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Marketing Instructor Lori Flowers: A Faculty Q&A

Lori Flowers, SNHU marketing adjunct instructorLori Flowers brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing and promotions in radio to the online classroom as an adjunct instructor in Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) online bachelor's in marketing program. She holds a master’s in mass communications.

Recently, she answered questions about her career, the importance of education and more.

Please tell us a bit about your professional background.

I have been in the radio industry for a little over 20 years, specifically in marketing and promotions. I have had the opportunity to work in numerous markets including Phoenix, Atlanta, Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida, Washington, D.C. and New York City.

These opportunities have allowed me to get solid experience in my craft and learn the best ways to deliver key performance indicators for our advertisers. Although I work in radio, I have my hands on the digital and social media side of the business.

What first drew you to higher education?

I received my master's of mass communication at Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication and while I was there, I was a teaching assistant for one of the classes. I enjoyed working with the students and sharing my real-life work experiences with them.

Additionally, in my radio job, I was the internship coordinator once again teaching students about a field I love. Fast forward to around 6 years ago, I discovered that SNHU offered some great courses, and they were looking for adjunct instructors. I immediately applied as this was an opportunity to continue my love for teaching.

What aspects of your own education have been particularly influential in shaping your professional life in academia?

I believe that every student is different, and it is important to recognize that. I recall a time in college, when I had a professor who had a one-size-fits-all approach in her teaching and was not very encouraging or motivating. As a student, I was a processor and needed more time to think through things before formulating my thoughts in class. I struggled in that class because the professor did not recognize this.

This experience has allowed me to take the time to recognize how my students learn and thrive. I also offer lots of encouragement and motivation so that they feel seen and supported.

How do you continue to learn and evolve as a leader in higher education?

SNHU has been great by offering personal development courses that have allowed me to get better in all areas. Additionally, I think it is important to stay up to date with the trends, so I read trade publications and attend conferences.

As an instructor for Social Media Marketing & Communications, it has also been helpful to work closely with my radio digital team so that I can pass on pertinent information to my students.

What do you feel is unique about the faculty, students and programs you oversee?

First off, the faculty is amazing! Everyone is so helpful and supportive. I also think it's pretty cool that my students are in different life stages and live all over the world. In one class, you may have someone returning to college after being out of school for 10 years or more, then you have another overseas student.

In terms of the programs I oversee, I think they are unique in that the modules contain material that can be used in a real-world setting. These programs are not just busy work, but actual projects that a student can take with them to show a potential employer.

Can you think of a particularly impactful or eye-opening moment as a faculty member?

Oh wow, this is a great question. An eye-opening moment happened recently with one of my students. She was working so hard to get her work in, but like many students, she had a few setbacks in her personal life, so she was struggling to meet the deadlines toward the end. Because I recognize that life happens and I knew she was doing her best, I would be sure to follow up with encouraging words and cheered her on.

Needless to say, she made it and graduated in November. She created a social media post thanking everyone who supported her, and she had a very special post for me. She shared that she didn't know if she would be able to keep going without my check-in emails.

Then it hit me. I can truly make a difference in the lives of my students just by providing them with the space and encouragement they need to get their work done.

How have you found ways to effectively connect with students?

I try to be approachable in my announcements, letting them know that I am available if they need further help. For some, they want a phone or video call, while others appreciate a detailed email that they can read at their leisure.

Additionally, I encourage my students to connect with me on LinkedIn which has been rewarding because I can see some of them grow in various career roles and it makes me so happy.

What advice do you have for new and current students?

I would tell them to embrace their season of academia which means sacrifice and focus. I would also encourage them to connect with their professors by sending a note at the beginning of class and sharing anything they may be concerned or nervous about so that the instructor can be aware.

I recall a time when one of my students was preparing to go on a mission trip and there were 2 weeks out of the term where they would be delayed with work, so we were able to come up with a plan so that she didn't get behind. The more you communicate with your professors, the more they can help you.

When it comes to the future of education, particularly for programs in marketing, what’s on your mind?

I think that as marketers, it is imperative that we arm ourselves with all of the trends. We need to be fully aware of all aspects of marketing so that we can teach others.

Influencer and digital marketing are key (currently) with so many advertisers, so we need to learn how this all works and best practices that will yield positive results.

Why is education important to you and the world at large?

Education is so important to me because it provides a solid framework of the basics I believe people need to make an impact in their careers. Although there are many self-taught individuals in the world of marketing, I still believe it is important to have an educational foundation before getting into the real world.

I have had students in my class who are in large roles within their company, but they recognized the importance of getting a formal education so that they are able to get the pertinent information needed for their role and beyond.

Beyond work, what’s something you’re passionate about or really enjoy doing?

I am very passionate about the beauty industry (makeup and skincare)! I enjoy learning about new beauty products and going into beauty stores to test out everything.

Influenster is a company I have been working with for the last 10 years or so and they also send me products to try out and post about on social media. This passion allows me to merge my love for beauty and marketing together in one.

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Joe Cote is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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