North Carolina Central University’s Department of Mass Communication has joined forces with PAN Communications, a leading integrated marketing and public relations firm, to encourage career development and diversify employment opportunities for mass communication students.
The PAN Portal Network began at Syracuse University in 2016 to align with PAN president and CEO Philip A. Nardone Jr.’s role as an adjunct professor at his alma mater. NCCU joins the portal with three other schools: North Carolina A&T State University, Elon University and Syracuse University.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the students in our public relations concentration,” said department chair Calvin Hall, Ph.D. “It will supplement the high-quality classroom instruction they receive with top-notch professional mentorship.”
The goal of the program is to offer tangible advice and resume support before graduation, assist students in job searches in the virtual world, and educate students about the variety of opportunities that exist in a communications career.
Students participating in the PAN Portal Network are graduating seniors in the communications programs of each college or university. The students and PAN mentors interact via videoconference on each school’s designated PAN Portal Days that will take place taking place between Sept. 29 and Nov. 5, 2020. The program will involve more than 150 students this fall semester, with additional students participating in the spring.
The Department of Mass Communication added the public relations concentration to its degree offerings in 2015.
“It’s a testament to the growing reputation of our department’s relatively new public relations concentration that we have been invited to participate in this program,” Hall said. “It will not only shape careers for our students, but also will help to provide a positive influence on the direction of the public relations field in the area of diversity.”
Nardone will also lead a three-part guest lecture series on topics including critical issues facing the public relations industry, how to grow and excel your career and the three main facets of an agency: client relations, business development and people management.
“Teaching and mentoring these students through the PAN Portal has been a passion of mine since I became an adjunct professor several years ago,” Nardone said. “However, expanding our network and my guest lecture series to help further diversity and equity initiatives across the industry this year is something that I’m incredibly proud to lead. I have as much to learn from these students as they do from me, and I believe that this updated curriculum and our partnerships with History Black Colleges and Universities is the first step toward change.”
NCCU’s award-winning Department of Mass Communication has more than 250 students enrolled. The department soared past other colleges and universities at the Southern Regional Press Institute (SRPI) competition in Savannah, Ga. bringing home numerous awards. The student newspaper, The Campus Echo, was recognized during the 2019 North Carolina College Media Association Conference.