2006 Report Of The Commission On Public Relations Education
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2006 Report Of The Commission On Public Relations Education

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Educating Future PR Pros Report 2006

Educating Future PR Pros Report 2006

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2006 Report Of The Commission On Public Relations Education 2006 Report Of The Commission On Public Relations Education Presentation Transcript

  • Public Relations Education for the 21st Century The Professional Bond Education Public Relations The Practice The Report of the Commission on Public Relations Education www.commpred.org November 2006
  • Public Relations Education for the 21st Century The Professional Bond Education Public Relations The Practice The Report of the Commission on Public Relations Education www.commpred.org November 2006 Edited by Judy VanSlyke Turk, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA Director, School of Mass Communications Virginia Commonwealth University
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Table of Contents 4 Acknowledgements 5 Executive Summary 11 Preface 13 Introduction 19 Research 21 Ethics 27 Diversity 31 Communication Technology 35 Global Implications 41 Undergraduate Education 51 Graduate Education 57 Supervised Experience 63 Distance Learning 67 Governance and Academic Support 71 Faculty Credentials 75 Professional and Pre-Professional Organizations 79 Professional Certification and Accreditation 85 A Call to Action 91 Members of the 2006 Commission 3
  • Acknowledgements The Commission on Public Relations Education gratefully acknowledges the valuable support for its 2006 report from the following: Funding Institute for Public Relations Public Relations Society of America Foundation Scripps Howard Foundation Report Research and Development University of Florida University of Maryland University of Miami Valparaiso University Virginia Commonwealth University Staff Support Public Relations Society of America The Commission is also grateful to its active members— those individual educators and practitioners who have played a central role in producing this report, thereby help- ing to strengthen the bond between public relations educa- tion and the practice. 4 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond— Public Relations Education and the Practice Executive Summary This report, like earlier reports of the Commission on Public Relations Education, presents recommendations for public relations undergradu- ate and graduate education. But beyond this traditional purpose, “The containing seventeen sections that are most rel- Professional Bond” report has also been devel- evant to his or her interests. The complete re- oped to demonstrate, facilitate and encourage the port is available in both “hard copy” format kind of linking of public relations education and and on the Commission on Public Relations practice that is the hallmark of any profession. Education website at www.commpred.org There is much to be done—by every public re- Selected highlights of the report follow. lations constituency—to complete this bonding. So, to emphasize the importance of this mis- Research for the Report sion, the Commission has prepared the special Based on five “waves” of research, the section, “A Call to Action,” as the conclusion of Commission concludes that there is substantial the report. agreement between educators and practitioners on what a public relations undergraduate stu- “The Professional Bond” report is not meant to dent should learn, and therefore be able to per- be prescriptive. Its recommendations are pre- form at the practitioner entry level. sented as objectives for excellence as identified by a cadre of distinguished educators and prac- Needed at this level: writing skills; critical titioners. And, developed in North America, it thinking and problem-solving skills; “a good at- is simply a point of reference for the develop- titude”; an ability to communicate publicly; ment of public relations education in other and initiative. parts of the world. There also was agreement that a public rela- Because it is so ambitious, the report is, neces- tions education should include an internship, sarily, lengthy. This summary is presented as a practicum or some other work experience in stimulant to the reader to partake of the entire the field. report or, at a minimum, to select those topics from among the report’s four basic categories The research also found considerable support 5
  • Executive Summary for interdisciplinary study in subjects such as Global Implications management and behavioral science. “Public relations is now arguably becoming a global profession in an increasingly connected Public Relations Ethics world where mutual understanding and harmony are more important than ever,” the report states. In addition to noting that professional ethics is largely predicated on the personal ethics of In recognizing that public relations varies, un- everyone in the public relations professional derstandably, with the society in which it is community, the Commission emphasizes that: practiced, the Commission in this section pres- ents seven levels of analysis to profile public re- ◆A consideration of ethics should pervade all lations education and practice in various parts content of public relations professional educa- of the world. tion. These levels of analysis are: cultural values and ◆ If a curriculum cannot accommodate a dedi- beliefs; laws and public policies; external cated ethics course, short one-hour courses or groups, organizations and associations; institu- mini seminars can provide a meaningful tional factors in the academic setting; interna- ethics forum for undergraduates. tional exchange programs; inter-personal factors within an institution; and intra-personal Diversity factors among students and educators. “Successful managers of organizations now rec- ognize that a diverse workforce—recruited, Undergraduate Education trained and retained—can deliver valuable in- “Undergraduate public relations education has sights and performance,” the report states. been shifting and repositioning itself in step This section presents an in-depth treatment of with the practice of public relations… When defining diversity, identifying its major ele- practitioners aid organizations in developing ments essential to public relations education mutually beneficial relationships among diverse and how, in the practice, public relations can publics, organizations thrive,” the report states. advance diversity in society. Therefore the Commission recommends more emphasis on ethics and transparency, new Communication Technology technology, integration of messages and tools, “Public relations educators must ensure that interdisciplinary problem solving, diversity, their students are prepared not only to be profi- global perspectives and research and results cient in the use of the most recent communica- measurement. tion technology, but also to understand and This section identifies a broad spectrum of appreciate the societal ramifications of its use. knowledge and skills that should be taught in Educators also must use this technology to the undergraduate public relations curriculum. maximize the effectiveness of their own in- struction,” the report states. Knowledge to be acquired ranges from commu- nication and persuasion concepts and strategies, The Commission therefore recommends that relationships and relationship-building and soci- the latest communication technology used in etal trends to uses of research and forecasting, the public relations practice be integrated into multicultural and global issues and manage- coursework to the extent that institutional re- ment concepts and theories. A similar sampling sources will allow; and that student proficiency of the skills to be attained ranges from mastery with such technology may be achieved largely through internships. of language in written and oral communica- 6 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • ◆ Public tions, issues management and audience seg- relations writing and production mentation to informative and persuasive writ- ◆ Supervised work experience in public ing, critical listening skills and applying relations (internship) cross-cultural and cross-gender sensitivity. ◆ An additional public relations course in law The Commission has identified the following and ethics, planning and management, case courses for an “ideal” undergraduate major in studies or campaigns public relations: ◆ Introduction to public relations (including Graduate Education theory, origin and principles) In qualitative research conducted for this re- ◆ Casestudies in public relations that review port, 18 public relations leaders supported sev- the professional practice eral types of graduate public relations programs rather than endorsing the MBA or dismissing ◆ Publicrelations research, measurement and public relations graduate education as unneces- evaluation sary. The Commission’s research suggests that ◆ Public relations law and ethics graduate education should move toward under- standing business, management and public re- ◆ Public relations writing and production lations as strategic management functions. ◆ Public relations planning and management MASTER’S LEVEL ◆ Public relations campaigns The graduate student should master the follow- ◆ Supervised work experience in public rela- ing content areas beyond undergraduate com- tions (internship) petencies: ◆ Directed electives ◆ Public relations theory and concepts “Although some academic programs will find it ◆ Public relations law difficult to offer seven courses devoted entirely ◆ Public relations ethics to public relations, the Commission believes the topics covered in the courses above are essen- ◆ Global public relations tial for a quality public relations education. ◆ Public relations applications While these topics could be combined into courses in different ways, and some of these ◆ Public relations management courses might also address additional topics, a ◆ Public relations research major should offer sufficient courses to address the knowledge and skills identified as neces- ◆ Public relations programming and production sary for success in the field,” the report states. ◆ Public relations publics The report continues: “A minimum of five ◆ Communication processes courses should be required in the public rela- tions major.” An academic emphasis should ◆ Management sciences minimally include the following courses: ◆ Behavioral sciences ◆ Introduction to public relations (including ◆ Internship and practicum experience theory, origin and principles) ◆ Thesis ◆ Public and capstone project and/or relations research, measurement and evaluation comprehensive exam 7 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Executive Summary The Commission also notes courses such as Distance Learning these can be configured in three different mod- Commission research determined that despite els, depending on student intent—doctoral pro- the rapid growth of online education (distance gram, advanced career preparation or a learning) in the United States, no complete un- specialization in public relations. dergraduate public relations online program ap- pears to be available at the time of its research. DOCTORAL LEVEL However, the six universities in the Tennessee The Commission notes that the production of Board of Regents System offer a five-course pub- doctoral graduates has not kept pace with the lic relations sequence (principles, writing, re- need, either in education or in the practice. So search, case problems and campaigns) in their it recommends academic credentials and “in- organizational leadership concentration for an creased partnerships with professionals [practi- online bachelor of professional studies degree. tioners] and professional organizations to help At the graduate level, there is no entirely public educators stay current with the practice of pub- relations program that is totally online. lic relations.” In summary, the Commission suggests that It also recommends “the development of addi- “public relations in the next decade will need to tional doctoral programs where undergraduate include online education in its mix of delivery and master’s degree public relations program methods if it is to keep pace with professional strength and faculties exist” and lists a series of education.” To introduce quality online pro- initiatives to help achieve this outcome. grams, public relations program administrators and faculty must address resources (incentives, Supervised Experience design and development costs), pedagogy and quality assurance. This section provides a valuable checklist of 16 issues to be confronted in developing intern- ships appropriate to the academic institution Governance and Academic Support and its students. In addressing the difficult sub- The placement of academic programs within ject of paid or unpaid internships, the Commis- the administrative structure of universities seri- sion notes that “students almost always select ously affects the ability of such programs in the organizations to which they apply for in- public relations to independently respond and ternships, and organizations offering pay attract adapt to the needs of the public relations pro- the best candidates.” fession. For this and other reasons, the Commission rec- “Too, a dominant influencing factor at an insti- ommends that “sponsoring organizations of all tution of higher education is the degree of out- types—companies, firms, government agencies side funding support provided for, or, in some and nonprofits—pay public relations students cases, state legislative direction in political re- for internships.” sponse to a profession,” the report states. Among its other recommendations: academic The Commission therefore cites two critical credit for internships should be reserved for needs if public relations is to achieve status as a profession with generally accepted education workplace experiences that include an on-site requirements for performance: supervisor knowledgeable in public relations, and organizations should assign student interns ◆ Increased economic influence to supervisors who will routinely and clearly in- ◆ Increased involvement of professionals and struct students and evaluate their performance. 8 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • the profession to influence the development dent-managed firms through universities and of public relations education. opportunities for scholarships, awards and other support by organizations such as The This section recommends specific steps that LaGrant Foundation (internships and scholar- will increase responsiveness and accelerate ad- ships for minority students studying public re- vancement as well as intra-institution structural lations), the Council of PR Firms, the Arthur commitments that will strengthen public rela- Page Society and PRWeek magazine. tions programs appreciably. Program Certification and Accreditation Faculty Credentials Many public relations academic programs benefit There is a shortage of qualified public relations by being certified by the Public Relations Society educators, being made more acute by the in- of America (PRSA) and/or accredited by the creasing number of public relations students. Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). This challenge for the profession is com- pounded by the fact that colleges and universi- These programs gain from the extensive self-ex- ties are being pressured by accrediting bodies amination against certification and accredita- to fill faculty positions with Ph.D.s. tion standards of excellence. And they also acquire stature for having met these standards. The Ph.D. degree prepares faculty not only as teachers but also as scholars who conduct re- PRSA Certification examines the public rela- search using multiple methodologies to help tions program exclusively while ACEJMC ac- build theory that adds to the public relations creditation is a “unit” examination, i.e., it body of knowledge. reviews all mass communication programs at the institution, which often include print and “While the Commission believes there is a electronic journalism, advertising and public re- place in the academy for former practitioners lations. with substantial and significant experience, those practitioners may be expected to earn Both programs are voluntary. Each has nine their terminal degrees, i.e., their Ph.D.s, as a standards of review with recent added empha- credential for becoming full-time faculty,” the sis on diversity and outcomes assessment. report states. Currently, public relations programs at 14 U.S. universities, one Canadian college and one uni- Professional and versity in Argentina are certified by PRSA. Pre-Professional Organizations ACEJMC currently has granted accreditation to 88 mass communication units with public rela- Students studying public relations in the United tions programs. States have the opportunity to join any of a number of professional organizations or pre- The Commission recommends that more public professional organizations before they graduate. relations programs seek certification and/or By becoming active members of such organiza- accreditation and that more practitioners volun- tions, they can begin to see how they might fit teer to serve on site visiting teams for these im- into the profession and, perhaps, form a link to portant evaluations of academic excellence. In an entry-level position. addition, it urges public relations associations not now members of ACEJMC to consider join- This section provides detailed information on a ing the Council, thereby increasing public rela- number of U.S. and global organizations that assist students in such orientation. The section tions’ “share of voice” in this important also presents information on establishing stu- endeavor. 9 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Executive Summary A Call to Action tional support to public relations programs. Contemporary public relations education is still “Today, there are too few ‘angels’ young, searching for its “home”—and often its supporting public relations education, legitimacy—in academe. The field is largely but just a few can lead the way.” populated by practitioners who never had an Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA opportunity for its formal study, thus learning 50-year public relations executive and donor their craft primarily from lengthy experience. “What a wonderful service you have That picture is changing. Graduates from public done for public relations in compiling relations academic programs are entering the the list of major gifts to forward public field in increasing numbers. relations education” Harold Burson, APR, Fellow PRSA “While the record of broad support for public Burson-Marsteller relations education by professional groups is growing, there is a critical need for similar ac- tion by individual practitioners and the firms, A Good Place to Start companies and organizations with which they Here’s how: are associated and in which they are influen- tial,” the report states. Contact the development staff at your alma mater if it has a public relations program. If “Too few are contributing financial support to not, select a program from the list of PRSA- public relations programs in colleges and univer- certified units in the Program Certification sities of their choice,” according to the report. and Accreditation Section (http://prsa.org/_ This final section is the Commission’s clarion About/overview/certification.asp?ident= call to practitioners for a new level of commit- over5) or from the list of ACEJMC accred- ment to public relations education. It enumer- ited units (http://www2.ku.edu/~acejmc/ ates eight specific actions—some financial, STUDENT/PROGLIST.SHTML). A third op- some “in kind”—that practitioners can take to tion is to identify a program that sponsors strengthen the professional bond between edu- one of the more than 270 chapters of the cation and the practice. And, the Commission Public Relations Student Society of America notes, educators likewise can have a vital role (www.prssa.org). in strengthening that bond, mainly by taking Any of these first steps will put you on the the initiative to establish or nurture relation- road to supporting not only the individual ships with practitioners and their organizations. public relations program but also The Professional Bond—Public Relations The “A Call to Action” section also presents the Education and the Practice. first known “Sampling of Major Gifts to Public Relations Education,” a valuable compendium www.commpred.org of such largesse provided to stimulate addi- 10 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Preface This report is required reading for everyone who thinks public relations professionalism matters: practitioners, educators, students and university administrators. If you work in public relations, or teach it, you tors as they develop public relations curricula probably have used the word “profession” from and administer programs in this field, the time to time. Indeed, when we define public re- Commission on Public Relations Education be- lations in its broadest sense—as an essential lieves that this report will have value for a management function that helps an organiza- broad spectrum of other audiences as well: tion and its publics build relationships that en- ◆ Public relations practitioners, as employers in able them to understand and support one virtually every kind of institution. They will another—a case can certainly be made that pub- gain a clearer picture of how public relations lic relations is a profession. education prepares today’s students to match Many scholars argue that an occupation be- practitioners’ criteria for entry and growth in comes a profession only if certain conditions the field—and perhaps conclude that practi- exist, among them: tioners must increase their support for public relations education. ◆ a substantial body of research-based knowledge; ◆ Business, government and nonprofit leaders. ◆ standardized education systems to help create This audience may find new insights into and disseminate that knowledge; how public relations can help organizations ◆a commitment to lifelong professional learning; build and maintain robust, mutually benefi- cial relationships with stakeholders at a ◆ core ethical principles; time when the challenges of globalization, ◆ and technology, diversity and ethics have never a fundamental sense of responsibility, in- been greater. creasingly global in scope, for bettering our civil societies. ◆ Students who are studying or considering public relations at the undergraduate and While it might seem that The Professional Bond has been developed primarily to assist educa- graduate levels. They will learn the intellectu- 11
  • Preface ally challenging, socially significant field that eties in the field of public relations and commu- awaits them—where job prospects are bright- nication. The Commission published its first est for those who have experienced a curricular guidelines in 1975. The 2006 report thoughtful, well-rounded curriculum that pre- marks the fourth revision over three decades. pares them for what lies ahead. The last report, issued in 1999, carried the title ◆ Universityadministrators who may develop a A Port of Entry. That report articulated its mis- stronger appreciation for the growing appeal sion as providing guidelines, recommendations of public relations study, as evidenced by in- and standards for public relations education— creasing enrollments. They will perhaps be undergraduate, graduate and continuing—for moved to channel increased support to such the early 21st Century. programs. The 2006 report seeks to surpass even the ambi- This report is structured for all of these audi- tious mission of 1999 in connecting public rela- ences. An executive summary, available in both tions education more closely with the practice. print and online, aims to satisfy those who seek This new effort reflects two years of national re- to quickly grasp the overall direction and im- search and study conducted pro bono by the portance of the Commission’s recommenda- Commission’s educators and practitioners. It tions. Readers in search of more depth will will be judged a success if intended audiences want to review the complete report, which also conclude that public relations education today is available in print and online. is more attuned than ever to helping the profes- sion build understanding, credibility and trust The Commission on Public Relations Education includes representatives of 12 professional soci- between organizations and their publics. 12 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Introduction The Commission on Public Relations Education said in its October, 1999, report, A Port of Entry, “The changes in public relations practice since the 1987 Commission on Public Relations Education report are numerous and profound…. By any measure, the growth of the public relations profession over the past decade has been astonishing.” This is an understatement when the growth ments. It is also occurring relative to other areas within communication, journalism and and changes occurring since the 1999 report are related fields such as marketing and manage- examined. This growth and five major areas of ment. For example, the May 2005 AEJMC change inform this 2006 report. Newsletter of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication [AEJMC] Growth reported that in just the 197 universities re- This report began as an interim effort on the sponding to a survey, there were “281 pro- way to a new full report in 2009, 10 years after grams—133 in public relations, 95 in the last report. Commission members soon dis- advertising and 53 advertising-PR joint pro- covered, however, that the practice of public re- grams. Since 1992-93, the number of public re- lations has grown and changed so much since lations programs increased by 14, while 1999 that an interim report would have been advertising dropped 25.” On yet another and inadequate. For example, in a field that was very important front, the Public Relations once predominantly male, females now consti- Student Society of America has grown to more tute almost two-thirds of all practitioners and as than 270 chapters. much as 70 to 80 percent of undergraduate en- Another sign of growth: journalism as a profes- rollment in some university programs, an im- sion appears to be losing ground to public rela- balance that has been increasing since 1999. tions as reflected in projected growth in Growth in public relations education is not just employment. The 2006 Bureau of Labor a matter of raw numbers, such as those re- Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook flected in ever-increasing classroom enroll- (http://www.bls.gov.oco/ocos086.htm) pre- 13
  • Introduction dicts that public relations employment will qualified faculty with both theoretical and ex- periential credentials. grow from 18 to 26 percent between 2004 and 2014 while jobs for “news analysts, reporters In addition to growth, the Commission identi- and correspondents” are expected to be rela- fied five major themes that characterize the de- tively flat over the same period, growing only 0 velopment of public relations since the last to 8 percent. report: strategic emphasis, internationalization of the practice, the importance of diversity, an essential emphasis on ethics and social respon- … (T)he field of public relations has grown sibility, and increased questions about curricu- lar and structural independence on some and changed so much since 1999 that an campuses. interim report would have been inadequate. Themes Strategic Emphasis and Professionalism One downside of such growth has been the The Commission recognizes how rapidly public teaching of public relations-related course con- relations is developing from a set of technical tent in management, marketing and corporate skills into a much more strategic, professional communication programs by faculty not experi- and management-focused endeavor. Public re- enced in public relations nor properly creden- lations is moving up the corporate and public- tialed to teach the subject. As a result we now sector ladders. As a result: understand that: ◆ While fundamental writing skills remain at ◆ Once-a-decade Commission reports may be the core of public relations education, busi- inadequate. ness and industry have become so strategi- cally oriented in the information age that too ◆ Ratherthan simply reporting its growth and much focus on technical skills in a curricu- progress, public relations education has lum may actually disadvantage graduates reached a point where it needs to develop who need greater research, problem-solving, new management strategies. strategic thinking, planning and management A paramount issue in the management of and counseling skills. growth in public relations education is finding ◆ Departments and programs that rely on su- ways to answer the need for more public rela- perficial similarities in writing style by hiring tions instructors trained in and committed to technically trained journalism, English and the field. In the past, teaching vacancies in the business writers in place of credentialed pub- field have too often been filled with instructors lic relations instructors are failing to provide without the Ph.D. or research and theory their students with a modern, competitive knowledge, without actual practitioner experi- public relations education. ence or both. Absent documented and specific public relations experience or graduate study in ◆ Training in research methods should now be public relations, a degree in English, business, only a half step behind writing training as a advertising, journalism, mass communication priority in the public relations curriculum be- or other professional fields is not evidence of cause sophisticated research is central to preparation to teach public relations. Indeed, as strategic planning and evaluation. Both quan- the field of public relations continues to grow titative and qualitative approaches should be and become more complex and professional, it taught as required core skills in all public re- is increasingly important to recruit only highly lations programs, but the most advanced pro- 14 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • grams will emphasize multi-methodological Diversity research for both planning and evaluation. To lead strategic communication efforts in an increasingly diverse society, public relations Internationalization must meet three diversity challenges. First, Public relations has become increasingly inter- public relations must become more diverse in national and intercultural in the last few the composition of its student and practitioner decades. The Commission’s 1999 report was populations. Second, public relations must be- mostly silent on international practice and edu- come more sophisticated in meeting the com- cation in public relations, partly to avoid munication needs of diverse communities. Commission members being seen as arrogant Third, public relations must draw on the diver- Americans. Today, public relations educators sity of the nation as a resource to strengthen readily acknowledge how much they have corporate, governmental and nonprofit commu- learned, individually and collectively, from nication. Therefore: practitioners and academics from other cul- ◆ Public relations education programs should tures, and the Commission recommends an on- reflect in their faculty and student composi- going and expanding exchange. tion the racial and ethnic makeup of the soci- Current curricula must be updated to reflect the ety and the campus to which they belong. In international and intercultural reality that is some cases, this might require new ap- modern public relations today: proaches to recruiting, while in others, inno- vative course offerings may be needed, and in ◆ Public relations educators in the United States still others, changes in policies or practices should integrate the experiences of practition- may be needed to attract and retain good mi- ers and teachers in developing areas of the nority students. world into their curricula, including lessons learned from portions of non-Islamic Asia, the ◆ Major issues in diversity, such as the unique Islamic world, sub-Saharan Africa, South economic, employment and health-risk issues America and Eastern Europe. confronting minority communities, should be addressed in the public relations curriculum ◆ An emphasis on globalization, intercultural so that public relations students are better studies and international programs can now equipped to understand the needs of diverse be found in the strategic plans of most uni- publics. versities. No academic field on a campus, ex- cept perhaps international studies, is more ◆ Public relations curricula also should help inherently international than public relations. students develop a sophisticated understand- Public relations curricula should reflect this ing of the particular communication chan- fact, and public relations academics should nels, strategies and customs of minority play an active role in helping to international- publics to facilitate more sensitive and effec- ize their campuses. tive campaigns in both minority and majority communities. ◆ Because strategic communication campaigns are one of international terrorism’s primary Ethics and Social Responsibility weapons, public relations academics have a As public relations evolves into a more strate- special responsibility to contribute to anti-ter- gic and international practice, it affects more rorism initiatives on their campuses and to people more profoundly, does so in more coun- use opportunities to educate colleagues on tries and cultures and does so more quickly the requirements of ethical public relations campaigns. than ever before. As a result, public relations 15 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Introduction practitioners and academics alike have ele- relations students often do not get used to hire vated their concern for ethics by, for example, well-qualified public relations faculty or to offer impanelling a National Ethics Commission and needed writing, research and practicum authorizing a major revision of the PRSA Code courses. This means in some cases that public of Ethics in 2000. relations programs have been, or may be, un- able to fully implement recommendations in ◆ Revisions of the PRSA Code (first adopted in the 1999 and 2006 Commission reports. 1951), as well as the wording of the Code of Ethics of the International Public Relations The Commission recognizes department and Association (IPRA), reflect an increasing con- university administrators have to make re- cern for the social, as well as the economic, source-allocation decisions based on a variety role of public relations. of student needs so that using public relations- generated resources to support other programs ◆ Much of the tremendous expansion and accel- is sometimes appropriate. Nevertheless, when eration of public relations practice over the tuition dollars of public relations students are past decade can be traced to new information used to fund other subject areas, the effect is to technologies, such as the Internet. As a result, give public relation students a smaller return on public relations curricula will need to develop their tuition dollars than students in other areas more sophisticated ethical analyses to help of journalism, mass communication or (speech) guide practitioners in ethics and the use of communication. Thus: new information technologies throughout and within other cultures. ◆ Decisions to use tuition funds from public re- lations students to help fund other areas of a program should be formally and periodically ...(C)ontinued growth and reviewed and disclosed to the public relations faculty and students involved. success in public relations requires ◆ The Commission takes no position on lifelong learning. whether independent departments of public relations are desirable. Such decisions should be based on careful consideration of institu- Curricular and Structural Independence tional missions and program goals as well as The Commission found an amorphous but an evaluation of how to achieve quality pub- growing sense that public relations might bene- lic relations education and professional prepa- fit as a profession and in its educational devel- ration of students. Independence might offer opment by sometimes being taught outside of great opportunities in some cases and great journalism/mass communication and (speech) risks in others. communication units, the traditional academic ◆ In this era of decreasing tax support for pub- homes of public relations education. One con- lic education, the level of practitioner support cern of public relations educators and students an occupation enjoys is viewed as a major in- is that the Commission’s recommended curricu- dicator of the social value of the field. Public lum revisions, intensive writing training and relations has succeeded in building several ef- practitioner links that are needed in public rela- fective bridges between the practitioner and tions may not be feasible in combined journal- academic communities, although still more ism, mass communication or communication are needed. For example, this Commission is departments where public relations’ large en- a joint academician-practitioner body. Public rollments often are used to fund other subject areas. As a result, funds generated from public relations practitioners need to substantially 16 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • upgrade their level of financial and other sup- report is divided into 17 sections to facilitate finding the specific content a reader may need. port for academic programs, however, if they These sections are: are to assure adequate university program support for their profession. Executive Summary Preface A Call to Action Introduction Finally, the Commission wishes to note two Research critically important subjects of significance to Ethics today’s—and tomorrow’s—public relations practitioners. The Commission suggests that Diversity practitioners and educators pay special atten- Communication Technology tion to the “A Call to Action” section of this re- Global Implications port which presents a range of initiatives that Undergraduate Education individuals and organizations can undertake to strengthen the bond between public relations Graduate Education education and the practice. Frankly, practi- Supervised Experience tioner support of public relations education has Distance Learning been inadequate. It is time to remedy this Governance and Academic Support shortcoming! Faculty Credentials Too, the Commission notes that, as in all pro- Pre-Professional Organizations fessions, continued growth and success in pub- Professional Certification and Accreditation lic relations requires lifelong learning. The opportunities for such professional develop- A Call to Action ment, too many to be identified in this report, While this report benefits greatly from the are as varied as they are vital—with many such overall editing of Judy VanSlyke Turk, Ph.D., opportunities provided by the professional soci- APR, Fellow PRSA, the reader will note that the eties that are represented on the Commission. sections of this report vary somewhat in writ- The Commission urges every public relations ing style and structure. This is intentional, professional to commit to such study, not only both because it gives the reader some flavor of for personal achievement, but also for further the variety of practitioner and academic bodies development of the public relations profession. that comprise the Commission and, we hope, because it helps reach a spectrum of public re- Structure of the Report lations-related audiences with a variety of Recognizing that Commission reports often are voices from both public relations education used more as reference works than as texts, this and practice. 17 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • 18 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Research This report of the Commission on Public Relations Education draws on the findings of five research projects conducted in the United States by Commission members: ◆A survey of public relations practitioners and survey about internships for public relations educators. Randomly selected practitioners students at their colleges and universities. and educators were surveyed on the state of ◆A survey of leaders of public relations aca- public relations education’s student outcomes demic programs at colleges and universities. and curricula at both undergraduate and Program heads were asked to report on the graduate levels. growth and expansion of public relations cur- ◆ Personal interviews were conducted with ricula and enrollment at their institutions. leading senior practitioners and educators. There was substantial agreement across the five Telephone interviews were conducted with a studies and between practitioners and educators purposive sample of leading practitioners about what public relations students should from corporate, agency and nonprofit public study and learn, and about what public relations relations. They were asked their perspectives practitioners should be able to do at both the on public relations practice trends and how entry level and in senior positions. There also public relations undergraduate and graduate was substantial agreement between these 2006 education could best contribute to improving studies and those conducted by the Commission the practice of public relations. in 1999 prior to its Port of Entry report. ◆A survey of leaders of public relations firms. Members of the Council of Public Relations What Skills Practitioners Need Firms were asked their perceptions of the This body of research findings indicates that value of public relations education as a hiring the top-rated competencies sought in hiring credential and as preparation for employment. entry-level practitioners are writing skills, criti- ◆A cal thinking and problem-solving skills, a good survey of faculty advisers to the Public attitude, the ability to communicate publicly Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Advisers were asked in a Web-based and initiative. For practitioners at a more ad- 19
  • Research vanced level, research skills, the ability to han- lic relations education should include an intern- dle the media professionally, work experience ship, practicum or other work experience in the in public relations, knowledge of the role of field. The survey of faculty advisers to PRSSA public relations on the management team and Chapters indicated that virtually all public rela- knowledge of issues management are the most tions students complete at least one internship. prized characteristics. At the graduate level, the research showed con- All too often, however, those competencies and siderable support for interdisciplinary study skills are weak or missing in both entry-level that might, for instance, include communica- and more advanced practitioners. Writing skills, tion, management and behavioral science. understanding of business practices and critical thinking and problem-solving skills were identi- Trends Affecting Public Relations Practice fied as deficiencies in entry-level practitioners, These curriculum recommendations were con- while research skills, a global perspective and sistent with what both practitioners and educa- experience with a variety of cultures were prob- tors identified as trends in the practice of public lematic among more experienced practitioners. relations. The public relations knowledge and skills they identified as essential would prepare What a Public Relations Curriculum students to succeed professionally in the con- Should Include text of these trends: A public relations curriculum that would prop- ◆ the need for transparency and accountability erly prepare undergraduate students to meet the expectations and challenges of public rela- ◆ the increasing value of public relations to tions careers would, according to this research, top management include this essential course content: ◆ thedemand for public relations research ◆ writing and speaking skills methodology, measurement and metrics ◆ the fundamentals of public relations ◆ globalization ◆ strategic thinking skills ◆ an increasingly complex and difficult ethical environment ◆ research skills ◆ challenges to institutional trust and credibility ◆ planning and problem-solving skills ◆ rapidly changing media ◆ ethics ◆ technological change ◆ thefundamentals of how organizations operate ◆ the increasing importance of internal audiences ◆ liberal arts and sciences ◆ the need for organizations to integrate There also was substantial agreement that pub- their communication 20 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Ethics In today’s practice of public relations, ethical conduct is quintessential. Modern public relations is defined by ethical principles, and no public relations practice should exist in contemporary society without a full commitment to ethical practice. Ethics for the public relations profes- sion can be defined as a set of a priori principles, beliefs and values that should be followed by all who engage in public relations practice. Ethical conduct transcends geographical and Recent business and communication scandals have emphasized the importance of honest, geopolitical boundaries, and a common stan- fair and transparent public relations, which is a dard for ethical conduct should apply across must in today’s business environment. One of different countries and regions. Thus, interna- the greatest challenges for public relations pro- tional ethical standards should be closely ex- fessionals is to demonstrate and prove that amined and followed. Of course, cultural new ways of thinking and new practices are in- variables must be considered when public rela- deed founded on ethical principles. New-gener- tions professionals practice abroad. However, ation professionals should follow honest practitioners should be cautious about deter- practices to build a fundamental trust between mining that questionable practices are “cultur- publics and organizations. This transparency ally bound.” Rather, public relations requires ethical decision-making and an in- professionals should carefully examine creasingly influential role at the table where whether these practices are indeed commonly decisions are made. adopted within a culture and are considered to be ethical by the majority of local profession- The successful public relations practitioner is als. Also, a practice is not necessarily ethical highly intelligent, literate and well-read, an ed- just because it is widely adopted in one or ucated global citizen with an extensive knowl- more countries, as research on international edge of both the history of civilization and of media transparency has pointed out global current events. The practitioner pos- (Kruckeberg & Tsetsura, 2003; Tsetsura, 2005). sesses excellent professional communication 21
  • Ethics skills and has both exceptional depth and Summary of Recommendations in the breadth in public relations theory. Commission’s October 1999 Report The October 1999 Report of the Commission on Equally as important as this professional com- Public Relations Education identified ethical is- petence is public relations practitioners’ ethical sues as a component of requisite knowledge in conduct in both their professional and personal an undergraduate education, i.e., as a part of lives. Reflexively, the traits of successful practi- what graduates should know and understand. The report also identified ethical decision-mak- …(W)hile public relations professional ing as a necessary skill. For graduate education, the October 1999 report identified public rela- education… cannot make students ethical,… tions ethics as a content area that should be such education can define and teach mastered at a level beyond that expected of un- dergraduates, recommending a seminar on pub- professional ethics. lic relations ethics and philosophy in a sample 30-hour program. Significantly, the October 1999 Commission report listed as first among tioners help to assure that these professionals its 12 assumptions: “The ethical practice of are capable of making informed and well-rea- public relations is the context in which and for soned ethical decisions. Practitioners also must which education must occur.” appreciate the societal, organizational and per- sonal necessities for abiding by the highest eth- The report further declared that graduates of ical conduct. And, while public relations public relations programs should be “ethical professional education perhaps cannot make leaders appreciative of cultural diversity and students ethical, either professionally or per- the global society,” further noting, “Public rela- sonally, such education can define and teach tions practitioners and educators should be professional ethics. It can provide a body of leaders in building understanding that public knowledge about the process of ethical deci- relations has a fundamental responsibility to sion-making that can help students not only to society and adds value to society.” The study of recognize ethical dilemmas, but to use appro- codes of ethics in public relations, as well as in priate critical thinking skills to help resolve other professions, was considered to be essen- these dilemmas in a way that results in an ethi- tial in undergraduate education. Specific legal cal outcome. issues such as privacy, defamation, copyright, product liability and financial disclosure were Educators and their institutions, in communica- to be studied as well as legal and regulatory tion and consultation with practitioners, also compliance and credibility. The 1999 must identify and resolve their own profes- Commission report further suggested that at sional ethical issues related to public relations least one course in public relations law and education. Such issues revolve around the ethics should be included in the curricula of types and numbers of students recruited for public relations programs. this professional education and the likelihood The October 1999 Commission report identified of these students’ success, as well as the num- some ethical issues that merited attention in bers and credentials of faculty who are as- graduate education: signed to public relations professional education and the budgetary and other re- ◆ philosophical principles sources that colleges and universities invest in ◆ international ethical issues public relations education. 22 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • ◆ concealment vs. disclosure need for transparency and the increasing trend in accountability, with ethics a more complex ◆ divided loyalties and social responsibility consideration today. The Commission’s quanti- tative research echoed these concerns. ◆ accountability And it has become abundantly obvious that ◆ professionalism public relations cannot be viewed as a “mass ◆ codes of ethics media” career bound by traditional media ethics. Rather, it must be seen as a profession ◆ whistleblowing of counselors who help to create and maintain ◆ confidentiality an organization’s relationships with its stake- holders and with society at large through ◆ ethical dealing with the media means that extend far beyond practitioners’ his- ◆ solicitation of new business toric expertise in sending messages through the mass media. Public relations practitioners are ◆ ethics of research counselors who are knowledgeable–theoreti- ◆ logical arguments cally as well as technically–about communica- tion in its broadest and most philosophical ◆ multicultural and gender diversity sense. The ethical issues of public relations, The report urged Ph.D. candidates to conduct therefore, extend beyond those of the mass dissertation research that would help to address media. Coursework and instruction dedicated such important public relations issues as social to mass media ethics cannot fully satisfy the responsibility. needs of public relations professional educa- tion. Progress and Change Since the 1999 Report 2006 Recommendations Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that pub- 1. All learning objectives in public relations edu- lic relations educators and professionals are cation must be placed within the framework recognizing the increasing importance and and context of public relations ethics. complexity of public relations ethics in the 21st Professional ethics must not only be inte- Century. Exciting new research is being re- grated into all coursework in public relations, ported not only by senior scholars, but also by but must also be given priority as a discrete younger scholars who have made ethics an im- component of the public relations curriculum. portant and, in some cases, primary part of Public relations ethics are critically important their research agendas. because public relations practitioners share with other professional occupations not only the ability to significantly help (or hurt) their New Research Findings and Analysis clients, but also the ability to greatly influ- The Commission’s most recent research ence stakeholders and society at large. strongly indicates that, given the organizational crises of recent years, ethics and organizational 2. Public relations practitioners have an un- transparency are key issues frequently dis- questionable moral obligation to act profes- cussed by both practitioners and educators. sionally, i.e., in a socially responsible Qualitative research participants urged under- manner, within their own societies as well as graduate education programs to include an ex- within an emerging global community. To do amination of ethical issues and societal trends so, the community of public relations profes- in their curricula. These participants noted the sionals, both practitioners and educators, 23 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Ethics must publicly define their relationship to so- lidity of the recommendations of the October ciety as earning a position of trust. Their be- 1999 Commission report, but with even more havior must be consonant with the emphasis. Specifically: expectations of society, although they have ◆ The Commission recommends that a consid- the freedom and responsibility to determine eration of ethics pervade all content of public what they ethically may and may not do as a relations professional education. This ethics content should be a readily identifiable com- ponent that is well-contextualized and inte- … (N)o public relations practice should grated, particularly in introductory, campaigns and cases courses in public rela- exist in contemporary society without a tions, as well as in law and ethics courses. full commitment to ethical practice. The last must extend beyond the law and ethics of mass media to include public rela- tions law and ethics. Indeed, the Commission professional community within their soci- urges that every public relations course begin ety’s moral parameters. These professional its syllabus and its first class with the state- ethics must consider both the wider moral ment that every true profession recognizes values of society as well as the aims of pub- that a fundamental priority of any profession lic relations practice. is its responsibility toward society at large. Of course, this “professional” role with its ◆ While public relations curricula may not have accompanying need for professional ethics room for a dedicated public relations ethics necessarily elevates public relations practi- course, one-hour short courses and mini-sem- tioners above the organizational role of obe- inars on public relations ethics at the under- dient technicians who blindly do the will of graduate level can provide a meaningful managers. Complex organizations depend on forum for contemporary ethical issues. a range of professionals who have unique ◆ At the graduate level, seminars in public rela- knowledge and skills and who exert great in- tions ethics are recommended, and graduate fluence over the behavior of these organiza- students, particularly at the doctoral level, tions through their professional ideologies, should be encouraged to consider public rela- theories, values and worldviews. tions ethics as a primary area of scholarly in- 3. The ethical values of such public relations quiry. professionals influence the behavior of their ◆ Educators and their students, particularly organizations, and thus their professional their graduate students, have an obligation to values become organizational values. Those critically examine and add to the body of in the public relations professional commu- knowledge of public relations ethics through nity must develop, continually refine and their research and other scholarship. publicly acknowledge their professional ide- ology, values and belief systems to fulfill ◆ Educators and their institutions also must their professional responsibilities. These val- identify and resolve their own professional ues can and must be taught to students who ethical issues that are related to public rela- hopefully will accept and assimilate these tions education. Those providing public rela- common values that result in a morally de- tions education must fully appreciate: fensible body of professional ethics. – the importance of public relations as a pro- The Commission recognizes the continuing va- fessional occupation in the 21st Century; 24 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • – the knowledge and skills required for a adequacy of the numbers and credentials of successful career in public relations in faculty who are assigned to public relations today’s society; professional education as well as the budget- ary and other resources that institutions in- – the extreme competition for public rela- vest in public relations education. tions positions; – the fact that only the most qualified and The Commission notes that professional ethics best educated students realistically can are predicated upon the personal ethics of compete in this career. everyone who is part of the public relations professional community. Public relations icon ◆ As well as course content, academic rigor also Betsy Plank, who has been a leading member must be ensured through normative stan- of the Commission since its inception, perhaps dards. Preparation for a professional career in says this best: public relations demands rigorous profes- sional education. In professionalized occupa- In recent years, the more I have been tions, e.g., law and medicine, the needs of concerned and thought about profes- society are of first concern, followed by the sional ethics, the more I am convinced professional community’s judgment of an in- that they must–inevitably–be grounded dividual aspirant’s worthiness to join that in personal behavior and character. professional community. The goals of the in- What does it profit us if students can dividual student are of tertiary concern. This recite ethical codes and be critical of should also be true for the profession of pub- untrustworthy corporate behaviors but lic relations. succumb to cheating, plagiarism, et al…? Or if faculty are not vigilant about ◆ Finally, colleges and universities providing public relations education must ensure the penalizing such behavior? Notes Kruckeberg, D. & Tsetsura, K. (2003). International index of bribery for news coverage (Institute for Public Relations). Abstract retrieved September 3, 2006, from http://www.instituteforpr.org/index.php/IPR/research_single/index_of_bribery/ Tsetsura, K. (2005). Bribery for news coverage: Research in Poland (Institute for Public Relations). Abstract retrieved September 3, 2006, from: http://www.instituteforpr.org/index.php/IPR/research_single/bribery_for_news/ Plank, Betsy. Fax to Dean Kruckeberg, July 22, 2006 25 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • 26 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Diversity The growing commitment to diversity within the public relations profession—in both education and the practice—is a reflection of the change and progress in society since the Commission’s 1999 report. Successful managers in all types of organi- practice, public relations can advance diversity in society. zations now recognize that a diverse employee workforce—recruited, trained and retained— can deliver valuable insights and performance Critical Definitions and Outcomes not only in terms of human resources and All public relations practitioners, educators and marketing but also in such C-suite functions students should be aware of the following as strategic planning and issues manage- terms related to diversity and their application ment. to modern public relations practice. The higher education establishment also has Diversity—Essentially, diversity is defined as recognized the importance of this “culture of all differences that exist between and among inclusion” and has encouraged it—one might people. Typically, diversity is divided into pri- say, mandated it—with new standards for ac- mary and secondary dimensions, primary being creditation of schools of journalism/mass com- characteristics that are innate and can’t be munication and certification of public relations changed (such as gender, age, nationality, sex- programs. And public relations professional so- ual/affectional orientation, ethnicity and race) cieties, trade associations and research founda- and secondary being characteristics that can be tions are emphasizing diversity via many altered (such as religion, geographics, marital offerings to their members. status and military service). Understanding the role these dimensions play in how people com- The Commission decided that although diver- municate is as essential as ensuring that organi- sity is addressed in other sections of this report, zations demonstrate inclusiveness toward the the subject is worthy of a focused, in-depth diversity of their employees, volunteers and treatment here. So this section will define diver- other key publics. sity, identify its major elements essential to public relations education and suggest how, in Culture—Often diversity is confused with cul- 27
  • Diversity ture, because some dimensions of diversity, es- fulfilling prophesies and lead to prejudice. Use of stereotypes often reinforces misinformation pecially race, ethnicity, regionality and nation- and causes problems even if stereotyping is ality, have cultures of their own. Culture is done unwittingly. Stereotyping can be just as typically defined as the sum total of ways of liv- dangerous as prejudice, which is an irrational ing, including behavioral norms, linguistic ex- dislike, suspicion or hatred of a certain demo- pression, styles of communication, patterns of graphic group. Prejudice is often manifested as thinking and beliefs and values of a group large racism, sexism and homophobia, creating nega- tive actions, policies, words and beliefs based (P)ractitioners, educators and students on race, gender or sexual orientation. Public re- lations practitioners also need to recognize the must develop an introspective awareness dangers of being ethnocentric in their thoughts of their own individual cultures, and approaches to managing public relations projects and teams. Ethnocentrism is the nega- socialization and privileges... tive judgment of other cultures based on the belief that a particular cultural perspective is better than others. enough to be self-sustaining and transmitted over the course of generations. Frequently, cul- ture plays a greater role in determining commu- PR’s Strategic Role in Diversity nication behavior than race, ethnicity or other Diversity in public relations often takes two diversity factors and is what creates conflicts forms: intercultural/multicultural communica- because of differences in communication styles tion and diversity management. The intercul- associated with those cultures. tural/multicultural communication aspect of diversity relates to the practice of public rela- Segmentation—Regardless of the different tions particularly when the organization is com- groups to which individuals may belong, public municating with one (intercultural) or more relations practitioners must learn how to iden- (multicultural) cultural groups different from its tify what elements of diversity are salient in own. Learning how culture and diversity play a various situations and must acknowledge that role in each aspect of a public relations project saliency often is based on whether individuals (research, planning, communicating and evalua- identify with the culture or characteristics asso- tion) is therefore critical for intercultural/multi- ciated with that dimension of diversity. Often, cultural communication. people ascribe identities to people in particular demographic groups or cultures based on what The diversity management aspect of public rela- a person looks or sounds like or on where an tions involves human resource, staffing, team, individual resides or was born. Such an ascrip- vendor and personnel functions. Managing di- tion can lead to stereotyping and other prob- versity well will improve the retention of diverse lems that make communication difficult and teams, which is considered beneficial to devel- problematic. oping innovative solutions and campaigns. Public relations practitioners and scholars must Stereotypes—Stereotypes are judgments become familiar with, be able to apply and be about an individual based on that person’s willing to research the best practices in both as- membership in a particular classification. Even pects of diversity within public relations. though stereotypes can be positive as well as negative, they often are harmful because most Contemporary organizations increasingly have are typically incorrect, apply general beliefs un- had to deal with diversity issues and needs, fairly to individuals, can lead to negative self- and public relations practitioners should be at 28 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • the forefront in helping organizations respond of people are labeled. to these matters. Therefore, public relations ◆ use technological developments to advance practitioners should be involved in an organiza- global discourse and business. tion’s efforts to: ◆ recognize, as national economics become ◆ communicate the benefits of diversity initia- more global in reach, why having a broader tives to the workforce and external publics. cultural perspective is essential. ◆ keeppace with the changing demographics of ◆ demonstrate how public relations is making the organization’s external environment. full use of the diverse backgrounds, skills and perspectives of all people, thus making work- ◆ understand how different people work and ing relationships stronger and more effective. communicate. ◆ ensure a diverse mix of talent is used on cam- ◆ advance the organization through relation- paigns and projects to bring about innovation ship-building with diverse internal and exter- and creativity, thereby increasing productivity nal constituent groups. and efficiency. ◆ respond better to social change by interpret- ◆ apply diversity awareness as a means to re- ing, explaining and translating how organiza- duce the confusion of practices and policies tions must adapt to events that occur in a concerning issues of affirmative action and rapidly developing and evolving world. discrimination and to move beyond the focus ◆ understand on ethnicity and gender to a focus on per- that in a global environment, or- formance—a quality of the work environment ganizations have to think differently about di- where employee skills are used more equi- versity—no longer competing for local dollars, tably and effectively. but for dollars in the greater marketplace. ◆ recognize power imbalances that may exist ◆ understand how immigration can enrich a between the organization and its publics and culture and how governments, businesses develop measures to ensure the organization and other organizations must adjust to handle is listening to and proactively engaging disen- possible pressure on economic, social, politi- franchised and other possibly marginalized cal and educational systems. groups. ◆ remain sensitive to matters of diversity and re- To attain the ability to address these and other spond to a more diverse workplace and cultural issues, practitioners, educators and students environment generally and particularly as laws must develop an introspective awareness of have increasingly protected the civil rights of their own individual cultures, socialization and women and minority groups and equal oppor- privileges as well as keen research skills to en- tunities have become a greater reality. sure their communication and other public rela- ◆ addressthe challenges of political correct- tions techniques are sensitive, appropriate and ness, especially as it focuses on how groups effective. 29 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • 30 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Communication Technology The use of communication technology is ubiquitous in contemporary public relations practice, and often there’s no choice but to adopt the newest communication technology. For example, even the smallest and most tradi- to appreciate and to continually explore the so- tional businesses require the Web sites that cietal ramifications of continually emerging their customers expect, and the submission of a communication technology. Students must simple news release to a mass medium’s elec- learn strategies, not only for using this technol- tronic newsroom must satisfy the technological ogy, but also for dealing with its effects, rang- requirements of that medium. Organizations ing from the ready availability of virtually all must continually monitor blogs, recognizing types of information to questions of personal that harmful rumors can spread worldwide in and organizational privacy. minutes. The contemporary practice of public Public relations practitioners are among the relations requires practitioners to immediately heaviest users of today’s communication tech- respond to emerging issues and crisis situations nology. However, technology remains simply a via Web sites, blogs and other new media. tool–albeit an important tool–that practitioners Today, the choice of communication channels is must manage. This means public relations pro- dictated by technology: a practitioner must seri- fessionals must not be unduly constrained by ously consider which message forms and chan- technology in developing their communication nels would be best for specific publics. Often, strategies, nor must practitioners’ strategies new technological forms and channels, such as and tactics be restricted by the technicians electronic pitching, podcasting and blogging, who develop and maintain organizations’ com- prevail over traditional news releases and munication technology infrastructures. Rather, media kits. public relations practitioners must be the man- Thus, students must know how to use today’s agers of how their organizations strategically communication technology and must monitor use communication technology to affect public and most likely adopt rapidly and unpre- relationships. Within their organizations, pub- dictably changing technology. Equally impor- lic relations practitioners best understand that tant, public relations students must be taught communication technology that conquers time 31
  • Communication Technology and space by permitting instantaneous com- technology that had enabled a veritable explo- munication worldwide not only can create un- sion of one-to-one communication leading to derstanding and cultivate harmony and an uncontrolled, gateless dissemination of mes- empathy between an organization and its sages. Communication technology-related skills publics, but has great potential to generate the Commission regarded as necessary included misunderstanding and to exacerbate dishar- the management of information; technological mony and conflict. With considerable pre- and visual literacy (including use of the Internet and desktop publishing); and public relations writing and production for new media. Instructional recommendations included … (T)echnology remains simply a tool … a greater variety of teaching methods and tech- nologies that might be appropriate in continu- that practitioners must manage. ing education courses. Progress and Change Since the 1999 Report science, Edward R. Murrow identified the in- Changes in communication technology have herent dangers and limitations of today’s com- been both immense and obvious since the munication technology over 40 years ago, in October 1999 Commission report. Public rela- October 1964: tions educators are not alone in their inability The speed of communications is won- to reliably predict what tomorrow’s technology drous to behold. It is also true that will be, what will be the societal effects of this speed can multiply the distribution of technology and how it will affect different soci- information that we know to be untrue. eties and cultures. Problematic because of The most sophisticated satellite has no these unknowns, of course, is what educators conscience. The newest computer can should teach their students. Virtually all public merely compound, at speed, the oldest relations education programs in the United problem in the relations between human States, as well as elsewhere throughout the beings, and in the end, the communica- world, recognize that their curricula must keep tor is confronted with the old problem, pace with the continuing developments in of what to say and how to say it. communication technology to the fullest extent possible, given the financial and other resource Thus, public relations educators must assure limitations that commonly restrict the inten- that their students are prepared not only to be tions of higher education. proficient in the use of the most recent commu- nication technology, but also to understand and The implications for public relations of changes appreciate the societal ramifications of its use. in communication technology have been pro- Educators also must use this technology to found. Students’ reliance on electronic data- maximize the effectiveness of their own in- bases in their research, rather than on struction. traditional library holdings, has become the norm. The implications for public relations Summary of Recommendations in the practitioners can also be mind-numbing; in- Commission’s 1999 Report stantaneous communication through multiple channels creates the expectation of immediate The 1999 Commission report said one factor feedback, eliminating opportunities for pro- that was causing the impressive incremental growth in public relations was communication longed deliberation in decision-making. 32 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Largely unappreciated is the contention that objectives. The questions about credibility and ethical usage of new technology should also be technological developments do not inherently at the center of all discussions about the role of provide meaningful social benefits, as well as technology in public relations practice. the likelihood that adoption of new technology may influence different cultures in different ways or to a different extent. Fundamental 2006 Recommendations questions remain worldwide about the access ◆ The Commission recommends that the latest communication technology used in the prac- …(P)ublic relations practitioners must be tice of public relations be integrated into all public relations coursework to the extent that the managers of how their organizations institutional resources allow. Technological support of education has become a priority strategically use communication technology among virtually all colleges and universities, to affect public relationships. not only in the United States, but worldwide. Colleges and universities have been generally forthcoming in their recognition of the impor- to and control of communication technology as tance of information technology in higher ed- well as about which parties benefit from ad- ucation and in its support, and much vanced technology usage. instruction is available (and should be recom- mended to students as needed) in university New Research Findings and Analysis short courses and other venues that most ed- ucational institutions provide outside public Two-thirds of the participants in a qualitative relations coursework. research study conducted by the Commission emphasized the challenges of today’s techno- ◆ Most students have learned basic informa- logical advances. A related trend that partici- tion technology proficiency before arriving pants identified was the contemporary on their college or university campuses. proliferation of media outlets. Nevertheless, deficiencies in communication technology should be quickly diagnosed and Quantitative research identified rapidly chang- remedied. The Commission recognizes that ing new media as a trend. In this research, edu- some communication technology that is im- cators and practitioners viewed as highly portant to public relations education may be essential public relations course content such so specialized or so expensive that its use by as “New PR tools and technologies,” e.g., pod- students may only be possible at internship casting, blogging and video blogging, RSS feed- sites. To ensure that their students learn ing, Internet conferencing, e-networking, such communication technology, educators interactive media kits and e-mail. The research should explore a range of educational oppor- indicates that all these tools should be clearly tunities that might be available in coopera- presented to students. tion with practitioners. At the least, Undergraduates and graduate students alike awareness and basic understanding of such should be aware how public relations practices technologies should be taught, even if can benefit from use of these high-tech tools. At hands-on use is not possible. the same time, educators should lead classroom ◆ Finally,the Commission is equally committed discussions that explore any adverse impact of to addressing the philosophical, theoretical technology on society and should challenge and ethical issues related to communication students to critically think about use of new technologies to reach public relations goals and technology. These issues include societal im- 33 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Communication Technology plications and ramifications of new communi- to the topic of technology. Such scholarly in- cation technologies. Particularly at the gradu- quiry can be facilitated through close commu- ate level, such questions should be explored nication and cooperation with the as components of theoretical coursework as practitioners who use the latest communica- well as in seminars that are wholly dedicated tion technology in their day-to-day practice. Notes Kendrick, Alexander, Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow. (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1969, p.5.) 34 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Global Implications The rapid expansion and growing sophistication of public relations around the world, both in higher education and in the practice, since the Commission’s last report in 1999 is truly remarkable. Public relations is now arguably becoming a universal values of truth-telling, being fair and doing no harm to the innocent are expressed in global profession in an increasingly-connected codes of ethics established and/or promoted by world where mutual understanding and har- global professional associations, such as the mony are more important than ever. Global Alliance for Public Relations and In its 1999 Port of Entry report, the Commission Communication Management, the International used a framework with seven levels of analysis Association of Business Communicators and that apply to all social systems; in this way, it the International Public Relations Association. identified issues and factors that have implica- Aspects of excellent public relations can be tions globally for public relations education and found in all parts of the world. Certainly the practice. In this new report, the Commission publicity model is common worldwide. Of in- uses this framework again and provides an up- creasing importance, regardless of the culture, dated analysis that may provide new, relevant are strategic and crisis communication manage- insights and, perhaps, stimulate readers to ment in response to increasing demands for think of other factors and issues as they go transparency and corporate responsibility. about the hard work of further improving pub- lic relations in their respective nations. Much of Nevertheless, the performance of public rela- that progress will result from the creative appli- tions varies by culture and by socio-economic cation of current and future public relations re- and political systems. In fact, the role public re- search in various parts of the world. lations plays within a society can be a defining characteristic of that society—along with the role of the media and the power of public opinion. Cultural Values and Beliefs Affecting Public Relations Attitudes toward women and socially approved There are generic principles of public relations roles for women are another set of markers for that cut across cultures. For example, relatively a culture. Worldwide, women are playing more 35
  • Global Implications important roles in the practice of public rela- Laws and Public Policies Affecting Public Relations tions. Consequently, the evolving role of women is strongly affecting the evolving role of Corporate transparency legislation in various public relations in society. jurisdictions around the world is increasingly similar. Certainly all capital markets are not Xenophobia and suspicious attitudes toward alike; but regulations such as Sarbanes/Oxley “foreign” ideas affect the acceptance and in the United States and similar regulations in other financial markets outside the United States are having a cumulative positive impact … (T)he role public relations plays on public relations. There are more reasons than ever for public relations expertise to be an within a society can be a defining integral part of senior management. characteristic of that society…. Too, there are country-specific regulations dealing with corrupt foreign practices, free- dom of information, anti-terrorism, corporate growth of a Western approach to public rela- disclosure and private citizen surveillance— tions within a country, especially in the early each from its own cultural and national point stages of the development of the “local” field. of view. All of these issues point to a shared Often the concept has to be “reworded” and need and responsibility for all international contextualized into the culture’s language(s), practitioners to protect the global image of the values and beliefs before the next stage in the public relations profession and justify its so- development of the profession takes off. cial role. Confucianism and other Asian philosophies National and international trade agreements support a communitarian approach to public have public relations implications. Recent exam- relations, and are being recognized and incor- ples: U.S.-based Google in China and a Dubai- porated into theory building and practice. based company seeking to manage U.S. ports. Now as never before, the public relations field A potent combination of political will, public is influenced by—and has influence on—evolv- relations strategies and the creation of techno- ing global connectedness. On a macro level, logical infrastructure has narrowed the commu- this connectedness means growing interaction nication gap between government and the between “rich” and “poor” societies as well as people and stimulated consensus building. This between different political, cultural or eco- can be seen especially in India. nomic systems. The result is a host of interna- And in certain regions of the world, most es- tional issues affecting strategic public relations, pecially in Korea, government/corporate coop- among them: transparency, capital flows, trade, eration in generating and sharing research immigration, illegal drugs, disease, resource de- data is critical to the success of public rela- pletion, environmental protection, education tions campaigns. and, even more tragically, regional warfare, eth- nic cleansing and terrorism. External Groups, Organizations and Associations Affecting Public Relations Global advancements in communication, democracy and social interdependencies are in- Expertise in global communication is now in- creasing the importance of public opinion and creasingly available through professional confer- consequently, the role of public relations ences, workshops, Web-based seminars, blogs throughout the world. and Web sites. These resources are available not 36 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • only to practitioners but also to educators. teamed with public relations specialists in pub- lic diplomacy programs. At many large counseling firms, recent interna- tional growth rates have exceeded domestic College/University Factors Affecting Public growth rates. These firms have rapidly expanded Relations Education and Practice their business in Asia (one firm reports having seven offices in China), Latin America, Europe The rapid growth of public relations practice and the Middle East. Global networks of coun- worldwide has called for an active development seling firms, such as Pinnacle and WorldCom, of public relations education. For example, at are serving clients throughout the world. the time of the 1999 Port of Entry report, the concept of public relations was foreign to many With increased international trade and capital communication professionals and journalists in flows, many corporations have found it neces- countries like Russia, Ukraine and China. sary to open public relations offices and/or re- Today, Russia accounts for more than 80 uni- tain local or international counseling firms in versity-based public relations programs, and various countries. Similarly, issues originating China has more than 320 institutions of higher in one part of the world are metastasizing inter- education that offer public relations courses. nationally via the Internet, demanding global crisis communication management. Importing or significantly adapting North American and Western European models of An example of excellent global public relations public relations has become a standard practice is the World Bank’s “Communication for for many countries in Latin America and Asia. Development” program which has assigned to Many such programs are built closely on the some communicators the role of researching Western prototypes and offer traditional classes and reporting conditions in developing coun- in public relations tactics, such as media rela- tries and then playing a central role in develop- tions, as well as comprehensive public relations ing and implementing change strategies as well campaigns. as communications. Many students of public relations in countries Corporate social responsibility (CSR) today outside the United States receive more training often involves international and multicultural in strategic management than do some students stakeholders. Stewardship of this function is in- in the United States. The best programs outside creasingly being awarded to the top public rela- the United States stress classes in the liberal tions officer function, even when it operates arts and the social sciences, with an emphasis under a different title. CSR’s global implications on psychology, political science, marketing and are becoming more apparent as corporations in- management. creasingly examine their potential responsibili- ties and opportunities in developing countries Public relations schools of thought outside of through conduits such as the United Nations’ the United States often emphasize a “relational Millennium Development Goals. approach” to public relations, as opposed to a “persuasive approach.” Chinese and South Globalization and information technology have Korean educators, for instance, emphasize har- made nation-to-nation public diplomacy and mony and compromise as major subjects, in the nation-to-the-world communications far more best tradition of Confucianism. And—in a re- rapid and transparent. As governments, non- versal of influence patterns—some of these governmental organizations, allied industries Asian philosophies and theoretical frameworks and corporations grapple with “winning the are making their way to the United States and hearts and minds” of often distant and hostile publics, foreign service experts are being affecting public relations theory and practice. 37 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Global Implications The placement of the public relations program relations is, as well as what it should and within a specific department of a school at an should not be. educational institution varies greatly around Educators and practitioners of public relations the world. In North America and Western can contribute significantly to the formation of Europe, traditional public relations programs the “conscience of society” by practicing ethical are housed in or near journalism schools and public relations. And universities with public mass communication programs. But elsewhere, relations academic programs and excellent uni- versity relations departments can become role models for other educational institutions and, The placement of the public relations in fact, for all manner of organizations in their nation or region. program within a specific department of a school… varies greatly around the world. College/University Small Group Factors Affecting Public Relations International exchange programs for faculty as more departments and schools are eager to and students are contributing materially to the benefit from lucrative opportunities to teach understanding and development of global pub- public relations, the placement of the programs lic relations. They are projecting their regional more often than not reflects the aggressive lead- and global perspectives “one classroom at a ership of various departments. Consequently, time,” thereby having a significant impact on some public relations programs outside the their participants and the profession. United States are being developed and housed By their significant and growing numbers, in such non-journalism, non-communication North American educators who have taught or departments as history, political science or soci- are teaching outside the continent have espe- ology. Each of those programs is grounded in cially influenced the development of the field in the theories and practices of the home disci- other countries. Many new public relations pro- pline and science. grams, including several programs in the As a result, many of these public relations pro- Middle East and in Russia, have been created or grams have developed their own schools of expanded by these educators. And when they thought concerning the role of public relations in return home, these educators bring back new society and how best to teach the practice of pub- perspectives of public relations benefiting both lic relations. Educators have studied the develop- their students and colleagues. Likewise, public ment and placement of public relations programs relations educators trained in master’s and doc- within universities in different parts of the world. toral programs in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, in particular, are influ- Influence on public relations education and encing the development of theory and expand- practice spreads beyond traditional educational ing global research. institutions. In countries where public relations is very young as a profession, public relations Educators and practitioners from around the practitioners and educators, in effect, “teach by world who are actively involved in professional doing” through continuous communication organizations and attend international and re- with journalists and their communities in gen- gional research and professional development eral. Such construction of the social profession conferences are also greatly influencing the takes place through constant comprehensive globalization of public relations curricula and conversations and discussions of what public the status of the profession worldwide. 38 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Interpersonal Factors Within Institutions fog of their own making, listen to the same global rock stars, repeatedly use cell phones, of Higher Education Affecting Public wear the same brands of clothes and eat at the Relations same fast-food franchises. Especially among The relationship between university administra- young people, there is a growing awareness and tion and faculty is critical to academic success recognition of their commonality with their the world over. However, in the development of peer group elsewhere in the world. The global public relations programs in countries new to “mediated self” is both an opportunity for good the concept, this relationship can result in situ- and a potential problem for educators and prac- ations that may seem strange to American edu- titioners alike. cators and practitioners. On the other hand, cultural identity affects how Many of the university public relations pro- an individual recognizes problems, perceives grams in the United States are based, at least in his or her level of involvement in a situation, part, on the way the practice is developing; ad- and how information is searched for and ministrators have (or claim to have) a basic un- processed. derstanding of the field. However, many of the administrators in newly emerging market Gender, physical traits and internalized sex economies do not understand the value of pub- roles remain significant cultural traits, with lic relations to society and most public relations both limitations and strengths for different indi- educators in these countries don’t have formal viduals. These differences affect the profes- training in the field. Therefore, some of these sional development of public relations university administrators offer programs that practitioners. are widely interdisciplinary and develop their Background and training of educators have an own views on how public relations should be influence on how public relations is taught and practiced and taught. how curriculum is developed. Increasing multiculturalism and the diversifica- Personal ethics and identification with an or- tion of the public relations field worldwide are ganization concerned about professional ethics creating new opportunities in the classroom help the individual practitioner develop a moral and in the global public relations practice, as framework for public relations practice. well as creating a greater need for practitioners, students and educators to be sensitive to diver- sity issues such as race, sex, age, ethnic origins The factors listed above are indicative of four and religious preferences. global trends: 1) the expansion of public rela- tions capabilities in virtually every nation; 2) Intrapersonal Factors and Individual the increasingly sophisticated agenda of 21st Traits Affecting Public Relations Century corporate social responsibility; 3) the Advertising, marketing and public relations critical importance of transparency and public campaigns are shaping a global “mediated relations for both public and private organiza- self.” It is striking to see in modern shopping tions; and 4) the increasing number of public malls around the world how similar are middle- relations educators and students teaching and class teenagers: they often walk in an electronic studying outside their country of origin. 39 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • 40 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Undergraduate Education The knowledge and skills required of public relations practitioners have not changed much in content over the past seven years. But they have been significantly refocused and repositioned in terms of priority and emphasis. Recent research provides a deeper understand- of diversity, technology and global communica- tion. Crisis communication and social responsi- ing of the demands on and changes affecting bility have also emerged as essential public the field of public relations. There is a clear relations functions. need to put more emphasis on particular issues and trends in the field such as ethics and trans- The public relations industry is under increased parency, new technology, integration of commu- scrutiny to embrace and demonstrate its ability nication messages and tools, interdisciplinary to diversify its workforce and communicate problem-solving, diversity, global perspectives across cultures, races, genders, sexual orienta- and research and results measurement. tions, languages, ages and other dimensions of diversity. When practitioners fail to do so Undergraduate public relations education has proactively, with sensitivity and understanding, been shifting and repositioning itself in step negative activism and negative attention di- with the shifts in the practice of public relations. rected toward organizations often result. On the Those academic programs that consciously contrary, when practitioners aid organizations aligned themselves with the recommendations in developing mutually beneficial relationships of the Commission’s 1999 report have found among diverse publics, organizations thrive. themselves well-positioned to respond to trends Incorporating elements of inclusion and diver- and changes in the field as they have occurred. sity throughout the undergraduate curriculum Such responsiveness points to a closer working is therefore essential to adequately prepare fu- relationship between educators and practition- ture practitioners for the roles they will play in ers than may have been the case five years ago. such relationship-building. Progress and Change Since the 1999 Report Web sites in this millennium have gone from In the field of public relations, the greatest being a corporate frill to an organizational ne- changes/advancements have been in the areas cessity. Blogging has become both a threat and 41
  • Undergraduate Education a tool for organizational communication, and taught as part of the public relations curricu- lum. The inclusion of public relations at the public relations professionals must monitor management level in dealing with these issues blogs (and, in some cases, respond to them) in and crises has precipitated a move toward inter- an effort to protect, maintain and defend repu- disciplinary undergraduate education. Rather tation. Consequently, some colleges and univer- than directing students to complete courses in sities are beginning to develop courses to teach relevant disciplines such as business and so- skills necessary to use these new technological cial/behavioral sciences, some of the content of those kinds of courses is being incorporated di- rectly into the public relations curriculum. …(P)ublic relations education must be Even with educational programs keeping pace interdisciplinary and broad, particularly with changes in industry, the shortage of fac- ulty with appropriate academic and profes- in the liberal arts and sciences. sional qualifications continues to plague public relations education. The shortage of fac- ulty with a doctoral degree might actually be tools. Other programs, noticing that web sites called a crisis. As programs grow and expand and blogs are often lacking in quality and style, with more classes offered, students are increas- emphasize adapting traditional skills such as ingly being taught by faculty not qualified in writing to the new technology. public relations. Some see a solution through joint Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs providing aca- As international trade and commerce continue demic training for practitioners who are part- at a rapid pace, as U.S. companies seek out- time instructors interested in qualifying for sourcing as a method of increasing profit mar- full-time positions. Meanwhile, the competition gins, as arguments flair over immigration, as for doctoral talent is exacerbated by the grow- issues such as terrorism and health pandemics ing global interest in public relations education. face the entire globe, practicing public relations Faculty with public relations Ph.D.s are being internationally and not just locally has become recruited to join faculties outside the United a requirement, not an option. Some undergrad- States. uate programs are adding global content (which is popular among students), and some Finally, the trend toward outcomes assessment are offering a semester abroad with internship at colleges and universities corresponds to the opportunities in addition to courses in culture, trend toward better measurement and assess- language and international history. ment in the field. Assessment in public rela- tions education focuses on basic standards of As the news media, in an effort to compete for performance. Many programs are therefore im- readers and viewers, concentrate on crises and plementing summative evaluation (i.e., portfo- scandals, companies and organizations are feel- lio reviews) of public relations students as they ing the need for public relations departments approach graduation to determine whether and practitioners to protect their reputations basic standards have been met. There is also and lead crisis communication planning and re- heightened interest in tracking graduates to as- sponse. Issues management, crisis manage- sess placement and career paths. ment, community relations and relationship-building have been key foci of re- 2006 Recommendations search and practice, particularly post-9/11 and post-Enron. These foci have transitioned from As the field of public relations has changed research into the classroom and are being since the Commission’s 1999 report, education 42 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • has kept pace with those changes. So, while the search on requirements for successful entry fundamental knowledge and skills recom- into the field. mended by the 2006 Commission have not changed since 1999, the Commission suggests a 1. Necessary Knowledge and Skills need for refocusing and realignment in terms of The following knowledge and skills should be what is most heavily emphasized in an under- taught in an undergraduate public relations cur- graduate public relations curriculum. The pur- riculum: pose of an undergraduate degree is still to prepare students for entry-level positions and to Knowledge advance over the course of their careers into ◆ Communication and persuasion concepts leadership roles. But what they need to know and strategies and be able to do has shifted somewhat. ◆ Communication and public relations theories Research suggests that professional success re- quires that the right knowledge and skills be ◆ Relationships and relationship-building accompanied by appropriate personal traits, ◆ Societal trends and certain attributes have been identified as developmental necessities. It continues to be ◆ Ethical issues crucial that graduates be responsible, flexible ◆ Legal requirements and issues and professionally oriented self-managers. For communication to occur with and among di- ◆ Marketing and finance verse audiences, individuals must be able to re- ◆ Public spond and adapt to new and changing relations history situations and to feel comfortable in having to ◆ Uses of research and forecasting make such adjustments without giving up per- sonal identity. Students must have intellectual ◆ Multicultural and global issues curiosity and be able to think conceptually. ◆ The business case for diversity They must have positive attitudes and be able to take criticism. They must be organized self- ◆ Various world social, political, economic starters who take initiative to solve problems. and historical frameworks They must be both creative and pragmatic, and ◆ Organizational change and development they must have integrity as team participants and leaders. Students should be able to demon- ◆ Management concepts and theories strate respect and empathy; even if practition- ers do not belong to a group or agree with it, a Skills practitioner must be able to show appreciation ◆ Research methods and analysis for those who are different and be able to un- derstand others’ cultures and perspectives. ◆ Management of information Therefore, public relations education must be ◆ Mastery of language in written and oral interdisciplinary and broad, particularly in the communication liberal arts and sciences. A minor or double ◆ Problem-solving and negotiation major is recommended to broaden students’ education and knowledge base. ◆ Management of communication The following reorganization of the knowledge ◆ Strategic planning and skills identified and recommended in the ◆ Issues management 1999 Commission report reflects current re- 43 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Undergraduate Education ◆ Audience segmentation today’s public relations education. It is not enough to offer a course with a global focus. ◆ Informative and persuasive writing Global concepts must be integrated throughout the curriculum because many students will be ◆ Community, consumer and employee rela- addressing issues related to globalization, di- tions and other practice areas versity and multiculturalism as they enter the ◆ Technological and visual literacy practice of public relations. Fluency in a lan- guage other than English also is desirable. ◆ Managing people, programs and resources Given the organizational crises of recent years, ◆ Sensitive interpersonal communication ethics and organizational transparency also re- ◆ Critical listening skills quire emphasis across the public relations cur- riculum. Similarly, relationship-building has ◆ Fluency in a foreign language become a critical skill. In preparation for work- ◆ Ethical decision-making ing with diverse publics and global issues, stu- dents will need to learn that establishing trust ◆ Participationin the professional public and acceptance among publics begins with hav- relations community ing a clear understanding of those publics and ◆ Message production demonstrating sincerity and commitment. ◆ Working with current issues Technology and its use and abuse have become another important consideration in public rela- ◆ Environmental monitoring tions practice. Students must not only under- ◆ Public speaking and presentation stand current technology and its use, but must develop skills that will enable them to adapt to ◆ Applying cross-cultural and cross-gender rapid changes and advancements. It is insuffi- sensitivity cient to train students to use current technol- ogy; they also must be able to identify and 2. The Undergraduate Curriculum analyze new technologies as they emerge, un- The undergraduate public relations curriculum derstand the ramifications and implications and must continue to be strongly grounded in tradi- develop strategies for using the latest technolo- tional liberal arts and social sciences. gies and dealing with their effects. Technology Coursework in public relations should be built will not be sufficiently addressed if isolated on a foundation of liberal arts, social science, from the rest of the curriculum; the only effec- business and language courses. More than ever, tive way to prepare students for the rapid this knowledge base must be interdisciplinary. changes they will face is to integrate the study Principles of public relations and management and use of technology across the curriculum. must be intertwined with and related to busi- More critical than ever is the need for solid re- ness, behavioral science, technology and other search skills and the ability to interpret and use disciplines. Changes in the field of public rela- research in decision-making. Students must be tions demand integration of the knowledge and capable of conducting research, analyzing and skills of these disciplines. With the growing interpreting data and information, integrating need for students to be completely conversant research into planning and management and in principles and practices of business, there is conducting evaluation that demonstrates re- a parallel need for them to master principles of sults. In conducting secondary research, stu- etiquette and professionalism. dents should recognize that a variety of voices Globalization now requires more attention in exist and that many people on the fringes of so- 44 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • ciety, or outside the mainstream or center, are underlying PR practice and the societal forces often not adequately covered in media and affecting the profession and its practice. other published works and therefore won’t be Important to include are the societal mandate represented in secondary research sources. and ethical justification of public relations in Similarly, when learning about primary re- a democratic society and free-market econ- search techniques, students should recognize omy. Also included are practitioner qualifica- the influence that culture and other aspects of tions (including education and training), diversity have on research design, methods, responsibilities and duties, diversity compe- participants, analysis and presentation of re- tencies and skills, functioning of public rela- search. And greater emphasis needs to be tions departments and counseling firms and placed on using solid research to design and life-long learning and professional develop- manage messages. Not only must students be ment. Also included are a variety of special- able to design messages that motivate publics izations in public relations such as to action, they must be able to manage the dis- community relations, employee relations, tribution and flow of messages to ensure consumer relations, financial and investor re- publics actually receive them and that dialogue lations, governmental relations, public affairs is facilitated. and lobbying, fund raising and membership development, international and cross-cultural Finally, the ability to incorporate the internal public relations and publicity and media rela- audience into public relations planning and tions. communication is increasingly required in meeting the challenges and opportunities pre- ◆ Public relations law and ethics: including sented to an organization. Whereas organiza- codes of ethics and practice in public rela- tions have always identified employee publics tions and in other professions; ethical issues among those considered important, human re- and trends toward greater organizational sources departments increasingly are expecting transparency and core values; specific legal public relations to manage employee communi- issues such as privacy, defamation, copyright, cation, a change from the days when human re- product liability and financial disclosure; sources considered communicating internally to legal and policy considerations relating to di- be its exclusive purview. versity in the workplace and in communica- tion and legal and regulatory compliance. 3. Content of Undergraduate Courses ◆ Public relations research, measurement and The following topics are all deemed essential to performance evaluation: including quantita- a strong undergraduate education in public re- tive and qualitative research designs, lations regardless of the course(s) in which processes and techniques such as public- they are taught. While many of the topics lend opinion polling and survey research; experi- themselves to be framed within a specific mental design and research; new research course, care must be taken that the concepts, methods and tools; fact-finding and applied knowledge and skills described above are inte- research; observation and performance meas- grated throughout the public relations curricu- urement; social, communication and em- lum so students better understand the ployee audits; issue tracking; focus groups interdisciplinary nature of the practice. and interviews; use of external research serv- ◆ Theory, ices and consultants and the ability to effec- origin, principles and professional tively direct their efforts; media and clipping practice of public relations: the nature and analysis and historical research. The empha- role of public relations, the history and devel- opment of the field, theories and principles sis should be on measurement of tangible re- 45 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Undergraduate Education sults in evaluating program effectiveness, communication; and feedback systems. It also must include competency in such skills as de- staff and counselor performance; criteria for sign, layout and graphics; electronic media performance; and reporting the results of and Web publishing; speechwriting and deliv- evaluation. The impact of culture and diver- ery; spokesperson training and speakers bu- sity should be carefully considered. reaus; corporate identity and reputation; photography and filmmaking; and working with outside suppliers. It requires a solid un- A minimum of five courses should be derstanding of media, media channels, the so- cietal role of media and the challenges in the required in the public relations major. explosion of electronic and digital media vehi- cles. It includes message strategy and delivery (i.e., planning, writing, producing and deliv- ering communication to publics in all media ◆ Public relations planning and management: channels). It also includes a focus on design- including theory, techniques and models re- ing messages to be sent in channels that will lated to setting long- and short-term goals and ensure publics receive and act on them. objectives; designing strategies and tactics; ◆ Public relations action and implementation: segmenting publics and designing effective Content includes the actual implementation of messages; identifying appropriate channels to campaigns; continuing programs (e.g., prod- ensure message receipt; analyzing problems uct publicity and safety); crises and isolated and opportunities; communicating with top incidents; individual activities of practitioners management; developing budgets; contin- and firms, clients and employers; meetings gency planning for crises and disasters; man- and workshops; and special events. It should aging issues, developing timetables and include ongoing evaluation of efforts and cor- calendars; and assigning authority and re- rective action based on results measurement sponsibility. Diversity should be well-inte- while a campaign or program is in process. grated into the content and should include the business rationale for diversity in organi- ◆ Supervised work experience in public rela- zations and the demographic changes within tions: Internships and other pre-professional countries and across global communities that work experiences have become essential in affect the role and practice of public relations public relations education. These practical ex- worldwide. periences must be supervised by faculty and practitioners who cooperate to provide profes- ◆ Public relations writing and production: sional experience directed by learning objec- Public relations writing is an essential, dis- tives and assessed throughout to assure a crete skill that is not fully addressed in jour- quality practical educational experience. nalistic writing, composition or creative Students should be sufficiently prepared by writing. Content here should address commu- prerequisite courses to receive and complete nication theory; concepts and models for substantive assignments that prepare them to mass, interpersonal, employee and internal apply the skills and principles they are learn- communication; new and emerging commu- ing in their programs. nication technologies and their use and abuse; organizational communication and dy- ◆ Disciplinesrelated to public relations: namics; communication with diverse audi- Supporting disciplines that provide appropriate ences and across cultures; persuasion and supplements to public relations educational propaganda; controlled versus uncontrolled programs include intercultural communication, 46 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • ◆ Public international communication, political com- relations research, measurement and evaluation munication, organizational communication, in- terpersonal communication, rhetorical ◆ Public relations law and ethics communication, small group communication, ◆ Public relations writing and production psychology, sociology, marketing, management and organizational behavior, finance, journal- ◆ Public relations planning and management ism, radio and television production, advertis- ◆ Public relations campaigns ing, photography, filmmaking, art design and graphics, information technology and new ◆ Supervised work experience in public rela- technology. Students should be encouraged to tions (internship) pursue a double major or minor in a related ◆ Directed electives area of interest. Although some academic programs will find it ◆ Directed electives: Certain content in other difficult to offer seven courses devoted entirely disciplines should be considered essential for to public relations, the Commission believes the the development and preparation of public re- topics covered in the courses above are essen- lations professionals. It is recommended that tial for a quality public relations education. public relations education become truly inter- While these topics could be combined into disciplinary and that content in these areas be courses in different ways, and some of these integrated into public relations coursework as courses might also address additional topics, a described above. Nevertheless, more in-depth major should offer sufficient courses to address treatment of the content in related disciplines the knowledge and skills identified as neces- may be desirable through elective courses to sary for success in the field. supplement the core public relations and communication courses. Recommended disci- A minimum of five courses should be required plines for inclusion are business manage- in the public relations major. An academic em- ment, marketing, accounting, finance, phasis should minimally include these courses: economics, consumer behavior, political sci- ◆ Introduction to public relations (including ence and the political system, public adminis- theory, origin and principles) tration, social psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, English and English writing, ◆ Public relations research, measurement and political science, including government and evaluation political campaigns, intercultural communica- ◆ Public relations writing and production tion, ethnic and feminist studies, and interna- tional business and communication. ◆ Supervised work experience in public rela- tions (internship) 4. Content Configuration in the Undergraduate ◆ An additional public relations course in law Curriculum and ethics, planning and management, case This report affirms the 1999 report’s identifica- studies or campaigns tion of the following courses for an ideal under- graduate major in public relations: Programs that offer minors should make it clear that a minor in public relations is not sufficient ◆ Introduction to public relations (including to prepare students for the professional practice theory, origin and principles) of public relations. Nevertheless, programs may ◆ Casestudies in public relations that review offer minors in public relations to enhance the the professional practice understanding of students in other professional 47 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Undergraduate Education ◆ Case disciplines that use or cooperate with public re- studies in public relations lations. A minor in public relations should ◆ Public relations campaigns specifically address the knowledge outcomes identified above rather than just the skills out- ◆ Internship in public relations comes. ◆ Communication electives (e.g., community journalism, management, production, multi- cultural, international, conflict resolution, Public relations education programs messages and media effects and gender, race must improve their assessment of results– and ethnicity in media) ◆ External requirements (e.g., English writing, measurement of outcomes of learning. accounting, marketing, business management and finance) 5. Undergraduate Curriculum Models Communication/English/Liberal Arts Model Because public relations education may be lo- ◆ Communication principles and practice cated in various schools and colleges throughout a university, programs are subject to the core re- ◆ Research methods quirements of the unit within which the public ◆ Communication writing relations program is housed. For example, pro- grams housed in journalism schools differ signif- ◆ Communication production icantly from those in traditional schools of ◆ Public relations theory communication or schools of business because of the requirements imposed upon journalism ◆ Public relations techniques schools that wish to be nationally accredited. ◆ Public relations writing The Commission suggests three models to demonstrate differing curriculum constructions ◆ Public relations campaigns within the guidelines stipulated above. ◆ Internship Journalism/Mass Communication Model ◆ Communication electives (e.g., multicultural (The Accrediting Council on Education in communication, interpersonal communica- Journalism and Mass Communications tion, persuasion, small group communication, (ACEJMC) permits no more than 40 credit ethics, organizational communication) hours in journalism or mass communication ◆ External requirements (e.g., statistics, in a 120-hour degree program.) economics, psychology, sociology) ◆ Mass communication and society ◆ External electives (selected courses outside ◆ Mass media writing communication) ◆ Communication law Business/Management Model ◆ Media ◆ Marketing ethics and finance ◆ Public ◆ Marketing relations theory and principles research and statistics ◆ Public ◆ Marketing relations writing management ◆ Public ◆ Consumer relations research insight 48 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • ◆ Communication skills and persuasive case studies or service-learning opportunities that involve diverse groups, issues and organi- messages zations. Students should also be encouraged to ◆ Public relations strategy and tactics seek numerous pre-professional experiences like internships or volunteer opportunities through ◆ Creative message strategy student professional organizations and their ac- ◆ Media economics and technology ademic units. The academy must diligently seek to bring practitioners to campus as part of the ◆ Managing communication integration overall student experience. ◆ Internship 7. Undergraduate Program Evaluation ◆ Business electives (e.g., public relations strategy, public relations planning, investor Normative, formative and summative assess- relations, crisis management, issues ment measures should be used to determine management, ethics, international business) whether students have learned what their aca- demic programs intend. These could include 6. Teaching Methods in the entrance/exit examinations, internship evalua- Undergraduate Program tion, capstone courses and portfolio review. And traditional self-assessment should be used The 1999 Port of Entry report suggested more to measure program effectiveness. This might than a dozen ways that instruction can be deliv- include examining student evaluations, faculty- ered to students, ranging from traditional lec- student ratios, placement and graduate school tures to simulations, games and the use of admission rates, alumni and employer satisfac- small-group projects. A variety of instructional tion and input from advisory boards. media, assignments and in-class activities that can create a bridge between theory and practice External program review is also valuable. also are suggested. The more advanced students Sources for this include the Certification in should be involved in client work and cam- Education for Public Relations (CEPR) offered paigns. There should be opportunities to engage by PRSA (available to all public relations pro- in research and in competitions both within the grams) and the ACEJMC (available to public university/college and with public relations aca- relations programs in journalism and mass demic and practitioner associations. communication colleges, schools or depart- ments). The increasing growth of online courses is de- manding a reassessment of teaching methods Public relations education programs must im- and more research on the challenges of global prove their assessment of results—measure- curriculum offerings. Learning to Teach, pub- ment of outcomes of learning. Educators must lished by the Educators Academy of the become more sophisticated and request the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) participation of practitioners to determine if and available on CD, is a comprehensive re- students are reaching the goals set for their source of teaching methods that have been entry into the profession. To this end, this new tried, tested and proven effective in public re- report has included assessment as a separate lations education. section to more clearly identify guidelines. Teaching pedagogies that emphasize teamwork 8. Faculty Qualifications and client service should be well-integrated into programs. To aid in students’ acquisition of di- The 1999 Port of Entry report suggested that versity competencies, professors should when- both academic and professional credentials and ever possible diversify teams and assign clients, practical experience are important for public re- 49 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Undergraduate Education lations faculty. Ideally a full-time faculty mem- peats that recommendation again in 2006. ber will have both academic credentials (usu- 9. Resources to Support Public Relations ally a Ph.D.) and professional credentials— Programs significant work experience in public relations. Programs may need to hire faculty without ter- Public relations students should have the same access to both faculty and resources as students minal degrees who have significant and sub- in other academic programs in the academic stantial professional experience in order to unit where public relations is taught. meet student demand. In addition, all faculty members should be active in professional Faculty workloads should be balanced to in- and/or academic associations and should be clude time for teaching, advising, research, contributing to the public relations body of service, administrative assignments and the ad- knowledge through scholarship and profes- vising of student organizations such as the sional or creative activity. Public Relations Student Society of America. The 1999 Port of Entry report repeats a recom- Public relations education requires administra- mendation from the 1987 Commission report: tive and financial resources that include ade- “Public relations courses should not be taught quate faculty and staff with properly equipped by people who have little or no experience and classrooms, appropriate technology, well- interest in the field and have no academic prepa- stocked libraries, travel and professional devel- ration in public relations.” The Commission re- opment funding and office support. 50 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Graduate Education Master’s degree curricula across journalism and communication programs in the United States show little consistency in the content and coursework offered as was also the case in 1999. The typical curriculum gives a hodge-podge ap- Progress and Change Since the 1999 Report pearance of adding public relations courses to existing journalism and communication pro- Research for the Commission’s 2006 report in- grams. Educators have reported, however, a cluded a review of public relations program growing number of integrated advertising and graduate Web sites, telephone interviews with public relations master’s degree programs. 18 public relations leaders and a quantitative survey of educators and practitioners. The PR Inconsistencies, hodge-podge and integration leaders supported several types of graduate will not be enough if graduate public relations public relations programs rather than endorsing programs want to achieve accreditation. the MBA degree or dismissing public relations Beginning in 2006-2007, the Accrediting Council graduate education as unnecessary. They felt on Education in Journalism and Mass that graduate education should be interdiscipli- Communications will examine more rigorously nary, combining public relations, communica- graduate master’s programs for a focused tion and management courses. knowledge experience. Professional master’s de- The Commission’s quantitative study tested gree programs will be reviewed separately from several options for graduate education. More undergraduate programs, using the same nine than 60 percent of practitioners and educators standards applied to undergraduate programs. sampled agreed that graduate public relations To achieve accreditation, professional master’s education should be an academic area of study programs, such as public relations, must also with interdisciplinary focus (communication, demonstrate how their master’s graduates at- management and behavioral science), or an ac- tain, in addition to practice skills and expertise, ademic area with a management focus. The the additional core competency of “contributing survey participants’ opinions reflected three dif- to knowledge appropriate to the communication ferent, but also overlapping, profiles that the professions in which they work.” Commission labeled the academic disciplinary 51
  • Graduate Education focus, the academic focus and the professional The student should master the following con- focus. Few participants said that no graduate tent areas beyond undergraduate competencies: education was needed. ◆ Public relations theory and concepts. This In 2006, practitioner respondents in the area should familiarize students with the Commission’s qualitative survey recognized leading theories of public relations scholar- trends that were driving public relations that ship (e.g., public relations, rhetorical, com- were not as important in 1999: rapidly chang- munication and management). Content should address such topics as the four dimen- The Commission highly recommends sions of public relations, public relations roles and strategic management of public relations. that students entering master’s programs This area should include public relations his- tory, contemporary issues and trends (e.g., in public relations have professional encroachment, feminization of the field, di- versity, integration) and practice challenges public relations experience. (e.g., social, political and economic and global influences). ing new media; transparency and accountabil- ity demands; recognition of PR’s increasing ◆ Public relations law. This area should ad- value by top management; the need and de- dress regulations and laws that affect the mand for measurement; globalization; diver- practice of public relations. Content should sity; ethics issues and credibility crises; more include constitutional restrictions on freedom multi-disciplinarity and integrated communica- of expression and federal and state laws and tion; and the need to align public relations with regulations dealing with such matters as business strategy and social demographic copyright, defamation, privacy and commer- changes. This research suggests that graduate cial speech. Understanding of contracts, affir- education should move toward understanding mative action and Equal Opportunity laws and other regulations affecting the manage- business, management and public relations as ment of public relations also should be ad- strategic management functions. dressed. Therefore, the Commission’s 2006 recommen- ◆ Public relations ethics. This area should ad- dations for graduate education provide revised dress the philosophical and practical aspects content areas and three different graduate cur- of public relations ethics. Content should in- riculum models. clude such topics as philosophical founda- tions, principles and codes, professionalism, 2006 Recommendations accountability, divided loyalties, responsible Master’s Level Education advocacy, social responsibility, global ethics, political correctness and truth and trans- 1. Revised Content Areas parency. The following content areas should be the focus of advanced, intensive study at the graduate ◆ Global public relations. This area should ad- level. The expectation is that students will de- dress public relations practice in the interna- velop abilities to critically analyze and synthe- tional and transnational environment, size the body of knowledge in strategic public covering global trends and topics such as relations management by producing critical es- multicultural communication knowledge and says and original research projects that will en- skills, public diplomacy, multiple cultures and hance their professional performance. diversity within nations, international legal 52 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • and ethical codes and political systems. tion. This area should include advanced principles and practice techniques, particu- ◆ Public relations applications. This area larly those related to the use of new technol- should familiarize students with public rela- ogy, the Internet and telecommunication. tions practice in corporate, government and Students should become proficient in re- nonprofit settings. Content also might provide search-based strategic planning, audience for specialization in practice areas such as analysis, message development and design health care, politics, business, technology, en- and distribution channels. vironmental and multicultural and global ◆ Public relations publics. This area should in- public relations. clude studies of publics and their relational ◆ Public relations management. This area interests in and consequences on organiza- should cover all aspects of strategic public re- tions. Students should learn the situational lations management, including principles, theory of publics; activism theory; and theo- planning, organizing, evaluating, staffing, ries of power, risk communication, crisis counseling, leadership, leading in inclusive communication, relationship and relationship settings and budgeting. Content should in- management, identity, gender, culture and clude reputation management, integrated other dimensions of diversity. practices, concepts of organizational effective- ◆ Communication processes. In this area, stu- ness, organizational policymaking, issues and dents should learn theories and practices of crisis management, relationship-building with communication (organizational, interper- internal/external publics, activism and medi- sonal, intercultural, small group, persuasion, ation, negotiation and conflict resolution. rhetorical and conflict resolution). This area should consider how public rela- tions is managed in a diverse world of poli- ◆ Management sciences. This area should in- tics, economic systems and distinct cultural clude accounting, finance, management, mar- voices. Diversity management involves keting, diversity management and strategic human resources, staffing, team, vendor and integrated communication applications. personnel functions. It requires knowledge of ◆ Behavioral sciences. This area should ac- global and local social, political, economic quaint students with social psychology, cul- and historical frameworks, policies and laws. tural anthropology, sociology and political Content should include theories and princi- science. Content should be designed to help ples of diversity such as power and identity; students develop an understanding of group international, intercultural, multicultural and behavior, behavioral change, organizational cross-cultural communication; and multicul- culture and relationships. tural marketing. ◆ Internship or practicum experience. ◆ Public relations research. This area should Graduate students should obtain and build include the application of social science re- their strategic management skills through search to the planning, implementation and project assignments as well as in internship evaluation of strategic public relations prac- and practicum experiences. Whenever possi- tices. Students should gain familiarity with ble, assignments requiring students to work quantitative and qualitative research meth- in environments different from their own so- ods, experimental design, sampling, data cial group should be completed. They should analysis, report writing, research ethics and receive supervisory mentoring and also ap- challenges of researching minority groups. praisals of their work. They also should pro- ◆ Public relations programming and produc- duce academic work, such as papers, journal 53 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Graduate Education entries or essays about their experiences for • Ethics and philosophy in public relations review by their academic advisers. • Research methods in communication ◆ Thesis • Research design in public relations and/or capstone project and/or com- prehensive exam. The thesis should represent • Theories of communication scholarly research to test public relations the- • Two electives (recommended that these be ory, with the assistance of a faculty advisory management courses) • Thesis The production of doctoral graduates MODEL B (This model provides advanced career prepara- has not kept pace with the need either in tion through coursework in public relations and management disciplines.) education or the profession. • Public relations theory • Public relations law and ethics committee (6 credits). The capstone project • Public relations research methods should also include original research but with • Public relations management a “deliverable” to advance the practice of pub- lic relations (3 credits). A comprehensive exam • Accounting generally asks the student to provide closed- • Finance book essay answers on course content in a • Marketing four-hour time period. No credit hours should • Strategic planning be awarded for comprehensive examinations. • Two electives 2. Master’s Program Models • Thesis or capstone project These three program models assume that the MODEL C master’s student has an undergraduate degree (This model provides studies for a specializa- in public relations or a substantial skills-and- tion in public relations. It provides an interdis- knowledge foundation in public relations. ciplinary course of study by bringing in content Students who do not have requisite undergrad- from other disciplines into public relations uate preparation should complete foundational courses and through collateral electives.) undergraduate coursework before entering pub- lic relations master’s programs. The • Strategic PR in a digital environment Commission highly recommends that students • Strategic PR research and evaluation entering master’s programs in public relations • Strategic PR management have professional public relations experience. • PR law and ethics Courses are listed for each model that provide • Organizational communication the requisite content. • Strategic media relations MODEL A • Strategic PR in global, multicultural and (This model focuses the student on preparing diverse environments to enter a doctoral program.) • Strategic PR campaign design and • Public relations management implementation • Public relations publics • Collateral Electives (two courses in one area • Global public relations such as nonprofit/public sector management, 54 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • environmental policy, business/management, fronted in graduate education: corporate public relations, international mar- ◆ Lack of understanding of public relations keting or management, sports management, on the part of society and within academia, public affairs, educational institutions man- creating disconnects in communication and agement, entertainment, health communica- interdisciplinary cooperation, particularly in tion or other appropriate area) relation to the understanding of ethical re- The Commission’s research findings that show a quirements and social responsibility of public preference for graduate education that is interdis- relations performance. ciplinary and management- or business-focused ◆ Growing complexity of a behavioral, commu- will require public relations programs to work nication and business management knowl- with different academic units, such as business edge base that requires time and resources to schools, to deliver these curricula. Faculty and research and access before connections can practitioners agree on the importance of super- be accurately identified. vised experience. However, the ability of the stu- dent; the nature of the program and its home ◆ Need for greater interaction among practition- institution; the availability of opportunities ers and educators to foster unity and identity within a reasonable distance from the college/ and to facilitate mutual understanding of the university; and other issues have contributed to a profession’s evolving educational and re- great variety in students’ experience. search needs. ◆ Limited visibility of the profession within Doctoral Education academia due to lack of economic support The production of doctoral graduates has not for the profession’s research and educational kept pace with the need, either in education or in needs. the practice. Many teaching positions at universi- ties where educators are required to have doc- To meet these challenges, the Commission rec- toral degrees remain unfilled. Since the 1999 ommends: Commission report, the scarcity of public rela- ◆ The development of additional doctoral tions professors with Ph.D.s has only increased. programs where undergraduate and master’s Hallahan (PR Tactics, 2003) reported that “a degree public relations program strength and Ph.D. is required at better universities for both faculties exist. hiring and tenure. Colleges are under increased scrutiny from their regional accrediting agencies ◆ The identification of Ph.D. degrees specifi- to demonstrate institutional quality. Two fre- cally in public relations, particularly in col- quently used metrics are the percentage of Ph.D.s leges or schools with existing graduate on the faculty and the quantity and quality of program strength in public relations. faculty research in scholarly journals.” This trend ◆ The creation of additional endowed chairs suggests that public relations educators will be in public relations that will allow increased sought for their academic credentials first with graduate student direction and research less interest in their professional experience. But productivity. faculty also need to know how public relations is practiced. The Commission recommends seeking ◆ Continued progress toward the development increased partnerships with professionals and of interdisciplinary graduate programs. professional organizations to help educators stay ◆ Professional encouragement of the develop- current with the practice of public relations. ment of specializations within public rela- Here are some of the challenges to be con- tions through financial support where 55 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Graduate Education institutional and program strengths exist for porations and public relations firms that will the specialization. enable practitioners to increase their knowl- edge of research and education needs and ◆ The creation of “distinguished visiting lecture- that facilitate cooperative research between ship” positions that will enable the employment educators and practitioners. of top practitioners in public relations programs. ◆ The creation of competitive management ◆ Increasedfinancial support for research that level traineeships for master’s and doctoral will enable more qualitative and quantitative students of public relations within public rela- research. tions firms, corporations, nonprofit organiza- ◆ The creation of “faculty fellowships” at cor- tions and governments. Notes Hallahan, Kirk, (http://www.prsa.org/_Publications/magazines/0803spot4.asp, accessed May 9, 2006). 56 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Supervised Experience Perhaps no one aspect of public relations education has generated more discussion and diversity of implementation than the recommended “supervised work experience.” The models recommended were built applying Three qualities were included to describe the experience: flexible time and content delivery designs that permit students to access courses in other aca- 1. cooperatively supervised by a practitioner demic disciplines. Too, in offering the course in and a faculty member; distance learning or weekend formats, manage- 2. learning objectives guide the experience; ment faculty, for example, could teach busi- ness courses to public relations students. This 3. consistent and continuous evaluation of section briefly describes the nature of the su- the performance of the student during the pervised work experience (internship), pres- experience. ents several issues surrounding differences in Given those qualities, the report noted that the manner in which programs define this ex- when public relations students undertake an perience and offers recommendations for such internship, they should (a) know the faculty experience. and practitioner supervisor, (b) create objec- tives for the learning and professional perform- Summary of Recommendations in ance that are understood and agreed to by both Previous Commission Reports supervisors and (c) have the benefit of continu- ous assessment of their work by their supervi- Two previous Commission reports (1987 and sors throughout the internship. 1999) included “supervised experience” as one of the core courses in their recommended un- Supervised work experience for graduate stu- dergraduate curricula. A Port of Entry (1999) dents assumed lesser importance than for un- asserted that it was “… imperative that public dergraduates in the 1999 report. Specifically, relations students have the opportunity to supervised instruction was a complement, or apply the skills and principles they learn to the an alternative, to a comprehensive examina- professional arena.” tion. If undertaken, however, the three qualities 57
  • Supervised Experience ◆ Should guiding the undergraduate work experience the faculty supervisor visit the work- place of each student supervised, and how also were applicable to a graduate internship. often? The flexibility permitted in the previous reports ◆ Can an intern be “fired” by the practitioner? If has led to considerable variety in work experi- so, does the internship count as supervised ences, depending upon how institutions ad- work experience? dressed several issues. Some of those issues have included: ◆ What is the appropriate title for supervised work experience: internship, externship, co- ◆ Is completion of an internship a condition for operative work, practical experience or some graduation? Should an internship be required other label? of all public relations students? ◆ Should oncampus work assignments be ◆ Should a supervised work experience be counted as a supervised work experience? counted as an internship only if credit is given? ◆ How long (measured in hours, or weeks) should work experience last? ◆ Should credit be permitted for more than one internship and should more than one intern- ◆ How much credit should be given for intern- ship be counted toward graduation require- ships of varying lengths: e.g., one credit hour ments? for a set number of hours of work completed? ◆ Ifthe work experience is unpaid, should it A variety of answers to these and other ques- count as a for-credit internship? tions has led to a variety of methods used to pro- vide students with supervised work experience. ◆ Is securing work experience the responsibility of the student or the college/university? New Research Findings and Analysis ◆ Should part-time work be counted as “super- Research conducted by the Commission for this vised work experience”? report reaffirmed the central importance of su- ◆ Ifthe student is paid (i.e., receives an hourly pervised work experience to public relations wage or stipend), is the student an employee students. Practitioners surveyed identified it as of the employing organization or a student of the highest-scored essential ingredient of an un- the university? dergraduate education. Educators equally val- ued supervised experience and credibility. ◆ Ifa student is enrolled for credit, how should Practical experience also was one of the top five the experience be graded? Who should deter- considerations in entry-level hiring decisions. mine the grade? Is “pass-fail” an appropriate In short, the attitude of educators and practi- grading policy? tioners alike remains unchanged since the 1999 ◆ Should it be expected that the student will report: supervised work experience is an essen- produce a tangible product for the experience tial part of public relations education. to be given credit? Should the student pro- However, some discrepancy between faculty at- duce/create/design/write/conduct research titudes and institutional performance was re- appropriate for a professional portfolio? vealed in the recent research. The broad, ◆ Should the student write a report about the quantitative research study conducted in prepa- experience in addition to supervisor evalua- ration for the Commission’s report showed that tions and the accumulation of evidence of while both educators and practitioners believe work completed? internships or practicum experience are a 58 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • highly essential part of public relations educa- unable to pay interns. Whereas volunteer- staffed nonprofits with revenues of less than tion, both groups judged the quality of intern- $100,000 certainly would find it difficult to pay ships as only “okay” at about the midpoint on a a student intern, many nonprofits seeking pub- 5-point scale. lic relations interns have much higher revenues and multiple paid employees. Museums, col- Many educators and practitioners argue leges, hospitals and local chapters of large na- tional organizations usually are far from poor. that payment for work increases the Reported annual revenue for some well-known nonprofits, such as the American Red Cross, professionalism of the internship experience American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Clubs, Goodwill, United Way and YMCA, is $1 billion and rightfully recognizes returned value to or more nationally. And, while staff salaries at the organization. nonprofit organizations are below salaries in the for-profit sector, they still are relatively competitive. For example, a 2005 compensation A survey of faculty advisers to Chapters of the study by GuideStar found that top program offi- the Public Relations Student Society of cers at charities with budgets between $1 mil- America (PRSSA) revealed that fewer than half lion and $2.5 million (classified as mid-size) of the programs require public relations ma- earned a median salary of $62,700 in 2003.1 jors to complete an internship for academic The 2005 survey of top executives’ compensa- credit. Yet internships for academic credit are tion conducted by The Chronicle of encouraged. About three-fourths of the public Philanthropy showed that the national presi- relations majors at these colleges and universi- dents of the well-known nonprofits listed above ties typically complete an internship for aca- earn more than $300,000 per year.2 demic credit. Furthermore, students in almost all the programs (98 percent) complete an av- Another study found that the annual median erage of one or more internships—for-credit salary of public relations directors for local non- and/or noncredit—during their undergraduate profits was about $50,500 in 2004.3 It is there- college careers. fore difficult to understand why more nonprofits cannot pay student interns at least Survey results showed that only 36 percent of minimum wage. for-credit internships pay students a stipend or salary, an issue of concern since students must A few additional points regarding public rela- pay tuition and fees to receive academic credit tions internships at nonprofits should be made. for an internship. Therefore, nonpaying intern- Nonprofits that are volunteer-staffed with rev- ships for credit actually cost the student enues of less than $100,000 are unlikely to have money. Furthermore, nonpaying internships— an employee with expertise in public relations for-credit or noncredit—discriminate against or communication who would be a suitable in- students with financial need because they tern supervisor. Academic credit should not be often must work to attend college and cannot granted for such experiences. afford to give up paying jobs to take on non- A valuable resource for educators is the paying internships. GuideStar Web site (www.guidestar.org), which Discussion about paid internships inevitably provides annual revenue, number of employees raises questions about nonprofit organizations, and other information about specific nonprof- which stereotypically are portrayed as poor and its. The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Web site 59 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Supervised Experience (www.philanthropy.com) also is useful for edu- creased number of internships with certain cators and nonprofit practitioners desiring to types of organizations. At the top of the list for survey respondents were more internships with make a case for paying interns who want to companies and corporations, followed by pub- work at nonprofits. lic relations firms and government agencies. Many educators and practitioners argue that PRSSA faculty advisers reported that typically payment for work increases the professionalism only about two-thirds of the internships cur- of the internship experience and rightfully rec- rently available to their students are “high qual- ognizes returned value to the organization. ity.” When asked to name the one factor they Some educators who responded to the survey believe is most important to making an intern- believe that public relations firms using unpaid ship high- quality, the overwhelming plurality interns to acquire and maintain clients are con- focused on the internship supervisor and his or tributing unethically to their bottom line. her availability, expertise and working relation- A May 2006 Op-Ed piece in The New York ship with the student. Times, titled “Take This Internship and Shove Ranking second as a quality factor was students It,” simply stated, “Unpaid internships are not being given meaningful assignments and not jobs, only simulations. And fake jobs are not being treated primarily as clerical workers. the best preparation for real jobs.” The author cited several studies relevant to this discussion, The importance of the faculty supervisor’s com- including a 1998 survey of employers by the municating often and openly with internship Institute on Education and the Economy at sponsors was underscored by the study’s find- Columbia University’s Teachers College, which ing that internship coordinators generally have found that “compared to unpaid internships, limited contact with students during their in- paid placements are strongest on all measures ternships. The majority reported that the per- of internship quality. The quality measures are son coordinating public relations internships also higher for those firms who intend to hire for academic credit in their programs has for- their interns.”4 mal contact with the student only about once a month or even less frequently. Regardless of opinions and studies, one basic principle of the marketplace should be kept in mind: Students almost always select the organi- 2006 Recommendations zations to which they apply for internships, and 1. The Commission recommends that sponsor- organizations offering pay will attract the best ing organizations of all types—companies, candidates. firms, government agencies and nonprofits— pay public relations students for internships. Results of the internship survey also indicate that availability of public relations internships 2. The Commission recommends that academic is not a problem. Participants were asked to credit for internships be reserved for work- rate the availability of public relations intern- place experiences that include an on-site su- ships for their students on a scale from 1 to 10, pervisor knowledgeable in public relations. with 1 representing “way too few” and 10 rep- resenting “more than we can fill.” The resulting 3. The Commission strongly recommends that mean score was 6.88, meaning that, on aver- organizations, regardless of type, assign stu- age, internship opportunities meet and slightly dents to supervisors who will routinely and surpass the number needed. clearly instruct students and evaluate their performance. Although more internships in general are not needed, students would benefit from an in- 4. The Commission recommends that educa- 60 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • tors make concerted efforts to communicate nating internships, one instructor be assigned with practitioners—in person, by phone for every 30 students taking internships for and/or by e-mail—to candidly discuss needs academic credit during a term. and expectations of public relations interns. 8. The Commission recommends that individ- 5. The Commission recommends that public re- ual public relations educators and associa- lations faculty have a high degree of quality tions to which they belong conduct in-depth control in the administration of internships research to determine best practices in pub- for public relations students. lic relations internships. 6. The Commission recommends that, when It is hoped that research findings presented faculty hold primary responsibility for coor- here and recommendations by the Commission dinating internships, the work be credited as will assist public relations educators and practi- part of the faculty member’s normal teach- tioners in their efforts to offer high-quality in- ing load. ternships for their students. Doing so will benefit the public relations profession now and 7. The Commission recommends that, when faculty hold primary responsibility for coordi- in the future. Notes 1 [Blum, Debra E. (2005, October 13). Female charity executives win big increase in pay. The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved September 12, 2006, from http://www.philan- thropy.com/premium/articles/v18/i01/01003501.htm] 2 [Executive compensation survey. (2005, September 29). The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved September 12, 2006, from http://www.philanthropy.com/premium/stats/salary/] 3 [Langer, Steven. (2004). Compensation in nonprofit organizations (17th ed.). Crete, IL: Abbott, Langer & Associates.] 4 [Kamenetz, Anya. (2006, May 30). Take this internship and shove it. The New York Times, p. A19.] 61 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • 62 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Distance Learning While distance education involves any type of education that is delivered away from a main college or university campus, online education is the focus of this section. Online education now includes more than one million students in online degree programs out of the approximately 15 million total students enrolled today in higher educational institutions in the United States.1 The Sloan Foundation’s report, Growing by The Wall Street Journal reports that, despite the Degrees: Online Education in the United States, publicity focus on the University of Phoenix 2005, documents that online education has be- and other for-profit schools, it is the public uni- come part of the mainstream of university edu- versities that are going online “big time.” cation. For example, the report includes the According to Gary Miller, associate vice presi- following findings: dent for outreach at Penn State University,3 “Public universities are moving into the online ◆ Thenumber of students taking at least one environment extremely rapidly.” In fact, there online course grew 18.2 percent in 2004 to are more than 51,450 students enrolled in the 2.35 million students. online University College of the University of ◆ 65percent of schools offering graduate face-to- Maryland, more than 9,200 at the University of face courses also offer graduate courses online. Massachusetts and nearly 20,000 at Troy University in Alabama.4 ◆ 63percent of schools offering undergraduate face-to-face courses also offer undergraduate Yet few public relations courses are currently courses online. being taught online in American universities. No complete undergraduate programs have ◆ Among all schools offering face-to-face mas- been found online in public relations.5 The six ter’s degree programs, 44 percent also offer universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents masters’ degree programs online. system (Austin Peay, East Tennessee State, ◆ 43 Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee percent of business schools also offer on- line business degrees.2 Technological University, Tennessee State and 63
  • Distance Learning University of Memphis) come close: they have public relations faculty members typically have heavy teaching loads, advising responsibilities a five-course sequence of public relations and research agendas, which don’t allow extra courses available in their organizational leader- time for many additional duties. Many major ship concentration for an online bachelor of universities with well-designed programs and professional studies degree. The five courses courses often provide teaching/learning-center are the typical ones covering the suggested top- support with instructional design assistance as well as production assistance for preparing ma- terials for online instruction. But the university … (I)t is the public universities that should also provide a teaching load reduction for the designer of a new online course. As an are going online “big time.” incentive, the designer often will also receive extra compensation, or a stipend, for preparing the course(s). The intellectual property rights for the newly ics in the 1999 Port of Entry: public relations designed online course usually go to the de- principles, writing, research, case problems and signer/instructor. However, the university will campaigns. An internship is also available. retain the right to use the course, should the At the graduate level, there is no program that designer leave the university. is totally online and entirely a public relations Pedagogy: Different skills and methods of program. West Virginia University has an inte- teaching are needed for online instruction. Fifty grated marketing communication online pro- years of research show students learn more gram. Austin Peay University has an online when they collaborate with each other, receive master’s degree in corporate communication. prompt and trusted feedback, have more inter- The University of Maryland’s University College action with the professor and have more op- offers a master’s degree in management and tions of learning style. This can all happen with public relations. Syracuse University has a cam- online instruction. pus component plus online instruction for its master’s of public relations and management. No longer is the instructor the key person; in- The University of Memphis has an online mas- stead, the key is the student learner. Emphasis ter’s degree in journalism with a concentration is on how to best meet the learning objectives in public relations available.6 of the course. The instructor is much more a course manager, rather than the center of the 2006 Recommendations learning process. The more the student can be involved with the course material through as- To have quality online programs, several issues signments, online discussions and group exer- must be considered by public relations program cises, the more likely the learning objectives are administrators and faculty. These include re- to be obtained. Typically, there are several stu- sources (incentives, design and development dents in a classroom setting who are reluctant costs), pedagogy and quality assurance. to ask questions. However, with online classes, Resources: University administrators must students are much more likely to be involved provide additional resources to develop online with the professor and other students through programs if a school decides to undertake the e-mail, discussion postings, assignments and task of developing a program, either at the un- chat rooms. dergraduate or graduate level. While a single course may be done without more assistance, Online courses may not always be the ideal 64 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • choice for students, but are the realistic choice other intellectual property rights issues. They because of work schedules, home responsibili- need to provide incentives to faculty to develop ties and/or special needs. The successful online courses as well as teach them and to provide student tends to be an adult learner who is instructional design assistance. Administrators highly motivated, mature and focused on learn- also must provide oversight to insure that all ing. In one major online statewide program, the programs, courses, instruction and faculty are typical student was found to be 40 years old able to meet accreditation standards when de- and female with two children.7 livering online courses.9 Lessons learned from students taking online Quality Assurance: The North Central courses include these: Association of Colleges and Schools has led the way in developing standards evaluating online They tend to be motivated, focused and appre- degree programs.10 The other regional accredit- ciative of the opportunity to learn, no matter ing associations have joined together to use the where they live or how much they travel. Their standards developed by North Central and ap- work is often superior to on-campus students. The students often get to know one another better than they would in a classroom setting. Some material is even easier to master online than other types of coursework.8 Public relations education in Instructors report that class size needs to be the next decade will need to small (typically 25 or fewer for a lecture course include online education in its and 15 or fewer for a writing or graduate course). mix of delivery methods…. At least weekly involvement and considerable contact with students are essential. The instruc- tor and students need to be comfortable with computers. Courses need to be evaluated differ- proved by all eight regional groups. The ently, and there needs to be a technology hot- Council for Higher Education Accreditation line for immediate help. (CHEA) has developed guidelines for quality assurance in online and distance education. Regional college and university accrediting Various other groups also have developed on- agencies require that the services provided to line guidelines, including Blackboard, a major online students are similar to on-campus stu- course management software vendor, and the dents. Lessons learned from administrators sug- Sloan Consortium and Educause, both educa- gest these services should be the same or tional-based associations which work with dis- similar to those provided by these campus of- tance education issues and research. Problems fices: financial aid, admissions, bursar, registrar in quality assurance that continue to be ad- and advising. dressed include testing and evaluation, student Opportunities for career counseling and other involvement and quality of student services. services also may need to be provided. Library services need to be available from a distance; Conclusion therefore, students should be able to access Public relations education in the next decade electronic journals, databases and even books will need to include online education in its as well as interlibrary loan. Administrators must be prepared to deal with copyright and mix of delivery methods if it is to keep pace 65 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Distance Learning with the rest of professional education. such as Phoenix and Strayer, but also by tradi- Professional education has led the way in on- tional state and private colleges and universi- line programs because the demand among the ties. The traditional higher education system adult learners (persons 25 years old and older) has been slower to enter into online educa- is for those programs. Business, education and tion, but is now moving into it much more health care are those areas most in demand by rapidly because of the public demand for qual- the adult student.11 Those are the programs ity online education from credible higher edu- most offered, not only by for-profit institutions cational institutions. Notes 1 Carol Aslanian, higher education consultant, presentation at Association for Continuing Higher Education, Region VII Annual Convention, Fort Worth, TX, April 21, 2006. 2 The Sloan Consortium, “Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States, 2005.” 3 Daniel Golden, “Degrees@StateU.edu,” The Wall Street Journal Online, May 9, 2006. 4 Ibid. 5 Survey done by Dan Lattimore of all PRSSA schools, Spring 2006. 6 Ibid. 7 Regents Online Degree Programs, Tennessee Board of Regents, Nashville, TN. 8 Dan Lattimore, “Regents Online Degree Programs: What We’ve Learned,” ETHED Conference, Nashville, TN, April 2003. 9 Ibid. 10 http://www.ncahlc.org/download/Best_Pract_DEd.pdf 11 Aslanian, April 21, 2006. 66 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Governance and Academic Support Public relations education has evolved within the United States largely as a part of programs in journalism and mass communication or within departments of communication studies. Programs with strength in jour- nalistic writing were logical areas for public relations program develop- ment, as were programs with strength in organizational communication. In organizational structures, the relationship Although public relations faculty may have between the manager of the public relations earned respect and consequently influence program and top management has long been and even autonomy, public relations se- recognized as a critical factor in the effective quence and program coordinators may not performance of public relations. Less recog- have an official voice in the administrative hi- nized is the influence of where academic pro- erarchy beyond what is awarded them by the grams are placed within the management chair or department head. structure of universities on the ability of aca- ◆ Centers are frequently the next step toward demic programs in public relations to respond becoming a department or interdisciplinary and adapt independently to the needs of the unit, and directors may have budget control, public relations profession. official reporting responsibilities and varying Public relations practitioners and educators degrees of independence within the academic need to understand the following relationships unit in which they are placed. to understand the position of public relations ◆ Schools,on the other hand, are frequently the education compared with academic and profes- intermediate unit between development from sional education programs within universities: a department to a free-standing college. They ◆ Concentrations and sequences of study exist are normally headed by a director or dean, within academic departments. Control and who has greater status within an institution administration are directed by a chair who is of higher education than does a department influenced primarily by the dominant coali- chair. Schools may be departments (inde- tion of faculty within the department. pendent academic units) with budget and 67
  • Governance and Academic Support curriculum control within academic areas, the identification of courses as directed elec- tives, as part of students’ liberal education re- but not necessarily. Often, departmental iden- quirements or for the interdisciplinary options tification may only indicate sophistication of that can be offered. academic program development, rather than individual academic degree program budget The dominant influencing factor at an institu- control by chairs of units within the school. tion of higher education will be the degree of outside funding support, or, in some cases, state legislative direction in political response The one dominant influencing factor to a profession. These institutional differences and variations make it difficult to prescribe a at an institution of higher education single model for the governance of public rela- will be the degree of outside funding tions programs within universities. Instead, they point out two critical needs if public rela- support provided…. tions is to achieve status as a profession with generally accepted educational requirements for performance (one of the criteria for identifi- ◆ Colleges may have departments, centers and cation of a profession): sometimes even schools located within them. ◆ Increased economic influence. If so, these academic units may have direct budget and curriculum development responsi- ◆ Increased involvement as professionals and bilities and autonomy in the recruitment (and as a profession in influencing the develop- recommendation to the dean, provost or vice ment of public relations education. president of academic affairs or to the dean of faculties and vice president) for the employ- 2006 Recommendations ment and retention of faculty. Public relations programs must be responsive to Other factors that substantially influence the the profession they are designed to serve. development of public relations within univer- Following are steps that can be taken to increase sities and liberal arts colleges relate to institu- responsiveness and accelerate advancement: tional missions; the history of academic ◆ Increased autonomy of public relations facul- program development within an institution of ties in defining curriculum and degree re- higher education; the strength of the existing quirements. curriculum; the research and publication achievement of existing faculty; and the reputa- ◆ Increased involvement of public relations pro- tion of student and alumni achievement. gram heads and their faculties in budget deci- sions related to their programs. The academic backgrounds of faculty within the unit having control, and the professional ◆ Increased independence of public relations and academic experiences of administrators at faculties in defining employment, tenure and all levels within the chain of command, also promotion criteria and in making recommen- may substantially influence the development of dations to higher-level administrators for new academic programs. These experiences may ei- faculty employment. ther facilitate program development or limit it. ◆ Increased achievements and visibility of pub- The development of undergraduate and gradu- lic relations academic program administrators. ate programs also are influenced by institu- tional strength or weakness in areas where ◆ Independent ability to communicate with and public relations has interdisciplinary needs for build alumni support. 68 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • ◆ Independent professional identity of enrolled date the need for increased professional pro- students equal to existing programs in jour- gram recognition and public relations faculty nalism, marketing and advertising where they control. exist in programs of higher education. ◆ The assignment of staff or graduate assistant ◆ Greater autonomy in the control of admission support to coordinators of sequences of pub- standards within institutional mission guide- lic relations sufficient for the adequate super- lines. vision of PRSSA activities, student public relations agencies and program development ◆ Theability to have independent identity and such as lectureships, conferences, advisory control as public relations faculties over the council development, alumni and profes- professional support received for scholar- sional development and communication. ships, chairs, lectureships and public relations program support. ◆ Increased efforts to involve leading public re- lations practitioners as members of public re- ◆ Independent ability as public relations pro- lations advisory councils for academic grams to define needs and program priorities programs that help define involvement needs, and to direct funds in supporting student ac- recommend supervision structures and share tivities. achievements. ◆ Adequate staff and graduate assistantship ◆ Increased recognition at the national level for support to develop and carry out programs practitioner contributions to advisory councils developed by the public relations program at the institutional level. faculty. ◆ Increased support from national PRSA in cre- In view of these needs and the differences in ating an annual Education/Professional academic institutions, the following manage- Advancement Day for PRSA chapter programs ment or governance structures are recom- with recommended areas for panel discus- mended to academic administrators and to sions designed to educate practitioners as to professionals for the use in the next decade: the status and needs of higher education as ◆ The well as how PRSA members and chapters can creation of Centers for Public Relations be involved in speaking up for advancements Research and Education within departments or schools where student enrollments man- in public relations education. 69 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • 70 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Faculty Credentials The recommendations of the Commission’s October 1999 report remain valid. But the critical shortage of qualified public relations edu- cators has become even more acute since that report was published. Qualifications for teaching public relations at a both a terminal degree (usually a Ph.D.) and significant practitioner experience. When this college or university generally include a Ph.D. ideal was not possible, the report suggested a degree. Those holding Ph.D. degrees who also balance among public relations faculty, i.e., have had substantial and significant practi- those who had terminal degrees and those who tioner experience are highly preferred. The had substantial and significant practitioner ex- Commission encourages those faculty who perience. The report urged that adjunct faculty have Ph.D.s, but who have limited or no practi- have both practitioner experience and at least a tioner experience, and those without this termi- baccalaureate degree–with accreditation by a nal degree who are former practitioners, to professional public relations association being pursue a range of academic and professional highly desirable. The report further recom- experiences that will familiarize them with mended that all public relations educators be both the knowledge and the skills needed in actively engaged in scholarship or in profes- the current practice of public relations. sional and creative activity, in part through In addition to the academic credential of a doc- their active participation in practitioner and/or torate, a broad knowledge of communication academic associations. Full-time faculty should sciences, behavioral sciences and business, as provide the majority of public relations instruc- well as considerable cultural and historical tion in an academic unit. knowledge, also are highly desirable in public The October 1999 Commission report recog- relations faculty. nized that the doctoral curriculum in public relations historically had been a specialized Summary of Recommendations in the option within a broader program, usually in Commission’s October 1999 Report “mass communication” or “communication.” The October 1999 Commission said the ideal Such a theory-and-research degree would pre- full-time public relations educator would have pare public relations faculty to add to the body 71
  • Faculty Credentials of knowledge in the field. Faculty holding a creasing numbers of public relations students Ph.D. also would be aware of the relationship who are filling the nation’s classrooms. Indeed, of the public relations body of knowledge to since the last Commission report, the demand other communication-related knowledge, e.g., for public relations professors with Ph.D.s has interpersonal, rhetorical, organizational and significantly increased. Furthermore, colleges small group, and would thus be able to inte- and universities are being pressured even more grate a range of knowledge into their teaching by their regional accrediting bodies to fill fac- ulty positions with candidates having Ph.D.s. As a result, public relations educators are being valued more for their academic credentials than The critical shortage of qualified public for their practitioner experience, which previ- ously might have compensated for the lack of a relations educators has become even more terminal degree. acute… because of the increasing numbers The numbers of doctoral students planning aca- of public relations students who are filling demic careers in public relations is slowly in- creasing. Several existing doctoral programs the nation’s classrooms. have paid increasing attention to public rela- tions education and some new public relations doctoral programs have been developed. Still, these recent efforts do not sufficiently address and research. Faculty having such scholarly the continuing shortage of qualified public rela- breadth also could develop competing para- tions educators. digms of public relations that would be based on different metatheoretical and philosophical The good news is that scholarly convention foundations, which could be shared in an in- paper presentations by junior professors and terdisciplinary, multicultural and global con- doctoral students are providing anecdotal evi- text. Public relations faculty also were urged dence of a new generation of public relations to keep current in their knowledge through educators who exemplify the ideal qualifica- “professor in residence” programs, faculty- tions identified in the October 1999 professional exchanges, participation in pro- Commission report. While public relations cen- fessional development programs and ters and endowed chairs at universities remain sabbaticals in which they work in a practi- few in number, they nevertheless have helped tioner environment. “institutionalize” public relations doctoral edu- cation programs as well as attract students to The October 1999 report reiterated a recom- doctoral study in public relations. mendation from the 1987 Commission report: “Public relations courses should not be taught The shortage of qualified faculty and the by people who have little or no experience and paucity of doctoral programs in public relations interest in the field and have no academic are exacerbated by the growing body of public preparation in public relations.” relations knowledge that must be taught in doc- toral-level courses. Without enough faculty Progress and Change in Public Relations knowledgeable and academically prepared to Education Since the 1999 Report teach this growing literature in the field, there is the danger that the growing number of bac- The critical shortage of qualified public rela- calaureate and master’s program students will tions educators has become even more acute since the October 1999 report because of the in- be less than adequately taught. 72 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • New Research Findings and Analysis standing of the social consequences of public relations as well as its global harmonizing role, Public relations educators must be fully quali- the economic contributions of public relations, fied to teach what students at the undergradu- familiarity with a range of research methodolo- ate, master’s and doctoral levels need to know. gies and an understanding of cultural diversity. Research by the 2006 Commission identified Quantitative research noted that graduate stu- several trends for which public relations educa- dents should be taught subject matter above tors must adequately prepare their students. and beyond that of undergraduate students, These include: the need for transparency and with content including: public relations theory accountability; the increasing value of public and concepts, public relations law, public rela- relations to top management; the demand for tions ethics, global public relations, public rela- public relations research methodology, meas- tions applications, public relations management urement and metrics; globalization; an increas- and diversity, public relations research, public ingly complex and difficult ethical relations management, public relations pro- environment; challenges to institutional trust gramming and production, public relations and credibility; rapidly changing media; tech- publics, communication processes, manage- nological change; the increasing importance of ment sciences, and behavioral sciences. Again, internal audiences; and the need for organiza- public relations educators must integrate into tions to integrate their communication. their teaching much of this subject matter and Research by the 2006 Commission revealed that bear primary responsibility for student mastery undergraduate students particularly need the of the content. Qualitative research found sup- following subject matter: writing and speaking port for graduate education that was interdisci- skills, the fundamentals of public relations, plinary, e.g., communication, management and strategic thinking skills, research skills, plan- behavioral sciences. ning and problem-solving skills, ethics, funda- mentals of how businesses operate, and a 2006 Recommendations foundation in the liberal arts and sciences. All of the recommendations of the October Qualitative research indicated that students also 1999 Commission report remain valid, but the need to learn about technological advances, the need for adhering to them is more emphatic. strategic function of public relations, multidisci- The world and relationships among its inhabi- plinary approaches to public relations, meas- tants have gotten more complicated since the urement in public relations, the integration of last report; and the public relations body of marketing and communication, globalization, knowledge has increased geometrically. the need for transformational leaders and an Qualifications of public relations educators nor- understanding of factors leading to the disinte- mally include a Ph.D. degree, which prepares gration of civil society. Even though some of faculty for careers, not only as educators, but as this content is taught outside public relations scholars who conduct research using multiple courses, public relations faculty are responsible methodologies to help to build theory that adds for making sure that students master it. to the public relations body of knowledge. Of Commission research suggested that graduate course, those holding a Ph.D. degree who also education content should move toward under- have had substantial and significant practi- standing business and management and public tioner experience are even more highly desired. relations as a strategic management function. Public relations faculty also must be broadly Subject matter for graduate study that was educated in communication sciences, behav- identified as important by the Commission’s quantitative survey research included an under- ioral sciences and business, as well as have 73 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Faculty Credentials considerable cultural and historical knowledge. nity. Without faculty who fit this model, public Such breadth will help ensure that public rela- relations education programs won’t be valued tions educators include in their teaching and because their faculty will be considered “sec- consider in their scholarly agendas public rela- ond-tier.” tions as a strategic management function, with Thus, while the Commission believes there is a full appreciation of the internationalization of place in the academy for former practitioners the practice and the importance of understand- with substantial and significant experience, ing diversity, ethics and social responsibility. those practitioners may be expected to earn Public relations education should not be their terminal degrees, i.e., their Ph.D.s, as a viewed as an “easy next job to which to retire,” credential for becoming full-time faculty. because many colleges and universities that tra- The Commission encourages those faculty who ditionally have not had research emphases are have Ph.D.s but who have limited or no practi- now requiring it from their faculty. Time will tioner experience, and those without this termi- tell whether the practice of hiring “professors of nal degree who are former practitioners, to practice” and others with practitioner creden- pursue a range of academic and professional tials can continue much longer. A successful ac- experiences that will familiarize them with ademic career increasingly will require a record both the knowledge and the skills needed in of scholarly publication and national and inter- national recognition in the scholarly commu- the current practice of public relations. 74 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Professional and Pre-Professional Organizations Students studying public relations in the United States have the opportunity to join a public relations organization before they are graduated. By becoming active members of a pre-professional organi- zation or a student member of a professional organization, students begin to realize that they are part of something much larger than being public relations students on their campuses. Together with their class work, involvement in have student chapters to aid in public relations students’ professional development. On an in- such organizations helps them begin to see how ternational level, students can join the and where they might fit into this profession. It International Public Relations Association also is the link between the classroom and their (IPRA). And the International Association of first jobs. And, by joining a professional organi- Business Communicators (IABC) has student zation’s student chapter, students are provided chapters on some college campuses. with opportunities to experience leadership. Finally, such professional organizations give Many nation-specific professional organizations students the opportunity to meet public rela- offer student memberships, including the tions professionals informally, participate in Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), professional development programs and make which offers an associate membership to full- contacts for internships and later jobs. time doctoral students at a reduced rate. (IPRA’s Web site www.ipra.org, contains a list of many of these professional organizations.) An Array of Organizations The largest pre-professional organization, the Several U.S.-based national affinity and special- Public Relations Student Society of America ization professional organizations offer student (PRSSA), offers membership or affiliate mem- memberships, such as the Association for bership through collegiate chapters for public Women In Communications (AWC), which has relations students. Many other professional or- student chapters; Hispanic Marketing and ganizations offer student memberships and Communications Association (HMCA); Hispanic 75
  • Professional and Pre-Professional Organizations Public Relations Association (HPRA); National sional chapter of the Public Relations Society Black Public Relations Society (NBPRS); of America (PRSA). Undergraduate and mas- National Government Communicators ter’s students are welcome. Association (NGCA); National Investor Members join through a chapter at their col- Relations Institute (NIRI); and the National lege or university in November or March. School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). Students at schools without PRSSA chapters cannot join; however, the PRSSA 2005-2006 National Committee approved a one-year …(P)rofessional organizations give students pilot program for PRSSA Affiliates. This pro- the opportunity to meet public relations gram was designed for those students who are interested in public relations, but attend professionals informally, participate in colleges and universities that do not meet the qualifications to establish a PRSSA charter. professional development programs and Affiliates receive certain PRSSA benefits, but are not considered members of PRSSA. make contacts for internships and later jobs. Schools without Chapters are encouraged to apply for a charter if they meet the criteria. Many states and regions have public relations Schools with PRSSA chapters must offer at organizations that also welcome students. least five courses in public relations repre- senting the core recommended by the Two prominent academic societies provide Commission on Public Relations Education. many opportunities for public relations gradu- They also must have at least one faculty ad- ate students: the public relations divisions of viser who is a PRSA member and a profes- the Association for Education in Journalism sional from the host PRSA chapter assigned and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and the as a professional adviser. National Communication Association (NCA). Many of the associate members of the journal- Students gather in the fall for the PRSSA ism organizations that comprise UNITY National Conference held in conjunction with (Journalists of Color, Asian American the PRSA International Conference to learn Journalists Association, National Association of about the latest developments in the profes- Black Journalists, National Association of sion. They meet with professionals in plenary Hispanic Journalists and the National Lesbian sessions to hear major speakers. In the and Gay Journalists Association) are public re- spring, the students elect their national offi- lations practitioners. Depending on the proxim- cers at their assembly and travel with others ity of the local chapters of these organizations, in their chapter to regional conferences. The students should be able to meet local profes- regional conferences provide an opportunity sionals and begin to make the transition from for those unable to travel to the national student to working professional. Conference. PRSSA members receive copies of PR Tactics, the same monthly publication sent to all PRSA members, and their own national Leading Organizations in Detail newspaper, FORUM. All members may com- ◆ PRSSA—By far the largest organization, with pete for individual scholarships and awards at chapters on more than 270 campuses and a the national level. membership of more than 9,000, is the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). PRSSA students can access the PRSSA Web Each chapter is sponsored by a local profes- site including PRSSA’s listings for internships 76 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • and full-time jobs and they have access to The IABC application fee is waived for gradu- sections of PRSA’s Web site. Additionally, ating students who join an IABC chapter, and members receive an e-mail of news stories re- they receive a discount on IABC professional lated to the public relations industry. membership dues. PRSA and PRSSA co-sponsor the national IABC headquarters is in San Francisco. The Bateman public relations campaign competi- URL is: www.iabc.com tion. Students, working in five-person teams, ◆ IPRA—The International Public Relations do research, plan and implement programs on Association (IPRA) welcomes students as their campuses on a topic announced in the members of the professional organization at a late summer of each year. The top 10 schools special student rate. It does not sponsor stu- are recognized in the spring, with the top dent chapters. Member students can access three teams winning prizes. case studies, conference papers and Frontline Graduating students who have been PRSSA articles from IPRA’s Web site. members may join PRSA at a reduced rate for IPRA headquarters is in the United Kingdom. two years. Also, the application fee is waived The URL is: www.ipra.org for them. ◆ The Global Alliance—The Global Alliance, PRSSA headquarters is in New York. The URL an umbrella organization that includes repre- is: www.prssa.org sentatives of more than 60 national and inter- ◆ IABC—The International Association of national public relations organizations, also Business Communicators (IABC) sponsors has an interest in developing relationships chapters on 40 college campuses in the with student organizations. PRSSA is one United States and Canada. It boasts more such organization with whom the Global than 1,300 student members. Students can Alliance has developed a relationship. The join IABC as student members in locations Global Alliance member organizations from where there is no student chapter. Student around the world have programs for students membership is open to all students working that vary greatly, but are nonetheless aimed toward a degree or certificate and not work- at fostering a connection to the professional ing in the communication industry. bodies in public relations. Campus chapters enjoy the support of a fac- Founded in 2000 and incorporated in 2002, ulty adviser, who is a member of IABC, and a the Global Alliance has grown to be the voice chapter liaison from the sponsoring chapter. of the profession on a global scale. Through The faculty adviser can serve both roles for the Global Alliance, students in affiliated or- IABC. ganizations can gain access to a network that reaches more than 160,000 professionals Students receive the monthly Communication throughout the world. World magazine and CW Bulletin, and have access to Job Center and to selected parts of For more information, please see: the IABC Web site. They are welcome to at- www.globalpr.org. tend IABC’s international conference for pro- ◆ HPRA—The Hispanic Public Relations Society fessionals at a special student rate. of America (HPRA) is a nonprofit organization Members may compete in the Student “Gold that serves communication professionals in Quill” competition. This competition recog- the Southern California area. HPRA’s mission nizes excellence in critical thinking, program is to provide career advancement opportuni- planning and evaluation. ties for individuals from entry to senior levels 77 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Professional and Pre-Professional Organizations in the public relations, marketing and adver- student chapter (where available) or a profes- tising fields. HPRA does not have a student so- sional chapter. And graduating student mem- ciety, but offers a student membership rate bers can join AWC without paying the and a scholarship program to undergraduate application fee. students pursing a degree in public relations AWC headquarters is in Severna Park, or related communication fields. Maryland. The URL is: www.womcom.org HPRA headquarters is in Los Angeles, California. The URL is: www.hpra-usa.org Other Professional Opportunities for Students ◆ NBPRS—The National Black Public Relations ◆ Student-Run Firms—Any college or univer- Society (NBPRS) serves its members through sity can start a student-run firm. The idea is initiatives such as career development and to allow students to work in groups to tackle training, program enhancements, chapter mo- bilization, networking and scholarships. NBPRS real problems and opportunities for local does not have a student society, but offers a clients. Some universities, such as Howard student membership rate to those currently en- University, have incorporated their student rolled in a public relations/communication pro- firms into their curricula. However, most stu- gram at an accredited college or university. dent-run firms are operated through PRSSA Student members are encouraged to attend its chapters. PRSSA promotes this within its national conference, which offers professional chapters and annually gives an award for the development, resume enhancement and net- best student-run firm. PRSSA offers a national working opportunities. affiliation for qualifying chapter firms. Some clients pay for the firm’s services; other proj- NBPRS headquarters is in Hollywood, ects are done pro-bono. Information on how California. The URL is: www.nbprs.org to begin a student firm is available at ◆ AWC—The www.prssa.org. Other information that would Association for Women in aid in developing a public relations firm is Communications (AWC) supports 38 student available from the Council of Public Relations chapters across the United States. Serving pub- lic relations, journalism and other communica- Firms, which is a trade association for public tion disciplines, AWC has a combined relations agencies, www.prfirms.org. professional and student membership of 4,000. ◆ Other Student Opportunities—Many other Student chapters all have a faculty adviser and, professional organizations offer professional where possible, a professional chapter liaison. development, scholarships and awards for students, even though they may not offer stu- Students compete for scholarships through dent memberships. An example is The AWC’s Matrix Foundation. Students are wel- LaGrant Foundation, which offers internships come at the professional association’s annual and scholarships to minority students pursu- conference at a special student rate and re- ing public relations. The Council of Public ceive the quarterly Matrix and the monthly Relations Firms offers resources for career de- InterCom newsletter. Student members have velopment; PRWeek offers a student-of-the access to job/salary survey data and the year competition, and the Arthur W. Page Career Center on AWC’s Web site. Society offers students internships, a case Students have the option of affiliating with a study competition and other career resources. 78 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice Program Certification and Accreditation The Commission’s 1999 report dealt with certification and accreditation processes of three organizations: the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) and the National Communication Association (NCA). The latter’s process is a self-help initiative, not programs. Originally an association of journal- ism education and newspaper organizations, a formal assessment of the quality of public re- the Council broadened its mission to mass com- lations programs. Therefore, this report deals munication, including public relations, and only with the PRSA and ACEJMC processes, changed its name in 1980. ACEJMC offices are both of which are voluntary external review located in the William Allen White School of procedures. Journalism and Mass Communications at the The ACEJMC accreditation process, however, University of Kansas, Lawrence. It has no con- has undergone major changes since 1999. For nection to or affiliation with the university. example, ACEJMC no longer is authorized by ACEJMC accredits academic units that offer pro- the U.S. Department of Education to grant pro- fessional programs to prepare college students fessional accreditation; rather, it is sanctioned for careers in journalism and mass communica- by the Council for Higher Education tion. The unit may be a college, school or de- Accreditation (CHEA). It recently condensed its partment. Components of the unit, such as a standards from 12 to nine. The PRSA public relations program, are covered under unit Certification in Education for Public Relations accreditation, but are not accredited individually. (CEPR) Program has continued to expand. ACEJMC accreditation is voluntary. The process ACEJMC Accreditation begins with a letter from the chief executive of- ACEJMC traces its beginning to 1945, when the ficer of a college or university inviting ACEJMC American Council on Education in Journalism to review a relevant unit. It then proceeds was formed to evaluate and accredit journalism through four stages that usually span two 79
  • Program Certification and Accreditation years: production of an extensive self-study, a Starting in fall 2006, the same nine standards will three-day site visit by a team of two or more ed- be used by ACEJMC to assess professional mas- ucators and one practitioner, review and recom- ter’s degree programs (Ph.D. programs are mendation by the Accrediting Committee and deemed academic and, therefore, are not eligible review and final recommendation by the for professional accreditation). ACEJMC will Accrediting Council. Units must apply for reac- make separate evaluations of undergraduate and creditation every six years. graduate programs, including separate, and possi- bly different, recommendations for accreditation. Overall, only 94 out of more than 3,000 A fact often overlooked by practitioners is that ACEJMC “embraces the value of a liberal arts U.S. colleges and universities have public and sciences curriculum as the essential foun- dation for a professional journalism and mass relations programs certified or accredited communications education.” Compliance with by either PRSA or ACEJMC…. the standard on curriculum and instruction re- quires that students take a minimum of 80 se- mester credit hours outside of the journalism The self-study is organized by nine standards and mass communications unit, of which 65 se- on which the unit will be evaluated. The site mester credit hours must be in the liberal arts visit team, after reading the self-study, examin- and sciences. In other words, in an accredited ing records and documents, attending classes unit requiring 120 semester hours for a bache- and interviewing students, faculty and adminis- lor’s degree, public relations students com- trators, produces a written draft report in which monly take only 40 semester credit hours in the unit is found in compliance or noncompli- courses focusing on their major. Their educa- ance with each of the nine standards. Based on tion is well-rounded, with twice as many its findings, the team makes one of three rec- courses taken in such subjects as history, politi- ommendations: accreditation/reaccreditation, cal science, sociology and philosophy. provisional reaccreditation (meaning the unit ACEJMC now also requires that an accredited has specified deficiencies that can and must be unit’s students must be educated in 11 pre- corrected within two years, when a revisit will scribed competencies and values: be conducted) or denial. The nine standards of ACEJMC accreditation are as follows: 1. understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, includ- 1. Mission, Governance and Administration ing the right to dissent, to monitor and criti- 2. Curriculum and Instruction cize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances; 3. Diversity and Inclusiveness 2. demonstrate an understanding of the history 4. Full-time and Part-time Faculty and role of professionals and institutions in 5. Scholarship: Research, Creative and shaping communication; Professional Activity 3. demonstrate an understanding of the diver- 6. Student Services sity of groups in a global society in relation- ship to communication; 7. Resources, Facilities and Equipment 4. understand concepts and apply theories in 8. Professional and Public Service the use and presentation of images and in- 9. Assessment of Learning Outcomes formation; 80 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • 5. demonstrate an understanding of profes- pool of educator and practitioner volunteers sional ethical principles and work ethically who have served on previous teams and/or in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and di- participated in a training session. Many are versity; members of the Accrediting Committee or the Accrediting Council (members cannot vote on 6. think critically, creatively and independently; schools they visited as part of a team). In form- 7. conduct research and evaluate information ing teams, ACEJMC is committed to recruiting by methods appropriate to the communica- members who are representative of the unit’s tion professions in which they work; various disciplines. An effort also is made to in- clude a person of color on each team and at 8. write correctly and clearly in forms and least one member who is not a Committee or styles appropriate for the communication Council member. Noteworthy for this report, professions, audiences and purposes they ACEJMC recently cited a shortage of public re- serve; lations professionals available for service on 9. critically evaluate their own work and that site-visiting teams. of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, The Accrediting Committee’s 15 members are appropriate style and grammatical correct- nominated and elected by the Council. Eight ness; must be educators, and seven represent related 10.apply basic numerical and statistical concepts; industries, such as advertising, broadcasting, newspapers and public relations. The 11.apply tools and technologies appropriate for Accrediting Council currently consists of 18 rep- the communication professions in which resentatives of 16 professional organizations (for they work example, the American Advertising Federation In addition, graduate students should be able to and PRSA), 15 representatives of five educa- contribute to knowledge appropriate to the com- tional associations (for example, the Association munication professions in which they will work. of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communica- tion) and three public members who are not af- The site-visiting team delivers its draft report to filiated with the field. Membership on the the unit administrator and the university CEO ACEJMC Council is open to all membership or- before leaving campus. After input from the unit ganizations of educators or professionals in jour- reviewed, the site-visiting team submits a final nalism and mass communication. Dues are report to headquarters, and the team chair pres- tiered by status as an education or industry asso- ents the findings and recommendation to the ciation and by size of operating budget. Accrediting Committee at its annual meeting, usually held in March. Based on the unit’s self- Representation of public relations in the study, the site-visiting team’s report and discus- ACEJMC accreditation process has increased sion, the committee votes and forwards a substantially since the Commission on Public recommendation to the Accrediting Council. The Relations Education’s 1999 report—demonstrat- Council makes the final decision regarding ac- ing laudatory response from practitioners to the creditation at its spring meeting, usually held in Commission’s “A Call to Action.” For example, May. An appeals process is in place. All ACEJMC whereas only one practitioner organization, meetings are open to the public, and all votes on PRSA, had a representative on the ACEJMC accrediting decisions are taken in open sessions. Council in 1999, PRSA now has two representa- Self-studies and site-visiting team reports are tives on the Council, and the Arthur W. Page available to the public upon request. Society, which became a dues-paying member Site-visit team members are selected from a of the Council in 2004, has one representative. 81 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Program Certification and Accreditation In other words, instead of one voice and one ited PRSA members, one a practitioner and the other an educator, who examine the curricu- vote, public relations now has three voices and lum, resources, facilities, faculty qualifications votes. (In addition, several representatives of and university support that is provided to pub- educational associations on the Council have a lic relations education. On-site meetings are background in and appreciation of public rela- conducted with numerous stakeholders, includ- tions and uphold the interests of public rela- ing faculty, department and university adminis- tions education.) trators and public relations students. Calls are Still, participation by more public relations pro- made to local professionals and alumni to learn fessional associations is needed. In comparison, their assessment of the program. The intensive for example, newspaper journalism has repre- two-and-one-half day review culminates in a sentatives of six professional associations on written report and a meeting of the team with the ACEJMC Council: the American Society of the academic vice president and/or the presi- Newspaper Editors, Associated Press Managing dent of the university. Editors, Inland Press Association, Newspaper Successful programs are granted PRSA certifica- Association of America Foundation, Society of tion for a six-year time period. The process Professional Journalists and Southern must be repeated for re-certification. Newspaper Publishers Association. PRSA certification is based on program compli- It is estimated that more than 1,000 U.S. col- ance with nine standards: leges and universities offer courses in public re- lations, yet only 88 have units accredited by 1. Public Relations Curriculum ACEJMC. In the absence of accreditation to 2. Public Relations Faculty (Full- and Part-time) stimulate and encourage sound education pro- grams, public relations will remain a profession 3. Resources, Equipment and Facilities in name only. 4. Public Relations Students 5. Assessment PRSA Certification PRSA established its Certification in Education 6. Relationships with Alumni and Professionals for Public Relations (CEPR) program in 1989. 7. Relationships with Total Unit and University CEPR is a voluntary program and, in many ways, emulates the ACEJMC accreditation 8. PRSSA Chapter process. Unlike ACEJMC accreditation, how- 9. Diversity ever, CEPR deals solely with public relations education programs and only at the undergrad- Overall, only 94 out of more than 3,000 U.S. uate level. It originally was targeted at public colleges and universities have public relations relations education programs housed in units programs certified or accredited by either PRSA not eligible for ACEJMC accreditation (for ex- or ACEJMC; 8 are certified by PRSA, and their ample, departments grounded in the traditional units also are accredited by ACEJMC. discipline of speech communication), al- though, to date, few such programs have taken Public Relation Programs advantage of the certification opportunity. The Certified by PRSA program is administrated by PRSA, with the Currently, public relations programs at 14 U.S. PRSA board of directors making final decisions universities, 1 Canadian college and 1 on certification. Argentinean university (16 in total) are certified The review process is conducted by two accred- by PRSA. Half of the 16 programs are housed in 82 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • academic units that also are accredited by Department of Journalism, University of Memphis* ■ 300 Meeman Journalism Bldg., ACEJMC. The Certification in Education for Memphis, TN 38152 Public Relations (CEPR) programs, listed by the http://www.people.memphis.edu/~jourlib/ unit and university in which they are housed, Tel: (901) 678-2401 are as follows: Fax: (901) 678-4287 Department of Advertising and Public Relations, University of Alabama* ■ Department of Communication, Southeast Missouri State University* ■ Box 870172, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0172 107 Grauel Bldg., One University Plaza, http://www.ccom.ua.edu/apr/index.html# Cape Girardeau, MO 63701-4799 Tel: (205) 348-7158 http://www.semo.edu/communication/ Fax: (205) 348-2401 Tel: (573) 651-2241 Fax: (573) 651-5967 Universidad Argentina de la Empresa ■ Buenos Aires, Argentina 1016 Communication Arts Department, Ohio Northern University ■ http://www.uade.edu.ar/FRSET_HOME.asp?vPAG= Freed Center, Ada, OH 45810 HOME.asp http://www.onu.edu/a+s/comm_arts/index.html Tel: (54-114) 441-1260 Tel: (419) 772-2049 Fax: (419) 772-1856 Department of Journalism, Ball State University* ■ Art and Journalism #300, Muncie, IN 47306-0485 Communication Department, Radford University ■ http://www.bsu.edu/journalism/ 200 Jefferson St., PO Box 6932, Tel: (765) 285-8200 Radford, VA 24142 Fax: (765) 285-7997 http://www.radford.edu/~spch-web/ Department of Communications, Brigham Young University* ■ Tel: (540) 831-5281 360 BRMB, Provo, UT 84602-6404 Fax: (540) 831-5883 http://cfac.byu.edu/com/index.php Department of Public Relations and Advertising, Rowan University ■ Tel: (801) 422-2997 37 Bozorth Hall, 201 Mullica Hill Rd., Glassboro, Fax: (801) 422-0160 NJ 08028-1701 Department of Communications, California State University—Fullerton* ■ http://www.rowan.edu/colleges/communication/ 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA 92834-6846 departments/publicrelations_advertising/ http://communications.fullerton.edu/comm/index. Tel: (856) 256-4265 html Fax: (856) 256-4344 Tel: (714) 278-3517 Fax: (714) 278-2209 Corporate Communications Graduate Certificate Program, ■ Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology Department of Communication, Eastern Kentucky University ■ 1750 Finch Ave. East, Toronto, ON M2J 2X5, Canada AC 108-EKU, 521 Lancaster Ave., Richmond, http://www.senecac.on.ca/fulltime/CCMC.html KY 40475-3102 Tel: (416) 491-5050 http://www.communication.eku.edu/ Tel: (859) 622-1871 Department of Communication Arts, Valdosta State University ■ Fax: (859) 622-8214 College of the Arts, Valdosta, GA 31698 http://www.valdosta.edu/coa/com/index.html School of Journalism and Broadcasting, Western Kentucky University* ■ Tel: (229) 333-5820 216 Mass Media & Technology Hall, Bowling Green, Fax: (229) 293-6182 KY 42101-1070 http://www.wku.edu/Journalism/ School of Mass Communications, Virginia Commonwealth University* ■ Tel: (270) 745-4144 901 West Main Street, Rm. 2216, PO Box 842034, Fax: (270) 745-5835 Richmond, VA 23284-2034 http://www.has.vcu.edu/mac/ Department of Communication, University of Maryland ■ Tel: (804) 828-2660 2130 Skinner Building, College Park, MD 20742-7635 Fax: (804) 828-9175 http://www.comm.umd.edu/ Tel: (301) 405-8979 Fax: (301) 314-9471 *Also accredited by ACEJMC 83 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Program Certification and Accreditation Units with Public Relations Programs 2006 Recommendations Accredited by ACEJMC Regardless of the outcome of either the As of November 2006, 109 academic units at ACEJMC accreditation or the PRSA certification U.S. colleges and universities are accredited by process, the value of self-examination cannot ACEJMC. They represent only 25 percent of the be over-emphasized. Reviewing the substance 432 departments and schools of journalism and and pedagogy of an institution’s public rela- mass communication listed in the 2005-06 tions program provides insights and bench- AEJMC Journalism & Mass Communication marks, while offering opportunities for Directory. Of the 109 accredited units, only 88 alterations and new directions. While the (81 percent) house public relations programs, as processes may appear daunting, the Arthur W. identified by a Chapter of PRSSA, which re- Page Society, PRSA, the Institute for Public quires at least five courses in public relations to Relations and ACEJMC regularly conduct train- be chartered, and/or a proclaimed concentra- ing programs to increase the number of quali- tion of study in public relations included in the fied reviewers and to instruct institutions on unit’s entry in the 2005-06 AEJMC Directory and the preparation necessary for outside review. verified on the unit’s Web site. Further analysis of the 88 schools showed that, of the accredited The Commission recommends that: units, public relations is offered at 25 that grant ◆ more public relations education programs Ph.D. degrees, 42 that grant master’s degrees should seek accreditation and/or certification and 21 that grant only bachelor’s degrees. to complete a thorough self-examination of There is substantial variation among the pro- the program. grams, particularly at the undergraduate level. Whereas some offer a bachelor of arts or sci- ◆ more public relations practitioners should vol- ence degree in public relations, others provide unteer to serve on site-visiting teams. an emphasis on only two or three courses that ◆ more industry organizations, such as the lead to a degree in another discipline, such as Council of Public Relations Firms and the journalism. Furthermore, at some accredited International Association of Business units, public relations courses are taught prima- Communicators (IABC), should apply for rily by adjunct and nontenure-track faculty. In membership on the ACEJMC Council. other words, not all accredited public relations Representation also is needed from educator programs are equal in breadth or depth. At the associations with large public relations mem- graduate level, public relations is almost always a specialization. berships, such as NCA and ICA. 84 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice A Call to Action Without question, a prime hallmark of a profession is education in its principles. Law, medicine, accounting—all are grounded in formal education and training, strengthened by continuing research and given responsible support by individuals, professional societies and enterprises that have a stake in the practice and its reputation. Such established professions did not spring full- U.S. colleges and universities that now offer at blown from the head of Zeus. They have a long least basic undergraduate study in public rela- history of development and have, at times, tions. As they attain positions of power and in- been bruised by struggles to bring their profes- fluence, their allegiance to formal study will be sionals—both practitioners and educators—to a reflected in their support for education. shared vision about what constitutes strong, ethical practice in service to society. Current Levels of Support for Education But in the meantime, the need for public rela- By comparison, public relations practice and tions education is urgent and escalating rapidly, education for public relations are still works-in- surfacing new issues that must be addressed progress. Contemporary public relations educa- and resolved. These issues present an increas- tion is still young, still searching for its ing challenge to professional organizations as “home”—and often its legitimacy—in academe. well as to individuals who practice and educate The first initiative to define a curriculum was in the field of public relations. made only 31 years ago. The field is still largely populated by practitioners who never had an While the record of broad support for public rela- opportunity for its formal study, thus learning tions education by professional groups is growing, their craft primarily from lengthy experience. there is a critical need for similar action by indi- vidual practitioners and the firms, companies and Inevitably, that picture is changing. Graduates organizations with which they are associated and from public relations academic programs are in which they are influential. Yes, many practi- entering the field in increasing numbers. Many are products of the estimated more than 270 tioners are involved as mentors, classroom speak- 85
  • A Call to Action ers and advisers and are otherwise engaged in support from the practice when compared to other disciplines such as journalism, advertis- the educational programs of professional societies ing and broadcasting. to which they belong. But too few are contribut- ing financial support to public relations programs in colleges and universities of their choice. Challenges and Opportunities for Practitioners What are some challenges and opportunities for … (T)he need for public relations practitioners? Among them: education is urgent and escalating ◆ Contributing annually to public relations studies at a college or university of choice. rapidly… ◆ Persuading their employers to establish a scholarship, professorship, chair or resource center for public relations at a college or uni- Too few are aware that budgets for public rela- versity of choice. tions studies generally are inadequate in com- parison to those for other academic disciplines. ◆ Via their will or a trust, making a bequest to At the same time, the population of public rela- a college or university for its public relations tions students commonly exceeds that in other studies or students. disciplines, making their faculty numbers inad- ◆ Engaging public relations educators for re- equate. Too often, only one qualified public re- search projects on behalf of clients. lations instructor is responsible for teaching and counseling 60 or more majors. Faculty fre- ◆ Sponsoring educator-in-residence programs in quently are “borrowed” from other disciplines, their firms, corporations and organizations. who are inexperienced and untrained for public ◆ Supporting paid internships for public rela- relations instruction. There are meager—if tions students. any—resources for public relations educators to attend conferences and professional meetings ◆ Giving priority consideration to public rela- to interface with practitioners. tions graduates for entry-level positions. At times, the administrator of the academic unit ◆ Working with educators, establish relation- in which public relations is housed has no under- ships with administrators of the units in standing of—or appreciation for—the expanding which public relations studies are housed in dimensions of public relations practice and its ed- order to build understanding of the contem- ucational needs. Administrator perception of porary practice and its educational needs. public relations is often limited to publicity, pro- motion and even production, rather than to The Role of Educators strategic planning, research and building ethical, Educators also have an essential and unique role trustworthy relationships with constituencies. in building financial support for their programs: At present, philanthropy for public relations ed- ◆ Cultivating public relations alumni to con- ucation is in its infancy. There are too few en- tribute financially to their programs or a par- dowed professorships, scholarships, ticular public relations project. lectureships and other resources. Although progress has been made since the ◆ Nurturing relationships with practitioners and Commission’s 1999 report, students and their their firms leading to support for a public re- education are far behind the curve of financial lations program or project. 86 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • A Good Place to Start Contact development staff at your alma mater select a state and get a list of colleges and uni- if it has a public relations program. Otherwise, versities in that state with a public relations pro- select a program from certified or accredited gram. Clicking on a college or university, you will units. A list of programs accredited by ACEJMC find the name of the PRSSA chapter faculty ad- can be found on ACEJMC’s Website visor with his or her e-mail address and a mail- ing address for the program. A link to the http://www2.ku.edu/~acejmc/ college or university’s Web site also is provided. A list of programs certified by PRSA can be Either e-mail the faculty advisor or search under found on PRSA’s Website “Academic Programs” on the college’s or univer- http://www.prsa.org/_About/overview/ sity’s Web site for the name of the person who certification.asp. heads the public relations program—preferably, A third option is to identify a program that spon- a senior faculty member who teaches public re- sors one of the more than 270 chapters of the lations and has a title such as coordinator. Public Relations Student Society of America Contact the head of the program and tell him or (PRSSA). her you are interested in making a gift. If possi- Go to www.prssa.org. On the menu under ble, ask for an on-campus meeting. “About Us” at the top of the page, click on “PRSSA Chapters.” You will get a U.S. map to You’ll be glad you took the first step! ◆ Recognizing those individuals and firms giv- by individuals, corporations, firms and founda- ing financial support and who become exem- tions will, the Commission hopes, inspire simi- plars to encourage others. lar actions. The Commission hopes that practitioners will emulate the philanthropic be- ◆ Building a cooperative relationship with cam- havior of these donors and that educators will pus administrators, particularly those in the reach out to the practice to forge relationships development office. that make such gifts a reality. To the best of the As other established professions can testify, re- Commission’s knowledge, this is the first time sponsible financial support of education must such a list has been compiled and published. come from practitioners and their organiza- tions. Such a partnership between education The gifts are grouped in categories common to fi- and the practice of public relations is necessary nancial support for higher education. The listing for its reputation and acceptance as a profes- is a sampling and is not intended to be compre- sion by both the academy and society at large. hensive. Each entry contains five pieces of infor- mation in the following order: (1) name of the Sampling of Major Gifts to Public fund or gift purpose; (2) academic unit and uni- Relations Education versity to which the gift was made; (3) donor(s); (4) gift amount or fund balance; and (5) year the This sampling of major contributions to colleges and universities for public relations education gift was made or the fund was established. 87 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • A Call to Action Endowed Chairs Endowed Lectureships Harold Burson Chair in Public Relations ■ James C. Bowling Executive-In-Residence Lecture Series ■ Department of Mass Communication, Advertising and School of Journalism and Telecommunications, Public Relations, College of Communication, Boston University of Kentucky University Joseph M. Cullman, III, retired chairman of the board Burson-Marsteller, its clients, employees and former at Philip Morris, and alumni of the school parent company, Young & Rubicam Now $250,000 $1.2 million Established 2000 Established 2003 Allen H. Center Distinguished Lectureship in Corporate Public Relations ■ Endowed Chair in Public Relations ■ School of Communication, San Diego State University School of Journalism and Communication, University Nancy Center, Allen H. Center, APR, Fellow PRSA (de- of Oregon ceased), and the Motorola Foundation Anonymous $150,000 face value Now $2.1 million Estate gift 1991; Lectureship started 2000 Established 1998 Vernon C. Schranz Distinguished Lectureship in Public Relations ■ Ellis N. Brandt Chair in Public Relations ■ Department of Journalism, College of Communication, – Includes the Brandt Lectureship and Brandt Research Information, and Media, Ball State University Assistantship; established 2005 Ball Corporation, family and friends of Mr. Schranz Department of Advertising, Public Relations and (deceased), Indianapolis public relations firms and Retailing, College of Communication Arts and past lecturers Sciences, Michigan State University Now $70,000 Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation (founded by the fam- Established 1979; Endowed 1998 ily of the former chairman of the Dow Chemical Co.) Now $2 million Albert Walker Distinguished Lecture in Public Relations ■ Established 1989 as a professorship Department of Communication, Northern Illinois University Alumni and friends of Dr. Walker (retired) Endowed Professorships $20,000 Established 2004 Widmeyer Communications Professorship in Public Relations ■ Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, West Virginia University Endowed Research Centers Widmeyer Communications; Scott Widmeyer, Chairman & CEO (1974 journalism alumnus) Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations ■ $45,000 Includes John W. Felton Endowed Scholarship and Established 2005 John A. Koten Endowed Lectureship; established 2006 Hubert J. Bourgeois Endowed Professorship in Communications/Public ■ College of Communication and Information Sciences, Relations University of Alabama Department of Communication, University of Louisiana Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA at Lafayette $325,000 Vesta Bourgeois (deceased) Established 2005 Now $152,000 Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication ■ Established 1981 College of Communications, Penn State University Sloan Professorship in Public Relations ■ Ellen and Lawrence G. Foster, APR, Fellow PRSA (1948 E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University journalism alumnus) Jerry L. Sloan and the Ford Motor Company $300,000 Now $365,000 Established 2004 Established 1997 Robert Wood Johnson 1962 Charitable Trust $300,000, 2005 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation $750,000, 2006 88 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • Named Facilities Endowed Faculty Professional Development Funds C. Richard Yarborough Public Relations Laboratory ■ (Used by students in the Public Relations Campaigns C. Del Galloway Professional Advancement Fund in Public Relations ■ capstone course, the lab emulates facilities of a small Department of Public Relations, College of Journalism public relations firm and includes a 12-seat confer- and Communications, University of Florida ence room with presentation equipment, plus a C. Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA (1981 & 1983 pub- workroom with computers, printers, a scanner and lic relations alumnus) telephones.) $25,000 Department of Advertising & Public Relations, Henry Established 2006 W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Sandra and Stuart Newman Professional Advancement Fund in Public ■ Communication, University of Georgia Friends of Dick Yarborough and the Georgia Chapter of Relations PRSA Department of Public Relations, College of Journalism $100,000 and Communications, University of Florida Dedicated 1995 Sandra and Stuart G. Newman (1946 journalism alum- nus) Duffey Public Relations Writing Laboratory ■ Now more than $33,000 (Originally dedicated to teaching public relations writ- Established 2000 ing skills, the lab consisted of 17 computer stations and state-of-the-art instructional equipment. Public Endowed Scholarships: relations writing is now taught in all computer labs.) Undergraduate & Graduate Department of Advertising & Public Relations, Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Ann Barkelew/Fleishman-Hillard Scholarship ■ Communication, University of Georgia School of Journalism & Mass Communication, Lee Duffey, Jr., and Jenny Deal Duffey (1980 public re- University of Minnesota lations alumni) Fleishman-Hillard and Chairman/CEO John Graham, $50,000 APR, Fellow PRSA Dedicated 2000 $25,000 William F. Doescher Campaigns Lab for Advertising and Public Relations ■ Established 2001 (Simulates an agency environment where students can Thomas Bartikoski Memorial Scholarship in Public Relations ■ meet with clients, develop strategic campaigns based School of Journalism & Mass Communication, on research and create deliverables.) University of Minnesota Public Relations Department, S. I. Newhouse School of Family and friends of Wendy Horn and the late Mr. Public Communications, Syracuse University Bartikoski (1972 journalism alumnus) William F. Doescher (1962 public relations master’s $25,000 alumnus) and D&B (Dun & Bradstreet) Corp. Established 2000 $50,000 1996 Ofield Dukes Undergraduate Scholarship in Public Relations ■ John H. Johnson School of Communication, Howard University Kathy Hughes; other friends of Mr. Dukes; and Phillip Morris Companies, Inc. Now $31,000 …(R)esponsible financial Established 2002 Henry C. Rogers Endowed Scholarship ■ support of education must come (for public relations master’s students) from practitioners and their Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California organizations. Marcia Ross and Ron Rogers, children of Mr. Rogers (deceased) $100,000 Established 2006 89 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • A Call to Action Paul Allen Bennett Graduate Scholarship in Public Relations Other Gift Purposes ■ Department of Journalism, College of Communication, Weber Shandwick/USC Annenberg International Public Relations ■ Information and Media, Ball State University Fellows Program Claire Bennett and the Indianapolis Public Relations Society (Provides scholarships to eight to 15 public relations Now $60,000 master’s students per year to offset costs of complet- Established 1990 ing summer internships at Weber Shandwick offices in London, Hong Kong and Cape Town, South Africa) Annenberg School for Communication, University of Endowed Funds for Other Southern California Student Assistance Weber Shandwick Annual Grant: $20,000 per year; $100,000 committed to Rich Long/Dow Chemical Scholarship ■ date (Assists a student completing an internship in New 2002 to present York City or Washington, DC) Department of Communications, College of Fine Arts The Rayburn Fund for Excellence in Public Relations ■ and Communications, Brigham Young University (Will provide stipends to cover expenses of distin- Dow Chemical Company and family and friends of guished visiting lecturers) Prof. Long (deceased) College of Communication, Florida State University Now more than $20,000 Colleagues, former students, and friends of Dr. Jay Established late 1980s Rayburn, APR, Fellow PRSA Endowment campaign in progress: $120,000 to date PRSSA Leadership Award ■ Announced 2006 (Funds PRSSA dues for two student chapter officers and national conference This first-ever sampling of philanthropy for public relations registration for a developing student chapter leader) education was made possible by initial research sponsored Department of Communications, College of Fine Arts by the Champions for PRSSA. Comments or questions should and Communications, Brigham Young University be directed to Commission member Dr. Kathleen S. Kelly at Dr. Laurie J. Wilson, APR, Fellow PRSA kskelly@jou.ufl.edu Now $9,000 Established 1995 James E. Grunig and Larissa A. Grunig Graduate Research Fund ■ “Today, there are too few (Helps defray costs of research for Ph.D. candidates’ dissertations) ‘angels’ supporting public Department of Communication, College of Arts & Humanities, University of Maryland, College Park relations education, but just Dr. Elizabeth L. Toth and friends and former students of Drs. Grunig a few can lead the way.” Now $2,000 Established 2005 – Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA 50-year Public Relations Executive and Donor 90 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Professional Bond — Public Relations Education and the Practice The Members of the 2006 Commission on Public Relations Education and the professional societies they have represented: Dean A. Kruckeberg, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA Kathleen S. Kelly, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA University of Northern Iowa University of Florida Co-Chair of the Commission PRSA National Communication Association (NCA) Dan L. Lattimore, Ph.D., APR John L. Paluszek, APR, Fellow PRSA University of Memphis Ketchum PRSA Co-Chair of the Commission Public Relations Society America (PRSA) Marc Little BrooksLittle Communications Carl Botan, Ph.D. Black Public Relations Society (BPRS) George Mason University International Communication Association (ICA) Jeff Martin Quorum Communications Inc. Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. CPRS Northwestern University PRSA Francis C. McDonald, APR Hampton University Kathy Cripps, APR PRSA Council of Public Relations Firms Council of Public Relations Firms (CPRF) Mark P. McElreath, Ph.D., APR, ABC Towson University Kathleen Fearn-Banks, Ph.D. International Association of Business Communicators University of Washington (IABC) PRSA Dan Pyle Millar, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA Kathy R. Fitzpatrick, J.D., APR Millar Communication Strategies DePaul University NCA PRSA Debra A. Miller, Ed.D. APR, Fellow PRSA Rochelle Ford, Ph.D., APR D. Miller Communications Howard University PRSA PRSA Bonita Dostal Neff, Ph.D. Terence (Terry) Flynn, Ph.D., APR Valparaiso University McMaster University Association for Women in Communications (AWC) Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) Douglas Ann Newsom, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA Steve Iseman, Ph.D. Texas Christian University Ohio Northern University PRSA PRSA 91
  • Members of the 2006 Commission on Public Relations Education Frank E. Ovaitt, Jr., APR Elizabeth Lance Toth, Ph.D., APR Institute for Public Relations University of Maryland, College Park Institute for Public Relations ICA Isobel Parke, APR, Fellow PRSA Joseph V. Trahan, III, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA Jackson Jackson & Wagner Trahan & Associates PRSA PRSA Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA Katerina Tsetsura, Ph.D. Betsy Plank Public Relations University of Oklahoma PRSA PRSA Cheryl I. Procter-Rogers, APR, Fellow PRSA Judy VanSlyke Turk, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA A Step Ahead Public Relations Virginia Commonwealth University PRSA Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Stephen P. Quigley, APR Boston University Jean Valin, APR, Fellow CPRS PRSA Service Canada Global Alliance for Public Relations and Maria P. Russell, APR, Fellow PRSA Communication Management Syracuse University PRSA Laurie J. Wilson, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA Brigham Young University Melvin L. Sharpe, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA PRSA Ball State University International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Donald K. Wright, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA Boston University Don W. Stacks, Ph.D. IPRA University of Miami PRSA Jeneen Garcia Commission Staff Liaison PRSA 92 THE PROFESSIONAL BOND — PUBLIC RELATIONS EDUCATION AND THE PRACTICE
  • The Report of the Commission on Public Relations Education www.commpred.org November 2006