Name: Padmini Patwardhan
Position: Associate professor
As a teacher of mass communication and a former ad professional, Padmini Patwardhan views the classroom as a marketplace of ideas – sometimes confusing, sometimes unpredictable, but never dull.
Patwardhan's fresh and exciting approach to classroom teaching helped her become the sixth recipient of the Thompson Scholar Award. Created by Winthrop Board of Trustee member Bob Thompson and his wife Norma, the fund provides for reassigned time for two classes per year for a faculty member "to work on projects that strengthen the academic, intellectual and co-curricular life of the university."
Patwardhan will spend the year researching comprehensive global learning plans at mass communication departments and working with Winthrop’s mass communication and integrated marketing communication faculty to identify ways to incorporate globalization into their strategic plans. She anticipates presenting a project proposal in late spring 2012 and developing an implementation timeline.
"While the global learning initiative has generated much excitement around campus, it can only serve as the first step," said Patwardhan. She added that departments will be looking for international resources to simplify and aid the planning process.
Before coming to Winthrop in 2005, Patwardhan worked as copywriter and creative consultant with multinational ad agencies in native India. She also worked as a columnist writing on advertising and media in a regional Indian daily. Patwardhan, a member of the American Academy of Advertising, taught undergraduate and graduate advertising and communication courses at Texas Tech University. She also has taught graduate students at the University of Pune, India.
Her prior work as a copywriter and columnist helped prepare Patwardhan to engage her students, she said. "Teaching from experience is one of the best things a professor can do for students! It helps me convey my passion for the subjects I teach and also gives me the authenticity that students respect. At the same time, I am very aware of the need to update my own skills continually and stay relevant as things change in industry."
At Winthrop, Patwardhan teaches some of the mass communication classes, including advertising copy and layout as well as public relations. She has collaborated on international projects, won numerous conference awards and research grants with a global focus and conducted cross-cultural research. In 2006, she received a competitive Visiting Professor Fellowship from the Advertising Educational Foundation, spending part of summer at the global agency headquarters of Doyle Dane Bernbach in New York. Patwardhan also has written and published 17 peer-reviewed articles since 2003 and has given more than 25 research presentations at conferences.
Research and writing keep Patwardhan up-to-date in her field, but what she enjoys most is "interacting with students and the Winthrop community."
"I particularly enjoy the fact that my students are not just numbers or faces but real people I can personally identify, understand and help to the best of my ability," said Patwardhan. "I also try to stay in touch with alums and see them grow. It's a wonderful feeling when they share how they use what they earned here in their professional life!"
Last updated: 06/27/2011