Dr. Stephynie Perkins is an associate professor of public relations in the College of Arts and Sciences. She has taught a variety of courses in the PR curriculum: principles, writing, campaigns and study abroad. For the last several semesters, she has focused on public relations writing.
In her current research, Perkins is collaborating with Dr. John Parmelee, Dr. Berrin Beasley and Dr. Natalyia Roman on a pair of studies about journalists’ use of Twitter. Also, Perkins and Dr. Tulika Varma are looking at cultural communication and its influence on public relations.
Perkins earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Tennessee and then migrated to the University of Florida to earn her Ph.D. in public relations. She joined the University of North Florida as a faculty member in 2003.
Get to Know Dr. Stephynie Perkins
What’s the most rewarding academic experience you’ve had at UNF in or out of the classroom?
My most rewarding experience was earning tenure, which represented years of service, teaching and research. As for my interaction with students, the most challenging experiences are those that make our undergraduates uncomfortable. In our capstone courses, students come face to face with their own knowledge and shortcomings. The students have to work through situations for which there is no textbook solution. It’s important that they learn the technical skills, but it’s rewarding to watch them solve their problems as they learn about themselves and the communities they touch.
Describe your teaching style. Do you like to integrate tech, or are you more comfortable with a lecture-style classroom?
I uploaded the lectures for my writing class online so that I can spend more time in the lab helping students fine-tune their work. Most students seem to think the first draft is good enough. I disabuse them of that idea pretty quickly. We spend most of our time editing and rewriting.
What's the one thing in your field of study that people might not know?
We are continually learning more about the impact — and impediment —of social media on our ability to communicate.
What do you like most about UNF?
I really like our students, but I love my colleagues in the Department of Communication. Our advisors, office staff, technical supporters and faculty believe that education about the media and its impact has far-reaching consequences for students and media consumers. We work hard, we laugh and we help each other.
Do you have a favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the Peace Plaza because it symbolizes the relationship between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi. I also like that the students, faculty and staff show their appreciation by leaving marigold necklaces.
If you could witness any historical event, what would it be?
I would attend the 1963 March on Washington. I would like to have heard Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech in person and to have felt the energy of the crowd.