Medill IMC Lecturer Judy Franks has a distinguished career in advertising, having worked with agencies such as Leo Burnett and BBDO. Judy Franks, a Michigan State University Telecommunications graduate, is unique in that she has been on multiple sides of media whether it be consulting, teaching or publishing. From a young age Franks was interested in media, even reading the Nielsen ratings from her father’s newspaper.
This curiosity led to her passion for teaching. In 2008, following a career where she rose to the executive ranks across both the media and creative strategy disciplines, Franks then joined the Medill IMC faculty. Franks is currently teaching Consumer Insight, Media and Message Delivery and Media Economics and Technology both online and on campus at Medill.
The self-proclaimed “lifelong learner" finds the challenge of teaching an online course exciting. “I’m someone who was in love with media since childhood and I am excited everyday with changes in the industry,” says Franks. Online classes allow Franks to facilitate a collaborative journey for her students. Franks has a specific point of view with teaching where she “sits at the intersection of real world potential and academic theory.” In class, Franks uses multiple channels to help students master the course material. Her courses are evenly spread and include writing, case studies, tests and projects. She loves that her approach challenges people to learn about how other people learn. Franks says her diverse teaching structure works especially well with the diverse majors and backgrounds of her IMC certificate undergraduates.
Franks features guest speakers in her lectures to show students what is happening in the industry. The speakers illustrate the problems being faced today so that her students will graduate knowing what media solutions can solve business problems. “Be prepared,” Franks advises prospective students, “In media there are no right answers. I force my students to argue a point of view which is well thought through.” For example, Franks predicts the migration of digital display to online video as a future change in the media. “While the signs are pointing in this direction, we won't know until we get there,” Franks said. “Our job is to read the signs and anticipate the opportunities."
Franks praises Medill classes like Consumer Insight for creating an interesting hybrid of both the psychological and the practical study of consumer behavior. In the IMC program Franks says they “focus on customer centered marketing and study consumer behavior both from a psychology standpoint and also a data driven outcomes standpoint. Students get the blend of behavioral theory and marketing practice.”