Associate Professor Jay Newell has been selected as the recipient of the American Advertising Federation's Distinguished Advertising Educator Award for 2016.
Newell has been called many things throughout both of his careers — he joined the Greenlee School in 2003 after a renowned career in the cable television advertising industry — but he admits that this most recent title is a first.
"The title distinguished cracks me up, because it's not me," Newell says, acknowledging his non-traditional teaching style. "I like to try new things and thankfully Greenlee and Iowa State are environments that value innovation."
But his innovations in the classroom and his dedication to his students' success are exactly what earned him this top honor from one of the nation's top advertising associations.
"Jay represents somebody who is staying current on what matters to the education of students today so that they can get into the industry once they graduate and not struggle," says Jason Boucher, one of Newell's former students who nominated him for the award. "He really is genuine in his interest in what matters for advertising education today."
Boucher first met Newell in his time as a Greenlee graduate student from 2003-2005 and always admired Newell's style of incorporating his professional background into his classes. Since graduating and entering the advertising industry in Des Moines, Boucher and Newell have kept in contact, often discussing the latest industry trends and "the deficiencies that I see in my work in the industry, and then he talks to people about how to address those at the school-level," says Boucher, who now works as the Vice President of Client Services for ZLR Ignition and Programs Director for the AAF of Des Moines.
Newell's work updating the school's advertising curriculum includes incorporating data-driven strategy into ad classes, creating bilingual slides for Chinese students and partnering with industry to bring client work into the classroom.
"Your accomplishments have set the bar that much higher for advertising educators across the country, helping the AAF execute its mission of developing exceptional talent for the advertising industry," his award letter noted.
The AAF bestows this national award upon educators with 10 or more years of teaching experience and a record of excellence and innovation in the classroom, as well as service to the industry. In receiving the 2016 award, Newell joins a prestigious list of faculty members from advertising programs across the country. "These are people that I look up to and people whose techniques I follow." Newell says. "To be on that list is way cool."
In his nominating letter, Greenlee School Director Michael Bugeja wrote that “Dr. Newell is one of the most talented advertising teachers in the nation. He balances technology with interpersonal interaction; he influences professors across media platforms and disciplines; he engages students as coach, mentor and friend.”
Katlego Mogongwa, a '15 advertising graduate who now works as a media coordinator at Flynn Wright Advertising Agency in Des Moines, also nominated Newell because of the profound impact that Newell's mentorship has already had on his life.
"I was never a real confident individual while in college but Jay instilled confidence in me that really helped me create great work and garner great relationships along the way," Mogongwa says.
Newell will receive the award this summer at the AAF's ADMERICA conference in Anaheim, California, on June 6.