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