Department: Communication Arts School: College of Arts and Sciences Campus: Old Westbury
Member of NYIT Since: 2000
Teaching students about using communications to help nonprofits and entrepreneurs is the premise of James Wyckoff's advertising workshop/production house class at NYIT. The latest class endeavor of the adjunct assistant professor of communication arts pairs students with pro-bono client Hospital St. Raphael in Limbe, Haiti, where the NYIT Center for Global Health is assisting residents still reeling from the repercussions of a 2010 earthquake and recent torrential rains from tropical storm Isaac.
Their project raises awareness of the situation in Haiti by developing a communications plan of clear message points, a redesigned hospital logo, Facebook and Twitter outreach, and a new website.
"One of my best experiences at NYIT has been the advertising workshop, because we work with three clients per semester, usually nonprofits, and have the opportunity to help organizations that have no PR at all," Wyckoff says.
In June, Wyckoff went to Seoul to explore another global project. He met with one of South Korea's top epidemiologists and observed lifestyle and cultural nuances that impact the spread of diabetes. He already teaches students about epidemiology and ways to frame quantitative data in easy-to-grasp formats in his advertising workshop, and is exploring the potential for collaboration between NYIT and the Samsung Medical School of Sungkyunkwan University.
"The Koreans are taking a different approach to diabetes research," says Wyckoff, who became interested in the culture due to his wife's Korean ancestry. "They are looking at chemicals found in the body tissues of people who become obese or get Type II diabetes. Our approach in the United States is to look at diet and lifestyle."
Wyckoff's connection to the health care industry began years before his teaching career. He is the former assistant vice president of communications for New York Presbyterian Hospital and director of public relations for the Hospital for Special Surgery. At NYIT, he developed the first health care and public relations seminar in 2010.
He will soon add another dimension to his expertiseDoctor of Health Administration from the University of Phoenix. His doctoral dissertation is a qualitative study of knowledge capital in New York hospitals.
"Knowledge capital is the stuff that doesn't appear in financials," says Wyckoff, who will conduct interviews with nearly two dozen hospital trustees to assess their decision-making processes.
In his spare time, Wyckoff, a member of the 1970 University of Virginia national championship team, plays on two lacrosse teams, including one that competes in Lake Placid, N.Y., in the biggest multi-age lacrosse tournament in the United States.
"Communication arts is a highly competitive field, even in academe," he says. "Playing lacrosse keeps me sharp mentally as well as physically."