BU upgraded PR research center aids students, firms

BOSTON: Boston University, one of the nation’s leading communications schools, has upgraded its communications research and education facilities, a move that will affect PR students as well as agencies hoping to evaluate the impact of their work.

BOSTON: Boston University, one of the nation’s leading communications schools, has upgraded its communications research and education facilities, a move that will affect PR students as well as agencies hoping to evaluate the impact of their work.

BOSTON: Boston University, one of the nation’s leading

communications schools, has upgraded its communications research and

education facilities, a move that will affect PR students as well as

agencies hoping to evaluate the impact of their work.



With its new communication research center (CRC) and updated multimedia

lab, the university’s College of Communication (COC) hopes to better

prepare students for their future jobs. The new research center, set to

be inaugurated in January, will also contract to provide research to PR

and advertising agencies.



With a price tag of dollars 500,000, the CRC boasts state-of-the art

quantitative and qualitative labs, including tools for data collection

and automated data compilation. The center also features focus-group

facilities with audio and video pick-up, a supervisor room with a large

window and a Web interface for pre-testing and evaluating web sites.



According to Dean Brent Baker, agencies hoping to use the new facility

will be charged about two-thirds of what other research organizations

ask for. The CRC is currently collaborating with a Boston PR firm on a

study to determine how companies use PR in day-to-day activities.



In the past, BU has worked with Student Advantage on a study about

student consumption and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric

Administration for a PR project about whale-watching. Local firm Clarke

& Co. also tapped the university for help in measuring the extent of

knowledge about its clients and the impact of negative news.



According to Baker, 300 students each semester take classes in the

multimedia lab. ’We’re teaching the class of 2003, and we can’t teach

them the skills of 1999,’ he said. ’We have to teach the skills of

2003.’



He added the COC buys new computers every two years and new software

every six months. Over the summer, a dollars 200,000 donation from an

alumnus allowed the school to update its multimedia lab with 22 new

flat-screen Apple Macintosh G3 Computers featuring digital video and

sound input/output. In the lab, students are learning how to create

digital video, develop webcasts and build CD-ROMs.



Boston Univeristy’s College of Communication boasts 2,100 students,

including 400 graduate students.



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