Latest programs elevating PR are best use of time, resources

It is fairly well documented that PRWeek was not particularly impressed with the PRSA's initiative at the end of last year and the start of 2012 to define, or redefine, PR.

It is fairly well documented that PRWeek was not particularly impressed with the PRSA's initiative at the end of last year and the start of 2012 to define, or redefine, PR.

The exercise seemed to drag on for an interminable amount of time, produce considerable amounts of hot air and navel-gazing, and ultimately result in a definition that wasn't much different to many of the other perfectly acceptable definitions of the profession that are out there.

We weren't alone in taking this stance. PR legend Harold Burson echoed our views and suggested that the classic Edward Bernays definition of PR was still perfectly relevant to the modern world, albeit within the context of a very different media environment. And we know that many others agreed with us.

But that is history and it was never personal. We are happy to give credit to any trade body or organization where credit is due.

So we were pleased to see the PRSA leading on an initiative to partner with business schools to incorporate PR training in MBA programs. The schools involved initially are the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, School of Business at Quinnipiac University, Robert H. Smith School of Business at University of Maryland, and College of Business Administration at University of Texas El Paso.

They will include classes on PR and corporate communications in their MBA programs during the next year, and professors will meet quarterly to share ideas and observations, prior to the PRSA and schools publishing guidelines for integrating PR in business education.

If PR is to continue its progress in embedding itself in the minds of CEOs and the C-suite, being a part of MBA programs is crucial. This is the sort of thing on which industry groups should be focusing their efforts and resources.

As is the Arthur W. Page Society's work on developing a new model of corporate communications and the Council of PR Firms' joint initiative with PRWeek on the Diversity Distinction in PR Awards.

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