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Tara Smith, left, recently received the GIFT Award from the PRSA Educators Academy.
Tara Smith, director of the strategic communications master’s program, received the Great Ideas for Teaching (GIFT) award at the PRSA Educators Academy Summit in Nashville, Tennessee on October 14. The award is given to educators for outstanding educational approaches, projects, and programs highlighted at the summit’s poster session.
Smith’s poster highlighted her classroom assignment, Pitch Me With Your Best Shot. The original assignment asked students to create a fictitious media pitch, which they recorded to imitate a voicemail. The mock phone call helps students become more comfortable making phone pitches, a skill that is becoming less prevalent among younger generations. The project fostered practical media relations skills, critical thinking, and creativity, and was rated highly by her previous students.
“The main thing that stuck out to me was learning about a pitch. This will be very useful in my career, and I did not know how to write one or really what it was before this,” said one of Smith’s former students.
This is the first time a University of Delaware faculty member has won the GIFT award.
"It means a lot to receive this recognition from the PRSA Educators Academy. As a long-time PRSA member and former public relations practitioner who joined academia as my second act, I have always tried to bring my experience from industry to the classroom to help students succeed as strategic communicators," Smith said.
“This is a well-deserved award,” said Kami Silk, department chair and Rosenberg Professor of Communication. “Tara is an outstanding teacher whose students praise her ability to motivate them. Her combination of industry experience and expert teaching prepares students to excel in public relations positions.”
Story by Lauren Gilligan
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