Build prestige at colleges, says report on education

WASHINGTON, DC: Despite constant moaning by firms about the difficulty of finding well-educated practitioners, a new report unveiled today by the Commission on Public Relations Education takes a cautiously optimistic view about the future of PR education.

WASHINGTON, DC: Despite constant moaning by firms about the difficulty of finding well-educated practitioners, a new report unveiled today by the Commission on Public Relations Education takes a cautiously optimistic view about the future of PR education.

WASHINGTON, DC: Despite constant moaning by firms about the

difficulty of finding well-educated practitioners, a new report unveiled

today by the Commission on Public Relations Education takes a cautiously

optimistic view about the future of PR education.



The report, ’A Port of Entry: Public Relations Education in the 21st

Century,’ says two key steps must be taken in order to ensure a steady

flow of qualified pros: upgrading PR coursework and faculty, and

increasing support for training and education programs.



’We have to step up to the plate and support institutions of higher

learning the way other professions do,’ said John Paluszek, president of

Ketchum Public Affairs and a co-chair of the commission.



The report urges the profession to endow more chairs at prominent

universities and colleges with strong PR programs, noting that such

support increases ’prestige externally’ and ’clout internally.’ Also

recommended are fostering relationships between educators and

professional associations such as the PRSA; the funding of more

internships and scholarships for students; and support for student

bodies such as the Public Relations Student Society of America.



The report says the profession should strive for graduates with degrees

in PR and an overall education ’grounded in the liberal arts and

sciences.’ Such an education, the report argues, will enhance writing

and critical thinking skills. An ideal undergraduate-level PR program

would require at least eight PR courses while ensuring that 60% of the

student’s classwork is in liberal arts.



Of course, more support programs for established pros may be needed as

well. The report notes that experts in other fields (such as law)

working in PR tend to lack important skills, which make graduate and

continuing education programs essential to the PR industry’s

well-being.



The commission, which was comprised of members from the PRSA, IABC and

six other communications societies, will work over the next few years to

encourage the acceptance and implementation of its recommendations.



To receive a copy of the print version of the report, contact the

PRSA.



The society will also post the report on its web site in mid-November.



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