Story by Aaron Nelson
The American Advertising Federation selected Dave Koranda, a senior instructor II of advertising at the UO School of Journalism and Communication, to receive its 2017 Distinguished Advertising Educator Award.
The organization has presented the award annually since 1987 to recognize a senior advertising instructor with at least 10 years of educational experience who has benefited the advertising industry over the course of his or her career. Koranda accepted the award in New Orleans on June 9, 2017, at ADMERICA, the AAF’s annual conference.
According to a letter Koranda received from AAF executives Amy Struthers and Ayanna Jackson, he was chosen based on recommendations from his peers, colleagues and students that highlighted his ability to inspire his students as well as his passion for supporting those he instructs as they enter the professional world and for supporting the advertising industry as a whole.
Senior advertising student James McAndrew, one of the students who recommended Koranda, says his unique approach to operating his class like a professional setting was one of things that set Koranda apart.
“He formats his class so that it feels like you’re in an agency or a job, so you almost get real-world experience without leaving the classroom,” McAndrew said.
Originally, Koranda said, he never had any intention of teaching. Friends recommended that he give it a shot after a colleague pleaded with him to teach a media planning course at the SOJC. With plenty of experience training people during his 20 years in the industry, he decided to give it a try.
Now a senior advertising instructor at the SOJC, Koranda is also the faculty advisor for the University of Oregon’s National Student Advertising Competition Ad Team, which won the NSAC National Championship in 2015. He also serves on the AAF’s National Executive Education Committee. In 2002, Koranda was awarded the SOJC’s Jonathan Marshall Award for Innovative Teaching.
He says techniques based on an educational system called Soka, or value-creating education, may play a role in the recognition he has received.
During a visit to the Soka University of America to help him better understand the technique, Koranda says the school’s head administrator told him that the key to the system is “giving 100 percent to each student.”
He still carries this philosophy today and tries to give the same level of energy to every student he encounters.
In 2007, Koranda created a course focusing on curiosity — which is the model for courses at several other schools around the country — after observing a decline in students’ ability to ask questions about life and about the people around them. He believed the course might help revive that line of questioning.
“He’s Yoda,” said McAndrew. “His advice can be very open-ended, and he forces you to come full circle to understand what it means. It’s so unique.”
According to Koranda, this approach to life is also a recipe for success in the advertising industry. “ “It develops a sense of empathy,” he said, “and without that empathy you’re just talking at people.”
Watching students leave the SOJC with new and unique perspectives about what the advertising industry should be, and noticing how those perspectives affect the kind of work they produce, is what continues to draw Koranda to education.
Koranda says a friend from the industry once told him that “in advertising, you do what you’re doing until someone tells you to stop.” That’s the lens he views his AAF Distinguished Educator Award through.
“I have been able to push ahead with what I’m doing, and no one has told me to stop,” he said. “And to receive an award on that national level, people see that to plot your own course is worth it.”
Aaron Nelson is a senior studying journalism at the SOJC with a focus in photo and multimedia journalism. He currently works as a photographer for the Daily Emerald and has freelanced for KVAL. He has also held previous internships with Scout Recruiting and the music-review website Daily-Beat.