The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Yearning for learning: Delightful discussion with Duffy

Margaret Duffy, professor of strategic communication and executive director of the Novak Leadership Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, visited Coastal Carolina University to make connections with communication and journalism students.


Duffy was a key speaker at the Communication and Leadership Week hosted by the Department of Communication, Media and Culture. She chose to pursue her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa to feed her passion for education and peer interaction.


Assistant Professor of Communication James Ndone was Duffy’s doctorate student, and their professional relationship brought her to campus. The two have maintained their relationship through collaborative research in crisis communication, and they are currently focusing on how CEO’s emotions impact audience perceptions of crisis situations.


Strategic communication is Duffy’s forte, which she described as how people wish to be communicated to through research and investigation. She applied these skills to careers in marketing, advertising, public affairs, public relations and consulting.


These fields are interconnected and must be used together to effectively communicate a message, also known as Integrated Marketing Communications. In all of Duffy’s professional pursuits, one message reflective of the brand must resonate with and appeal to a target audience. She said the best way to ensure connection with an audience is a combination of creative and scientific research methods.


Although all brands and target audiences differ, Duffy approaches all endeavors in the same way. A marketer, advertiser, public relations specialist or other similar positions must first thoroughly understand their brand and best ways to reach an audience. Once research is complete, creativity rooted in evidence can flow, allowing for innovative and imaginative campaigns.


Duffy advises students entering these fields to maintain an air of curiosity and seize any opportunity to learn.


“Position yourself to be an avid learner. Work on developing your emotional intelligence,” Duffy said. “Take the advice of others who are positive in your life, and are going to help coach you and help you improve your skills and abilities, and encourage you along the way.”

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