In an industry best known for manipulation and consumerism, advertising and public relations professor, Joyce Haley is showing students how advertising can be used for the greater good, an ambitious mission earning her the title as ACU’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year.
Haley, a 1981 graduate of Pepperdine University, hit the professional ground running and didn’t stop for 16 years in the advertising world.
After work with numerous agencies, Haley took a career intermission for motherhood, which eventually led her back to the classroom.
“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do next and stumbled into teaching,” she said. “I’ve found teaching to be a natural fit for me.”
Taylor Edwards (’13), from Houston graduated from ACU with a master’s in Ad/PR. He was Haley’s student for each of her advertising courses: Principles of Advertising, Advertising Creativity and Copywriting, Media Planning and Campaigns. Haley’s impressive resume was only part of what deemed the professor one of her role models, Edwards said.
“Joyce shared her own experiences in advertising, her professional ascent in a male-dominated industry and the journey she took to find a balance between her professional passion and her personal life,” Edwards said.
Like the industry she prepares students for, Haley’s teaching techniques have had to change with the generations.
“Over the years, I’ve watched the attention span of students get shorter and shorter,” she said. “So I’ve moved to finding more ways for students to apply what they are learning as we go.”
The majority of Haley’s classes are completely project-oriented, giving students a more interactive and hands-on sort of learning experience, she said.
Haley said Advertising Creativity & Copywriting is her favorite course to teach. Each week, students create ads in various mediums and then workshop the final products.
“I love watching students gain confidence in their ability to generate ideas, to be creative,” she said. “My emphasis is on teaching idea-generating techniques and empowering the students to be ‘idea people.'”
In the classroom, Edwards said Haley is engaging and dynamic, presenting material with personal insight and comical stories from her own career.
“I have the advantage of having worked in industry for many years,” Haley said. “The students are inspired by my ability to tell war-stories from the field.”
In addition to her professional experience, Haley said authenticity is crucial to connecting with and inspiring students.
“It’s pretty powerful to just know student’s names and try to know a little about them,” she said. “Who doesn’t like to feel like they are known and that you care enough to make the effort?”
Outside the classroom, Haley has directed and managed Morris & Mitchell, the student-run Ad/PR agency since 2009. Here, she acts as a mentor to students as they gain experience with real-world clients.
Under her leadership, the agency has gained recognition for its work, putting students in the ring with the professionals.
Last year, Morris & Mitchell took home three ADDY awards in the American Advertising Federation’s annual competition to honor excellence in the advertising field. The agency has competed for the past two years and been awarded for every submission.
“At M&M, she lets students learn and operate the agency to an incredible extent,” Edwards said. “It really is student-run. At the same time, she gives the kind of guidance that results in ADDY awards every year, so it seems she really is the perfect balance for an advisor.”
Haley takes her advertising talents off-campus as well.
While working on her master’s degree in digital media at ACU, Haley met Linda Egle, founder of Eternal Threads
Together with ACU students and Eternal Thread volunteers, Brittany Partridge(’12) and Samantha Sutherland(’12), the Red Thread Movement initiative took form.
Haley worked with Egle for many years, using her marketing communications skills to help develop the brand and marketing strategy for the organization.
She is now the advisor for the ACU chapter of the Red Thread Movement.
“My career path and professional skills are in marketing communications,” Haley said. “But, my heart is with people whose life circumstances provide them little hope or opportunity.”
When it comes to how faith is incorporated with teaching advertising:
“How is it not?” Haley said.
“Teaching students to navigate the ethics of the advertising industry is probably both the most important and the most challenging lesson a Christian advertising professor can impart,” Edwards said.
Using personal experiences, Haley was able to advise students how morals and success in the industry could mix, Edwards said.
“Joyce did an exceptional job of not only teaching us to honor our conviction, but also of preparing us for wsome ethical challenges we might face in the reality of the advertising world,” he said.
Jeff Johnston, senior Ad/PR major from Coppell, and current student of professor Haley agreed.
“I think it can be difficult to get students to see past that the advertising world’s reputation and encourage them to go against it and be Christian influences in a field that desperately needs them,” he said. “But Joyce has taught me how important it is to keep God and faith at the forefront of my life in all circumstances, even in the Ad/PR world.”
“I emphasize that a person grounded in faith does not need to be afraid of questioning and exploring,” Haley said. “Advertising is not a business where you can play it safe. To win in the business you have to be a risk-taker. But, when you go with God, I think the biggest wins in life are often when we take a risk.”
Haley said faith is displayed in advertising because in an industry wheeled on creativity, creativity is wheeled by a higher power.
“We explore creativity under the wing of the great creator,” she said.
This creative creed carries Haley’s influence outside her classroom’s walls.
“Joyce is the best professor I’ve ever had,” Johnston said. “I feel privileged to have learned and develop a relationship with her. I’m not one to normally keep up with my professors after I’ve left their classes, but with Joyce, I most certainly will.”