Eastern Professor Ayeni Selected as AEF Visiting Fellow

Eastern Professor Christopher Ayeni was selected as a visiting professor for the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) meeting in June.

Christopher Ayeni, associate professor of communication at Eastern Connecticut State University, spent June 17-25 in Chicago participating in the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) Visiting Professor Program (VPP).

Ayeni resides in Windsor Locks and has been teaching at Eastern since 2002. He joined other advertising and marketing communications professors in the VPP for immersion and research sessions at top Chicago advertising agencies, exploring issues related to the latest innovations in marketing and advertising practice.

Participating companies include advertising agencies, marketers and media companies such as Leo Burnett; McGarry Bowen, Foote, Cone and Welding; Energy BBDO; R/GA; IBM; Ogilvy; Facebook; McCann Erickson; and Wavemaker, among others.

The goal of the VPP is to enhance professors’ understanding of current advertising and marketing practices to inform and enhance their teaching and research. The program provides a forum for professors to exchange knowledge and create long-term relationships with agencies and marketers.

“The advertising executives shared insights on the role of data analytics in predicting buying and consumption behaviors,” said Ayeni. “They also explored diversity and trends in the ever-changing marketing communications world. We examined the latest trends in social media, global brand building, consumer insights, the future of media, data analytics and diversity. It was a very enriching experience that will inform and shape new curriculum development and pedagogy.”

Since its inception, more than 500 professors have participated in the AEF Visiting Professor Program (VPP). “The VPP is a highly competitive program,” said Sharon Hudson, program vice president. “More than 100 professors applied for the VPP fellowship. We reviewed how professors teach advertising, marketing and communications courses; the strength of their statement expressing their reason for and practical benefit of the VPP experience for themselves and their students; and how students have already benefitted from their teaching.”

Ayeni accompanied Eastern students to the PRSSA National Assembly in Portland, OR, including Erin Teague ’19, Kathryn Arena ’21, Marissa Simonetti ’19, Olivia Godin ’19 and Ryan Tarko ’21.

Ayeni’s students have been very successful in and outside of the classroom, winning local and national advertising competitions. Student awards include placing in the Top 10 in the National Effie Collegiate Advertising Campaign in 2015, where the students developed an advertising campaign for TARGET aimed at millennials. In 2010, Ayeni’s students also captured Third Place in the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut Underage Drinking Campaign.

Ayeni recently took five student members of the Public Relations Student Society of America to the national meeting in Portland, OR, where they learned about modern advancements in the field. He has attended numerous conferences, such as the Athens Institute of Education and Research” in Greece and the Popular Culture Association Conference in Washington, D.C. Ayeni is also writing a book titled “Crisis Communication in the Age of Terrorism.”

Written by Dwight Bachman