Jennie Donohue Brings Her 20+ Years of PR Experience to the Classroom
Jennie Donohue is a Senior Professional Lecturer of undergraduate Public Relations at Marist. She has been teaching for over a decade and worked in the industry for more than 20 years, both for clients and agencies. She has taught at many higher education institutions but credits Marist with the benefit of small class sizes that allow for close relationships with her students during their four years and after graduation.
What do you specialize in within the realm of PR?
That’s not an easy question to answer because I worked in pretty much all aspects of public relations. I always like to say that my background is everything from food to finance because on the corporate side I worked at Kellogg’s, but I also worked at Fidelity Investments. In terms of the various PR practice areas I’ve also done most of them, including issues management and crisis communication, I’ve done media relations, employee communications, community relations, and a lot of financial service related things. What we say in the industry is you’re either a generalist or a specialist, and I would fall into the generalist category because my background is so diverse.
What classes do you teach here at Marist?
It varies, but one of the courses that I usually teach on a regular basis is Communications Campaign Management, which is a senior level strategic communication planning class for PR students. We work with real clients, do research, and develop and present six-month public relations plans to those clients. That class is also classified as a Community Based Learning class.
What’s your favorite thing about teaching?
I like the opportunity to really get to know the students. That’s something you don’t necessarily get at a larger college or university. One of the many things that are exciting to me is to see a student come in as a freshman or sophomore and see them as they advance throughout their time here at Marist. It’s really exciting for me to see what they do after Marist as well, so I do stay in touch with a lot of our grads.
What advice do you have for incoming students thinking about studying public relations?
Well, first of all, it has nothing to do with what you see on TV or in movies. That’s a big misconception of the industry. I would recommend any student that’s interested in public relations to just get involved. We have so many opportunities on campus like the Public Relations Student Society of America, which is a pre-professional organization. We also have a student-run public relations agency, North Road Communications. Also, don’t overlook things that might not be directly related to PR, but will help you in the long run, like writing for the student newspaper. It is absolutely critical that you have hands-on, practical experience before you graduate.
Written by Shannon Donohue '17
Profile Tags:Profile Type: Faculty
Academic School: Communication and the Arts
Campus: New York