Advertising and Public Relations Education: A Five-Year Review

Article excerpt

The growth in the fields of advertising and public relations education at American universities has been dramatic. Last year, 12,068 degrees were awarded in advertising, public relations, or combined advertising/public relations programs while nearly 40,000 students were enrolled in these degree programs.

For over 30 years, the reporting of the status of advertising education has been an ongoing enterprise, reported in various forms. The two most noted ones are:

The annual Becker/Kosicki reports in Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, which measures the status of accredited and other mass communication programs, and

Where shall 1 go to study advertising and public relations? (Ross 1965; Ross & Hileman 1966-1983; Ross 19841990; Ross & Johnson 1991-1992; Ross & Johnson 1993-1999), which measures advertising, public relations, and combined advertising/public relations programs both within accredited and other schools of mass communication and extneds beyond that to include such degee programs as those in schools of business, speech, etc.

Maintinaing accurate historical records of the status of advertising, publc relations and combined advertising/ public relations education programs serves amny purposes. Each year the results are used by students, career and guidance counselors, and college professors to identify where programsn exist, the largest programs and largest faculties in terms of degrees granted, enrollment, faculty, etc. In aggregate they constitute the status of the advertising education enterprise at individual points in time.

Ross has published two volumes, Advertising aeducation (1965), which was the basis for the directory beginning, and The Status of Advertising Education (1991), an update of the 1965 report. The volumes report on the history and trends of advertising education, institutions offering advertising programs, curricula of undergraduate and graduate programs, and aggregate totals of graduates, students and faculty are investigated in total and by established regions.

The purpose of this research is to investigate data reported in Where shall I go to study advertising? over the last five years and measure growth and decline of degrees granted, level of those degrees (B.A., M.A., Ph.D.), and changes in enrollment and faculty.

Historical perspective The use of historical data for analysis is grounded in academic literature. Historical analysis gives understanding of the environment of an institution at points of time. Driven by the axiom that those who do not follow history are doomed to repeat it, historical analysis also provides insight and, frequently, predictive capability to researchers.

Obviously, the methodology has its benefits and limitations. Data from Where shall I go to study advertising and public relations? is essentially an archive. Wimmer and Dominick (1997) point out that a data archive provides research data for measures not otherwise available or used for a specific purpose at the time of the research. Industry data can report on current situations for an immediately applied use, while in an archive form it provides retrospective data with which one can plot the growth and decline - and frequently predict the future status - of an industry or product category. Becker (1981) defines secondary analysis as the reuse of social science data after they have been put aside by the researcher who gather them.

Benefits of the historical perspective suggest the data may help answer questions not originally posed by the researchers. Limitations of this approach include a lack of knowledge about the types of research questions which were investigated, how the data were collected, and the rigor of the sampling procedures or research design used.

Literature review There are many archives from which such data can be found. Universities annually report to their state governing boards, and national figures are also available from federal resources. …