The subject of advertising often comes up in the college classroom. In liberal arts programs it may be in a course entitled perhaps "Advertising and Society" or "History of Advertising in America" or in other courses where advertising is not the central subject but it is studied because of the light it sheds on gender, industrialization, consumption patterns, and the like. In professional programs in journalism schools and communications departments, advertising is a full-blown specialty and a myriad of courses may be offered about it.
Despite these various ways colleges teach about advertising, there is no academic society that focuses specifically on the study and teaching of this subject. Consequently, those who teach about advertising either in full courses or as parts of other courses are not really acquainted with each other.
This Roundtable on Teaching about Advertising was conceived as a first step in remedying this lack of communication across courses, departments, and programs. Seven scholars and I met in New York City on January 8, 2003 to discuss the courses we teach, our methods, our goals, and our successes and failures. The discussion was lively and sparked much interest among participants in continuing to meet, perhaps with others invited, and moving even the possibility of some sort of association of scholars who share these interests.
I invite you to read this Roundtable discussion and learn from it about the current state of the pedagogy of advertising and society in colleges and universities around the country. I invite other teachers to write and share their experiences, which may be in turn published as letters to the editor for others to read.
William M. O'Barr