Last winter, Joe Glennon, an assistant professor of instruction in Klein College's Department of Advertising and Public Relations, applied to be one of the Scripps Howard Foundation's visiting professors in social media.
"It was kind of like applying for college all over again," Glennon said.
Glennon, who is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), was notified via email along with five other association members, that he was one of the six professors chosen nationwide to be a part of this program for 2017-18.
The professors chosen expressed an interest in social media and new technological advances, Glennon said, and they were asked to effectively state how they will use what they learn in the classroom.
As both a professor and student organization leader, Glennon believes he'd be able to put what he learned into immediate use in the field and integrate the knowledge into his courses over the long term.
"I thought it would be a fantastic thing to apply for," Glennon said.
He was required to indicate why the program was of interest to him, how he will use what he learns in his classroom and what qualifications he has to be considered for the program. "It's a highly competitive process," Glennon said.
Upon being chosen in July, Glennon flew from Philadelphia to Chicago where he spent two weeks at DigitasLBi, an integrated advertising agency.
Digitas, a member of the Publicis Groupe, a French multinational advertising and public relations company, merged with LBi to create a "fully integrated global digital agency network," according to an article in AdWeek.
DigitasLBi has been in existence since 2013.
Of the six professors chosen, Glennon was the only one who got to spend his time at an advertising agency. The other five placements were within journalism outlets.
"For me to go to a journalism outlet wouldn't make much sense," said Glennon.
During his time at DigitasLBi, Glennon explained that he was completely immersed in the day-to-day life of the agency. From the very beginning, Glennon said they treated him like a new hire.
He spent time with major leaders within the company, but also spent time with the junior-level employees, who are closer to students' ages. Glennon asked them about their journeys to this point and about what could have prepared them better.
Glennon described his time at DigitasLBi "like being a fly on the wall inside the office of some of the smartest people you know."
"We loved having Joe at DigitasLBi for the past two weeks," said Samantha Hare, a Digitas HR associate. "It was great for our people to see what is being taught in the classroom, and to get an idea of what type of preparation students have before coming to work here."
While the title of the program puts an emphasis on social media, Glennon said he had a broader focus while at DigitasLBi.
"The program and the agency have been very good [about] tailoring the experience to meet my needs," said Glennon.
Glennon works as the faculty advisor for the national student advertising competition team at Temple and faculty director for Diamond Edge Communications, Temple's student-run advertising agency. Because of this, his goal was to apply what he learned even beyond the classroom.
"I want to use what I've learned to inspire the students at Temple to look at the industry in a broader way," said Glennon.
He explained that the Department of Advertising and Public Relations has done a lot of work so far in adapting its curriculum to the changing field.
"We need to continue to look ahead, to develop special topic courses and electives that can address the more rapidly changing parts of our industry as well as keep an eye on the broader topics that will impact the next curriculum change," said Glennon.
There are things happening in the advertising world that cannot be adapted to the Temple curriculum just yet, however, "we can start thinking more conceptually," Glennon said.
"There is new technology emerging every day and there will be even more the months and years ahead," said Glennon. "As an institution, we can't keep up."
However, Glennon explained that Temple's Advertising and Public Relations Department can stay closer to the leading edge of this evolving industry "with full-time faculty who are actively involved with the industry on a practical level, with a smart use of adjuncts who bring their experiences into the classroom, and by making sure we are helping students develop the deep, core, conceptual and critical thinking skills that they need, independent of the tech."
Glennon said that if the department does its job correctly, students will be able to step into a tech-heavy world with ease.
"Digitas is not only at the top of the game," Glennon says. "They're also a leader in where advertising is headed."
Before coming to Temple in 2010, Glennon worked as a copywriter and creative consultant for about 20 years, 17 of those as a freelancer.
Glennon has a degree in psychology. And although he doesn't directly use the degree, Glennon says it certainly comes in handy every single day in the advertising world. "Advertising is all about connecting with humans and understanding motivation," he said.
Glennon teaches a variety of courses at Klein College, including Creative Thinking for Advertising, Introduction to Copywriting, Copywriting for Print and Web and Copywriting for Radio, TV and Video.
He said he wants to make sure that Temple is giving its students the raw materials needed in order to adapt and address whatever the advertising industry becomes over the next few years.
"I'm honored and thrilled to have been selected," said Glennon.