Having Chicago’s resources nearby helps Trinity professors incorporate experiential learning into their course work. Darren Zancan, assistant professor of communication arts, uses Trinity’s proximity to Chicago to give students in his public relations course the opportunity to connect with professionals in the area.
Zancan often asks himself, “What do my students really need to be prepared for the next step in their lives?”
In his attempt to answer that question, Zancan has made good use of Chicago’s resources this fall, his first semester of teaching at Trinity. Throughout the semester, Zancan brought in four experts from various positions in the public relations field, and held two field trips to public relations firms in downtown Chicago: Green Target and Alpaytac.
Along with providing networking and learning opportunities, Zancan hopes to inspire his students.
“Having speakers, going on field trips, and doing class projects are just a few ways to give students more of the hands-on learning,” Zancan said. “Stories from professionals and the work they do resonates with students and encourages them in regard to their future.”
Students in the course agree that they benefit greatly from these outside-the-classroom experiences. The stories from one person’s time in the field become available to all as a resource.
Vicki Drenth, a junior business communications major Palos Heights commented on the value of using Chicago’s resources.
“You get to see hands-on what PR actually looks like,” Drenth said. “It’s not just sitting in a classroom listening to what PR could be, it’s going to a firm and seeing with your own eyes what it is like.”
Students learn from hearing the highlights and challenges that come with the field and gain more insight into what type of work they might do in a public relations career.