The Professor vs. the Practitioner: Why is there a Difference?

Classes have started for many of us. As we begin taking notes and listening to our professors, some may notice subtle differences between whatwe learn in the classroom, and what we experienced in the workplace. Does it matter? For years there has been an ongoing debate about what students in public relations are learning versus what is being practiced. It has caused so much discussion in fact that PRSA Tactics, The Strategist have written articles regarding the topic, and the Commission on Public Relations Education touched on the issue in its report. So it seems that the industry and the educators will soon meet together…right?

Earlier this summer I received news that communications lecturers at Northeastern University were to be let go because of a lack of a higher education degree. The newspaper noted the lecturers extensive professional careers in the fields, but because their academic background lacked a masters degree, their contracts will end in December.

We all learn that theory may not work in real-case scenarios, so why would university officials favor the degree over the experience?

Students, what are your opinions in regards to this? Would you rather have a practitioner or a professor with a masters degree teach you? Have you noticed something different? Something similar?

Chapter Advisors, professionals and practitioners, what have you noticed?

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