Some ad industry leaders have complained that recent college graduates are ill prepared for today's competitive environment.

Why? Because ivory tower professors, they say, are out of touch with the "real world."

Such concerns plague every generation of college graduates and ad agency recruiters. The real problem is with those who harbor these thoughts but do very little to change the situation. Maybe it's time for advertising people to give something back, for the sake of our industry's future.

An individual or company can do much to help improve education in any of the marketing communication fields: advertising, direct response, public relations and sales promotion. Every contribution results in a win-win scenario.

Students and teachers learn from your business experiences and expertise, and they benefit from improved resources. In turn, they give back to your company and the industry through improved performance and greater commitment to their future in the industry. And if you've considered teaching as a career, it's a great way to test the academic waters now.

Here are 10 ways to help improve advertising education, contribute to the future of the industry and experience some of the joys and frustrations of teaching:

1. Volunteer to be a guest speaker

Agency people have much to offer to a classroom of students or a student organization, and much of it is at your fingertips. You could discuss a recent case history or research study, present a new business pitch, or address a current ad industry issue.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Gustafson and Michael Hanley Robert is an associate professor and advertising sequence head at Ball State University, and Michael is an assistant professor there, in the advertising sequence.