Faculty Profile: Meet Bob O'Gara, Professor of Advertising and Public Relations Thursday, January 22, 2015
Bob O'Gara, professor of public relations and advertising, received his M.A. in liberal studies from Duquesne University and a B.S. in public relations from Utica College. His teaching style blends extensive real-world experience with the best of contemporary theory spiced generously with informal professional insights and humor.
In what ways do you incorporate your real-world experience into the classroom?
The way I teach both advertising and public relations is to explain a lot of history, theory and application and quickly evolve into integrated communications and strategy. I take everything that I teach from a theoretical standpoint and put it into actual case histories and practice. If I'm teaching the advertising strategy, I'm also making that strategy come alive by talking about advertising and public relations campaigns that are working in our consumer world or campaigns that might have flopped. Very quickly we put the students to work doing real-world campaigns.
What courses do you teach?
- Public Relations
- Marketing Communications
- Environmental Communications
Describe your teaching style.
I tend to be fairly open and relaxed, yet every class I go into I have a very rigid discipline of what I need to cover, what I want to cover and what the students need in order to learn and succeed. I've been in this business long enough that I don't lecture from a standpoint of reading everything to them. Every classroom has a smart podium in it so I can access the Internet to bring up case histories and live examples. I also share examples of how social media is impacting the world of commercial communications. We are very good at challenging students and building their professional futures.
What inspires you the most in the classroom?
What inspires me the most is to see a group of students who come in their first year and basically have all of the questions in the world about advertising and public relations. To see those students progress through their four years here and produce professional campaigns in their senior year is incredible. Their work meets the standards of the industry.
What is one message you try to convey to your students?
The world changes rapidly with respect to what they are going to do. The basic principles and skills remain, but we still have to communicate in our society and engage in dialogue with our major publics in a very challenging and dynamic media world.
What makes Point Park's public relations and advertising program unique?
We are integrated into a community of professionals where our students want to work and we teach from a philosophy of integration and convergence. Our faculty are accomplished and grounded in professional success.
Why do you like teaching at Point Park?
Point Park has a nice culture. We tend to have a student mix here that doesn't come from one common denominator. We have students from very diverse backgrounds and students who want to test drive themselves and get into a professional world. Our faculty are dedicated to students and are true pathfinders to student success.