Four public relations students and a professor from the Gaylord College traveled to Erfurt, Germany May 15-17, 2014, to present the results of a year-long research program they conducted for the City Marketing Department.
Katherine Brannen, Dusti Gasparovic, Katherine Fikes and Nathan Robertson were competitively selected from the Public Relations Research class of over 40 students to collect additional data and prepare a professional presentation for the representatives of the city of Erfurt. The research project was conducted as part of Tsetsura’s OU Presidential Dream Course on Public Relations Research last fall.
Students conducted surveys and interviews with more than 400 people in Oklahoma and Texas to learn what motivates U.S. tourists from these states to travel to Europe, and specifically to Germany. Over the course of the year, the students focused on getting research insights and analyzing the data. Then, the winning team of four identified the most useful information and conducted additional research. The team presented the results of the year-long research efforts in person to representatives of the City Marketing Department of Erfurt on May 16.
“This research presentation was a huge opportunity for us as American students. One thing that cannot be taught well in a classroom is how the international dynamic can affect a business setting. The chance to present four months of research and receive feedback from the client in their home country was a rare opportunity for an undergraduate student,” said Nathan Robertson, member of the winning team.
“This trip was a great chance to show OU’s partners in Erfurt the quality of programs we possess at the Gaylord College. While our research only goes as far as validating strategic recommendations, it showcases the communication research methodology that is taught at this institution,” said Robertson.
“The students were excited to present their research project in Erfurt. The results of the research were of great interest to the city of Erfurt on how to attract travelers from states like Oklahoma and Texas, which are at the heart of the USA,” said Dr. Katerina Tsetsura, the Gaylord Family Professor of public relations at the Gaylord College.
OU President David L. Boren initiated the OU Presidential Dream Course in 2004. The competitive Dream Course program provides extra resources to professors to invite distinguished speakers to campus and to offer unique opportunities to OU students. Dream Courses cover important topics for concerned and engaged citizens in the 21st century. This was the first time a required public relations research course has been designated as a Dream Course.
Dr. Katerina Tsetsura has partnered with the University of Erfurt to bring University of Oklahoma students to study communications in Germany for several years.
NOTE: Variations of this article have been published as part of the PRSSA FORUM newsletter.