Professor Dan Eller, who has worked as the Director of Communications for the Hearst Castle for 17 years, is now the head of the public relations concentration of the journalism department. Marisa Bloch – Mustang Daily.

Cal Poly’s journalism department recently promoted part-time lecturer, Dan Eller, to be the new head of the public relations (PR) concentration.

“The doors opened and things happened to line up,” Eller said. For me, this is a dream come true to be in a full-time teaching position as well as the head of PR.”

With the recent departure of former PR head, Doug Swanson, the journalism department was faced with the challenge of finding someone to take his place. Eller, who has been at Cal Poly for six years and has nearly 20 years of PR experience, believes he is ready to take on the task.

Eller graduated from California State University, Northridge with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the College of Communications.

After moving with his family to the Central Coast, he received his doctorate in education from University of California, Santa Barbara.

Eller has worked as the director of communications at Hearst Castle for the past 17 years.

Eller said his raw PR skills in his professional career have been really strong based on the outcome of his work, but he has also been forced to enhance his skills in writing, camera, radio and many other different focuses. Eller has observed the changes made in the department over the years, and now plans to take advantage of all the new technology available to the department.

Many have questions as to why Swanson left Cal Poly, but Eller said it was simply the next logical step for Swanson.

“This was a promotion for Doug,” Eller said. “It’s not that Cal Poly isn’t great but he is so young and has so much to offer.  It was a career advancement for him and for me as well.”

Many students, both PR students and other students, are eager to welcome Eller full-time.

“All of my experiences with him in and out of the classroom have reassured me that he is very qualified for this position,” said journalism senior Adriene Henderson. “He is clearly here for the students, which is a great thing for this department.”
Other PR students agree.

“I have Eller for the first time this year, but from what I have seen and heard so far, it all seems good.  It should be a great quarter,” said journalism senior Carly Rowan.

Eller’s way of achieving a great quarter differs from that of some professors, mostly due to his dislike of what he calls a “stand and deliver” classroom technique.

“I want to move into the future with a passive teaching classroom and an active learning class,” said Eller. “My goal would be for students to become lifetime learners instead of just memorizing and repeating information.”
Eller stressed the importance of coming together as an entire department, and not just three tracks (journalism is made up of the news/editorial, PR and broadcast tracks).

“We have all of the tools and technology here for the students and experts in each category to share their knowledge.” he said. “We should take advantage of that.”

Eller also has a message to all students and faculty.

“Here at Poly we have the most eager and polite students, faculty and staff, willing to work together for the greater good,” he said. “Higher education is not a right but a privilege and we are privileged to have each other.”

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