Maria Russell Named ‘Educator of the Year’ In Brazil Association for Corporate Communication

Maria Russell, professor of public relations and director of executive education programs in the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, has been named Educadora do Ano 2016 (2016 Educator of the Year) by the Associação Brasileira de Comunicação Empresarial (Brazilian Association for Corporate Communication, or ABERJE). She was honored with the James Heffernan Award during the association’s Prêmio ABERJE awards program Nov. 24 in São Paulo, Brazil.

The Educator of the Year/James Heffernan Award, established in 2013, recognizes an education professional who has demonstrated dedication to his or her work, especially in the field of organizational communication. Russell was honored for her work on the International Program in Corporate Communication, which she developed in partnership with ABERJE in 2007.

“This award is a great honor,” says Russell, “especially because it is named for the late James Heffernan, ABERJE’s education director and our partner, who was brilliant in his abilities to create and execute high-level programming for working professionals.”

The Syracuse-ABERJE certificate program offers cutting-edge professional development for multinational corporate communications professionals in Brazil, covering topics such as reputation management, employee engagement, the use of research to measure public relations effectiveness, social media and crisis communications. To continue the learning experience, the Newhouse School hosts Brazilian program participants in week-long study tours in New York City where faculty, alumni and other professionals share best practice case studies.

Russell joined the public relations faculty at Newhouse in 1986 after more than 16 years of professional public relations practice. She is the recipient of numerous other communications awards and honors, including Educator of the Year from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the Philip Dorf Award for outstanding mentorship of students and young professionals from the New York Chapter of PRSA.

The Educator of the Year/James Heffernan Award is regarded as one of the most prestigious awards in the area of organizational communication. Previous honorees include Luiz Alberto de Farias, faculty member at Universidade de São Paulo, and Renato Janine Ribeiro, former Minister of Education in Brazil.

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