Introduction to Public Relations
November 11, 2010
Higher education is big business in the United
16 million students are enrolled at more than 4000
colleges and universities.
Almost every one of these institutions has personnel
working in public relations, marketing
communications and fund-raising.
The president, or chancellor, is the chief public
Large universities: the vice president for
development and university relations is
Supervising the office of development
Division for alumni relations
The office of public relations
Smaller institutions combine these functions
Development and alumni personnel:
Seek to enhance the prestige and financial support of
Conduct meetings and seminars
Publish newsletters and magazines
Maintain a public relations web page for the
Build alumni loyalty
Considered the major foundation of any fund-raising
Fund-raising has increased in recent years.
$31.6 billion in 2002, which represents 13% of charitable
giving that year.
Generate funding from private sources
Donors who are not alumni
Donations based on their interest in a particular field
Most visible aspect of a university public
Produces hundreds of news releases, photographs,
and special columns and articles for the print media
Prepares programs of news and features about
faculty activities and personalities for stations
Provides assistance and information for reporters,
editors, and broadcasters affiliated with the state,
regional and national media
Responds to hundreds of telephone calls from news
media and public seeking information.
Public relations specialist must be a part of the
management team of the institution
Attend all top-level meetings involving the president
and other administrators
Learn the whys and wherefores of decisions made
Develop action programs
Respond to questions from the publics those
Able college presidents involve their faculty in
decision making to the fullest extent possible.
Faculty and staff serve as major public relations
Internal newsletters and newspapers
Periodic meetings at which policies are explained
and questions are answered.
Faculty and staff who fully understand the
institution’s philosophy, operations and needs
generally will respond with heightened
Example: The University of Georgia sought
$2.5 million in contributions from its faculty as
a part of an $80 million bicentennial
enrichment campaign. The faculty contributed
nearly $6 million dollars, more than double
what the school had anticipated.
Students make up the largest public relations
arm that an institution has.
Determinants of students allegiance to an
Quality of teaching
Sound administrative attitude toward student body
Involving students as much as possible in decisions that
affect their campus life
State and federal governments hold the vital key to
whether or not an institution is receiving sufficient
monies to maintain facilities, faculty and
Large institutions have someone, a government
relations coordinator in most cases, who regularly
monitors the state legislature.
This person’s work involves
Competing with other state institution for money
Defending proposed increases in higher-education
budgets and protecting against cuts
Establishing an institution’s identity in the minds of
Responding to lawmakers’ requests for favors
Colleges and universities must maintain a good
relationship with the community in which they
Faculty and staff are encouraged to achieve
community visibility through work with civic
and other organizations.
Many institutions have turned to highly
competitive recruiting methods to lure
Extensive advertising in print and broadcast media
and on billboards
Brochures with four-color, slick materials that use
bright graphics and catchy headlines
Public relations professionals at this level are
faced with many contemporary issues.
Necessity for sound community relations.
When an issue is brought forward it is the
public relations professional’s job to come up
with a plan that can include:
TV and cable messages
Fliers or brochures to parents and community
For any type of emergency such as, sudden loss
of utilities, fires, school shootings, bomb
threats, a communication plan should be in the
The public relations professional(s) should be
Deal with various media outlets
Help the community deal with any tragedy
Restore calm and confidence in the school system