Dean Phillips began his third career as a professor at NC State University 19 years ago. As a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication, he teaches courses in public relations and media. As he looks toward retirement, Phillips reflects on his time as the Undergraduate Internship Program Coordinator and the tremendous impact he has had on both the program and his students.
Upon walking into Phillips’ office, one would see years’ worth of history regarding his more than 20 years as a television newscaster illustrated through autographed photos, newspaper clippings and awards. In between his years in television and coming to NC State, Phillips spent time as a public relations and media relations consultant for corporate and political clients. This combination of experience and skills has made him an ideal mentor for Communication students.
“I love being in the classroom. It’s like my broadcasting days. Every day I am there to bring energy, passion, belief, and humor to mimic the real world. I have never wanted to not walk into the classroom. I will miss it a lot,” he said.
When Phillips first signed on as the internship coordinator, the program was on a different path. He quickly restructured the entire program by inviting people within his network and alumni of the program to come and speak to the class. This shift has allowed students to foster connections naturally and land internships in non-profit, for-profit, and politics.
“I am not good at paperwork,” said Phillips. What I am good at is calling someone I know in the industry and putting people together.”
His advice to students who don’t know how to find an internship or don’t know where to start is simple. Come up with three different ideas. “What are three things you like to do?” said Phillips. “Be specific about those three things. And once you have that, I have the ability to help you.”
As Mike Charbonneau (Director of Communications and Marketing, NC State College of Veterinary Medicine) prepares to step in as the new internship coordinator, Phillips offers one piece of advice, “Continue the mentoring aspect of the program. Agree to mentor students who reach out to you through the process.”
After retirement, Phillips has plans to travel with his wife. He looks forward to spending more time with his granddaughter, tinkering in woodworking, playing golf with his son, and finally writing a book about his career in broadcasting.
Phillips will continue to teach the internship course through the first summer session of 2020. He hopes to return in the future to teach occasional courses in Public Relations and co-direct the Communication Summer Camp alongside Jim Alchediak.