Maryland students praise move but J-schools continue to fail PR

COLLEGE PARK: PR students at the University of Maryland this week celebrated the news that they are leaving the university's College of Journalism for a new home at the College of Arts & Humanities. But students at some other universities still grin and bear the poor treatment they receive from their J-schools.

COLLEGE PARK: PR students at the University of Maryland this week celebrated the news that they are leaving the university's College of Journalism for a new home at the College of Arts & Humanities. But students at some other universities still grin and bear the poor treatment they receive from their J-schools.

This is a welcome reprieve for the undergraduate PR program at Maryland, which faced closure last spring. So while Maryland's advertising course has been completely axed, the PR program will now get two more full-time faculty members to aid highly respected professors James Grunig and Laura Grunig.

The Dean of the school, Reese Cleghorn, told PRWeek that the PR program had 'put a lot of pressure' on the school of journalism. He has also been quoted as saying that journalism is about finding the truth, whereas PR is about selling, although he respected PR.

Jack Bergen, president of the APRF, said he thought the switch was good news. 'We need clever, broad-based people in PR - not people from under-funded departments, which are the stepchildren of journalism schools.'

He said other PR programs across the country faced the same problem.

'Should they be in a business school, their own school, or an arts school? Most are suffering a lack of resources as part of a journalism school.'

Don Wright, professor of communications at South Alabama University agreed it is a nationwide problem. 'Here we get 10-15% of the resources, even though we enroll 40-50% of the students.'

Frank Kalupa, professor of communications at Texas, went further: 'J-schools have done a poor job for PR students in recent years. On our program we have had 200 journalism students served by 20 faculty members, while we had 2 members for 200 PR students. J-Schools want the bodies, but they don't serve the students. Our students have even had to take bullying by journalists in classes. We were thinking of printing 'anywhere but journalism' T-shirts.'.

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