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Grauel 016F

I attended SEMO in the early ‘80s with the intent of going into education, but I talked myself out of that and went into business, graduating with a degree in Marketing Management. I worked my way through school selling and designing ads for a student coupon sheet – that’s how I got my start in advertising.

After graduation, I spent 25 years working in advertising and media. During that time, I was an account executive, operations manager, creative director and writer/producer for ad agencies with local, regional and national clients. I also did healthcare Marketing & Public Relations in a medical center, worked in media sales, and was a freelance writer and designer.

I was asked by Dr. Hollerbach to teach one class as an adjunct - and it was a great experience. The teaching bug had bitten. At that point, I went back to school in my 40’s to earn two master's degrees and then starting teaching full-time. Currently, I teach classes in the advertising option, along with some of our MC101 Media & Society and MC304 Media Diversity sections.

Funny that all these years later, after switching from education, I would up in a classroom. I really can’t think of anything I’d rather do than teach these students at this institution.

I’m here to help students be successful in their work and life – so I have to deliver information, lessons and experiential learning opportunities that will prepare them for the professional world.

Michael Simmons, Instructor, Advisor SE Creative

What area do you teach?

Mass Media - Advertising

Education/Degree(s)

M.B.A. – Aspen University
M.P.A. – Southeast Missouri State University
B.S. in Business Administration – Southeast Missouri State University

Your Philosophy of Teaching

I’m here to help students be successful in their work and life – so I have to deliver information, lessons and experiential learning opportunities that will work for them in the professional world.

To do that, I believe you have to recognize the humanity and value of each student, inspire them about their talents and abilities and then challenge and guide them as they develop those talents and abilities.

Why did you decide to teach?

It’s funny that when I came to SEMO I thought my major was going to be education, but I talked myself out of that and went into business. After working in advertising and media for over 25 years, I had a chance to teach one advertising class as an adjunct. It was exciting to get to work with students and share what I had learned in business. So guess I came around full-circle and then decided to teach full-time. It’s incredibly rewarding now to get to see students in an MC101 and then later in MC418 and see how they have progressed and grown as young professionals. I really can’t think of anything I’d rather do than teach these students at this institution.

Credentials/Career Path

I got my start in media & advertising during college, selling and designing ads in a student coupon sheet called the Zipsheet. Over the last 30 years I’ve worked in account service, operations and as a creative director and producer for ad agencies with local, regional and national clients; worked in healthcare Public Relations for five years; worked in media sales for three years; and worked as freelance writer and designer for several local clients.

Over the years I’ve written and directed shows that aired on Discovery Channel and numerous other cable channels; directed television vignettes that aired in many TV markets; and designed a nationally award-winning public service campaign for FOX network.

I was asked by Dr. Hollerbach to teach one class as an adjunct - and it was a great experience. Soon I was teaching as many as five classes a year. At that point, I went back to school to earn two Master's degrees and then starting teaching full-time. Now I teach classes in our Advertising option as well as two core classes – MC101 Mass Media and Society and MC304 Diversity in Media.

Professional Highlight

The top two – so far – include seeing students from SECreative, our student ad agency, win Best of Show at their first Addy Awards, and also being nominated by students for a Southeast Shout-Out Award.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions

  • 2014 – Greek Week Professor of the Year
  • 2016 – College of Liberal Arts Honors Award for Outstanding Teaching
  • 2018 – Southeast Shout-Out Award

Organizations with Which You are Involved

  • SECreative

Best Advice for Students

Now is the time to try things, to risk failure. That's the best way to learn. Treat college like a job - get up, go to class, do the work. And then have some fun.