PR Education Program of the Year 2011

Sponsored by Padilla Speer Beardsley

Winner: Syracuse University

Syracuse's Executive Master's Program in Communications Management was developed out of the Newhouse School's highly acclaimed PR program. The two-year program was launched in 1995 to serve working professionals. It is often regarded as the "gold standard" for its curriculum of PR, business, and leadership.

"It capitalizes on real-world experience and use of digital tools in teaching," lauded one judge.

"The program draws upon the interdisciplinary strengths and international reputations of the Newhouse School, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and the Whitman School of Management," the school explained. "Its delivery of instruction is known as 'hybrid learning,' which combines the best of face-to-face instruction with the flexibility of distance learning."

The curriculum is built on communication, social and behavioral sciences, research, theory, business, and management. After completing a six-day on-campus residency at the start of each semester, students study and complete assignments at their own pace. An electronic course management program allows ongoing access to faculty and other students. Class size is limited to 20, and both asynchronous and synchronous online sessions are conducted. Students can choose to write a traditional master's thesis or participate in an applied research project, which affords them the opportunity to demonstrate mastery and add to their professional body of knowledge.

An advisory board, which includes leading professionals, regularly reviews the program to ensure students are satisfied and that it continually offers a cutting-edge, relevant education.

"Syracuse's grad program is well respected in the industry - for good reason," noted another judge.

Honorable Mention:
New York University

NYU's graduate program cultivates writing and presentation skills, strategic planning, execution, and leadership. "Its scope is impressive," said one judge, who also noted its thought leadership, social media integration, and professional engagement. Faculty and guest lecturers include many industry luminaries. Curriculum is constantly updated, with new classes in business and social media strategy recently added. Practicum work has been done for the UN and Microsoft, among others. The program also has partners in advancing professional development, including PRSA and Johnson & Johnson.

The Award Open to any PR undergraduate or graduate curriculum taught in the fall 2009 or spring 2010 semester. This award recognizes achievement in lesson plans that educate the next crop of PR pro-fessionals. Entries will be judged based on the ability of professors to use both real-world case studies and instructive scenarios to educate students about new media, media relations, crisis communi-cations, and other tactics.

Finalists 2011

Brigham Young University

Georgetown University

New York University

Syracuse University

University of Alabama

Sponsor: Padilla is an integrated communications firm that has helped organizations build and protect their brands and reputations for more than 50 years. We're grounded in the art and science of corporate communications, investor relations and marketing communications, and we've expanded and innovated to provide social media and creative services. Visit us at

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