Work to build up professional bond

It's not your "daddy's PR education" anymore (if it ever was). So, if you hire and/or manage PR pros, take a careful look at today's PR graduates. They're very good - prepared in theory (capstone courses) and in practice (via internships), better than most of us at the new information technology, and eager to move the profession forward.

It's not your "daddy's PR education" anymore (if it ever was). So, if you hire and/or manage PR pros, take a careful look at today's PR graduates. They're very good - prepared in theory (capstone courses) and in practice (via internships), better than most of us at the new information technology, and eager to move the profession forward.

That's the lede introducing the just-published report from The Commission on Public Relations Education, "The Professional Bond - Public Relations Education and the Practice," which is posted on the commission's new Web site, www.commpred.org.

The report's subtext is that educators and practitioners both have a lot to do - and a lot to gain - in strengthening that bond.

These are the conclusions of the commission's 35 educators and practitioners (representing 12 communication professional societies), as encapsulated in the report summary: "The report has... been developed to demonstrate, facilitate, and encourage the kind of linking of PR education and practice that is the hallmark of any profession."

Coming right on the heels of PRWeek's excellent special issue on PR education, "The Professional Bond" report not only summarizes the agreement of the commission members on undergraduate and graduate curriculum, but also documents the significant role PR now plays in the fast-changing global society.

In that respect, special sections of the report address PR ethics, diversity, and global implications.

The report also is quite specific on how educators and practitioners can strengthen their "professional bond."

The Call to Action section notes that "[PR] students are far behind the financial curve of support from the practice when compared with... journalism, advertising, and broadcasting." As such, it identifies several initiatives.

First, educators should nurture relationships with practitioners and their organizations, publicly recognize those supporters as exemplars for other potential supporters, and cooperate with campus administrators, especially in the development office.

In addition, practitioners can contribute financially, engage with academic institutions in joint research programs, and sponsor educator-in-residence and paid student internship programs.

The Call to Action also presents the first-known extensive sampling of major contributions to colleges and universities for PR - contributions from individuals, corporations, counseling firms, and foundations - in the hope that the list will inspire more support for these institutions.

The compendium is presented in these categories: endowed chairs, professorships, lectureships, research centers, faculty development funds, and scholarships and other student assistance; named facilities; and gifts for related purposes.

In reviewing this sampling of support, Harold Burson, renowned founder of Burson-Marsteller, commented, "What a wonderful service you have done for PR in compiling the list of major gifts to forward PR education."

To which we simply add, let a thousand flowers bloom.

Dean Kruckeberg, Ph.D., Fellow PRSA, University of Northern Iowa; and John Paluszek, Fellow, PRSA, Ketchum, are co-chairs of The Commission on Public Relations Education.

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