Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sogang University

On Wednesday, September 16, I hopped a cab to Sogang University for my lecture on healthcare public relations to a class of about 80 aspiring Korean public relations students.

The opportunity to lecture was facilitated by my colleague Dr. Kyu Ho Youm, a Korean native who is Professor and First Amendment Chair at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Founded in 1960 by the Society of Jesus, the mission of Sogang University is to provide students with an education based in Catholic belief and inspired by the Jesuit educational philosophy in conformity with the Korean educational tradition.

The university, with a 50-acre campus located in east-central Seoul, has an enrollment of over 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 1,000 faculty members.

Arrived at Sogang University early and I'm glad I did: it took me a little while to get my bearings. Dr. Hochang Shin, a friend and colleague of Dr. Youm's, was my host.

Meeting with several of Dr. Shin's teaching assistants (from left, Jihana Ko, Min-young Kim and Yeon Ji Noh), we proceeded to a nearby classroom where I delivered my lecture.

Had a delightful time discussing healthcare public relations: his students were attentive and inquisitive, and Dr. Shin was very gracious.

Turns out I didn't need an interpreter; they all understood English fairly well.

After my lecture, I opened the floor to questions and several students responded with great inquiries.

One of my favorites was the student who asked: "will there always be issues for healthcare public relations professionals to deal with?"

I explained to her that -- based on my experience -- yes. To quote Roseanne Roseannadanna on Saturday Night Live, "it's always somethin'."

Whether it's AIDS, West Nile Virus, H1N1 -- the list goes on and on -- there will always be a need for effective healthcare communicators: "job security for public relations professionals," I quipped.

Afterward, Dr. Shin treated me a lunch at a fine Korean restaurant across the street from Sogang University. Then, practically before I knew it, I was back in a taxi on my way to my hotel in Myeong-dong.

As I said before, eveything is very much hurry-hurry in these parts.

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