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New Faculty Spotlight: Judi Crenshaw, public relations

Jul 30, 2018

Posted in: News

By Marcus Messner, Ph.D., Associate Director

Judi Crenshaw, APR, instructur in public relations
Judi Crenshaw, APR, instructor, public relations

Judi Crenshaw is one of our newest professors in the public relations sequence. She will begin teaching classes this fall. 

Welcome to the Robertson School! Tell us a little bit about where you are from and where you worked, or studied, previously? 

I grew up in a really small town (dirt road, no stoplight) in Northern Virginia and worked in a fruit orchard during my teens. Even as a country kid, I was fascinated with current events and newsrooms, which I parlayed into a part-time job with the Winston-Salem Journal while in college in North Carolina. After moving to Richmond, I settled in nonprofit communications with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Save the Bay). That job was jam-packed with press relations, lobbying, grassroots advocacy and political events. After a long stint there, I was an independent PR practitioner for nonprofit associations and started doing publicity work for Barksdale Theatre and Theatre IV (now Virginia Rep Theatre). That's where I developed social media skills and came on board as adjunct faculty at VCU. I was hired as communications director for a university-affiliated nonprofit, Virginia Council on Economic Education (VCEE), that operates out of the VCU School of Business. I have taught various PR courses at the Robertson School over the last six years, and am excited to be here full time.

What is your teaching philosophy? Which classes will you be teaching this upcoming semester?

My overall approach is to bring real-world scenarios into the classroom. Whether it's textbook content or case studies, writing examples or current event discussions, I try to add meaningful context and discussion about how students might practically use the information in different types of work settings. This semester, I'll be teaching two sections of MASC 333 Public Relations Technical Writing & Media Relations, MASC 336 Social Media for Public Relations, and MASC 210 Public Relations. 

How do you keep current in this ever changing media environment?

It's a never-ending challenge to stay current, but I dive in and try as many new technologies and apps as possible. I curate a lot of social media and tech news to understand target audiences for different media. When new tools pop up, I learn the best uses but don't shy away from negative impacts and potential abuses. I try to stay on top of how everything online is measured because that is the key to success in PR and journalism.

Tell us something personal about yourself. What hobbies and interests do you have outside of the classroom?

I love keeping up with my three interesting children who live in different parts of the country (New York City, Los Angeles, and Columbus). They have intriguing jobs in media, television and music and are a constant source of new things to learn. I try to be an active citizen, so I invest a lot of energy in local and state politics and community groups that focus on equality and social justice. I am active in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and am a longtime board member of the Richmond chapter. I'm looking forward to being PRSARVA President next year!