on the topic, “Public Relations for Public Affairs Professionals.” Professor Wood gave students the top ten tips for public relations that are important for public affairs professionals. About thirty masters students attended the workshop and their feedback was incredibly positive!
We’re planning two more workshops for March and April, respectively. The first will cover how to give an effective presentation. This will address pubic speaking tips, presentation organization, engaging audiences, and incorporating presentation technologies—all topics that will help students with scholarly presentations, but more importantly, will offer them a chance to improve skills that will help in their professional lives, as well.
The final workshop of the semester is currently in the works and we’re hoping this one will be especially entertaining as well as educational. The topic: an instructional etiquette dinner to be catered and held in the historic Indiana Memorial Union! We are planning for the evening to include logistical etiquette training, tips for socializing professionally (networking), and guidance in cultural sensitivity for social events. This type of training is particularly important for public affairs professionals who may find themselves at a barbeque networking with diplomats or across the table from the president at a state dinner!
As the planning for these workshops continues, I’ll keep you posted!