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Higher Ed Professor Corie Morell Martin

From Higher Ed Marketer to College Professor

College ClassroomI’m an unlikely college professor. I never planned to teach. In 2015, teaching college students felt like too much responsibility – to be in charge of imparting knowledge these young minds would use in their future career.

What if I steered them down the wrong path?
Did I really want to feel responsible for their professional success or worse, their failure?

Teaching also seemed like a drag. I had just spent three years in a classroom as a doctoral student – wasn’t it enough class time? As a higher ed marketer, I (did) support the Faculty. Should I do more? I was (and still am!) a practitioner, after all.

Fast forward four years and several I-told-you-so’s.

If you’ve ever taught anyone anything before, you understand that the joy is in the students who “get it”. The college students whose eyes are up all the time, engaged and inquisitive are those who later ask for references or life advice. They are the ones who later friend you on Facebook and keep you posted on their growth.

I still have much to learn, and many more students may cross my path. But, I have never been more in-tune to my “audience” thanks to the direct, weekly line of communication with them my classroom has become.

8 Higher Ed Marketing Lessons Learned from the Classroom

I still have much to learn, and many more students may cross my path. But, I have never been more in-tune to my “audience” thanks to the direct, weekly line of communication with them my classroom has become.

Here’s what I have learned from them:

  1. FacebookYes, they are still on Facebook.Pretty much all of them use Facebook daily. If you want proof, just check the “nag tags” – comments their proud grandmas leave on your dean’s list posts tagging their students’ accounts. (Also, never underestimate the power of a proud grandma.)
  2. They use Twitter the way we grown-ups use Facebook. To share funny memes, gifs and posts. They’re not too keen on you following them, either. Twitter is a fun place where they can let loose.
  3. They use the group chats. They use GroupMe, Messenger, Instagram messaging and some still use Snapchat to communicate with groups of their friends, classmates, even their families. They don’t post public messages for all to see as we do (see #1).
  4. They get a bad rap on screen time. They are portrayed in the media as being glued to their phones 24/7. Sure, they are connected, but they still value face time, email, and direct communication – in part because direct communication comforts them when they are facing challenges.
  5. They are not stylized. They appreciate beautiful, stylized Instagram feeds, but they know most portrayals are not real. They view more than they post, and they crave authenticity.
  6. They want need our help. They won’t come searching for us when they have a problem, because that is overwhelming. It is easier for them if we ask them directly how we can help them.
  7. They want our advice as professionals, and as adults. I have one class meeting every semester where I invite other professionals to join the class, during which the students can ask us anything. I have had them ask questions about everything from sexism in the workplace, work-life-balance, resume or interview advice, to asking me to explain how insurance benefits work, how much to charge for freelance jobs, and even how to handle their romantic relationships when they are looking for jobs after graduation.
  8. They have amazing ideas. We really should be paying more attention. I have seen the future social media marketers of the world, and the future looks strong.

More than anything, my experience as an unlikely professor has taught me to be a better listener, a better observer — and a better marketer. Observing student actions and interactions can help us all understand how to improve communication and what resonates with them the most.

If you ever have the opportunity to teach, embrace it!
Not ready to teach a college course yet? Try guest lecturing! I bet you will learn as much from your college students as they will from you – probably even more ;-).

Meet the Faculty: Dr. Corie Morell Martin

Higher Ed Experts is a professional online school for digital professionals working in universities and colleges.

When you take a professional certificate course with us, you get a chance to upgrade your skills by working on your projects, interacting with classmates just like you and getting detailed personalized feedback from your instructor.

Corie MartinA professional writer and communicator, Dr. Corie Morell Martin has served as the Director of Web Services and Digital Marketing for Western Kentucky University since 2008. Her career spans more than two decades in journalism, advertising, media relations, web services and marketing.

She is a professor of social media and advanced marketing for the Department of Marketing and the MBA Program at the WKU Gordon Ford College of Business. She holds a BA in Communication, an MA in Organizational Management, and an Ed.D. in Postsecondary Educational Leadership.

Dr Corie co-teaches with Sofia Tokar Higher Ed Expert’s 4-week online course on Web Writing for Higher Education, a course both also completed.

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