Name: Dr. Chris McCollough
Current position: Assistant Professor of Communication, Columbus State University. I currently supervise all curriculum and teaching responsibilities for our public relations curriculum, as well as advise our University’s PRSSA Chapter, now in its 3rd year.
How long in current position: 4 years
First PR job: Pro Bono PR Consultant for the Young Democrats at my alma mater, Virginia Tech University. I was taking my first PR writing course, and the final project included performing pro bono work for a local community or University organization. I spent most of the semester helping them with recruiting, messaging, and organizational promotion
Where you attended college: B.A. in Communication, Virginia Tech University; M.A. in Communication, Virginia Tech University; Ph.D. in Mass Media and Public Affairs, Louisiana State University
If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be.., I would probably still be doing a lot of work in the nonprofit or public sector. Civic engagement was a bug I caught at a very young age growing up, and so I always thought I would make my way back to helping serve the community. I am happy to say my teaching and research both allow me to satisfy that interest here in my own community and in the discipline.
What is your passion? Teaching and mentoring is something I probably enjoy more than anything else I do. Watching an aspiring practitioner grow into a professional is a joy every fall and spring.
Proudest professional accomplishment: Honestly, I think it was probably watching my student teams present their competitive pitches this past fall in my PR Campaigns class. I have spent the past couple of years moving my teaching approach to more professionally-centered dynamics, and the competitive bid is one element we don’t always get the best opportunity to teach in the classroom. So, I had the pleasure of watching 6 teams of students work in head-to-head competition for three local clients for 3 winning bids.
Why are you a PRSA member? It makes me a better teacher, because I see and hear what my colleagues in the discipline are talking about and dealing with in the workplace. It makes me a better professional for the nonprofit organizations I provide pro bono counsel to because I can stay up to speed with the issues that nonprofit practitioners face every day. Finally, it will soon allow me to pursue formal accreditation, which will only enhance my credibility with my students and peers in the region.
Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,300 members. To join PRSA, visit prsa.org.