The Public Relations Curriculum and the Academic Minor

By McInerny, Paul M. | The Journalism Educator, Winter 1995 | Go to article overview

The Public Relations Curriculum and the Academic Minor


McInerny, Paul M., The Journalism Educator


The field of public relations has grown tremendously in the last several decades and many experts predict the largest growth spurt is yet to come. This continuous growth of the public relations field has brought challenges. One area constantly challenged is public relations education.(1)

From 2975 to the present, the preparation of public relations students in higher education has been scrutinized by the Public Relations Society of America and other professional agencies and organizations.(2) These examinations have mostly focused on the core public relations curriculum and general requirements beyond the major needed for graduation, or on specific skills and experiences desired in new graduates. Both educators and practitioners seek to keep public relations education relevant to the ever-changing demands and opportunities of the field. After all, the public relations major is a professional degree designed specifically to launch students on a chosen career path.

This study looks at one area of public relations education that has been largely overlooked--the formal academic minor chosen by students majoring(3) in public relations. These minors are elective in that the students choose them with relatively few limitations. This study also examines why students chose their minors and if there was any correlation between minors and public relations specialties that are career aspirations.

Background

Public relations education has been aligned with the liberal arts in general, and in particular with the social sciences, some of the humanities, journalism, and business. Today, while closely linked with the liberal arts, the study of public relations is largely housed within colleges or departments of journalism or mass communication.(4)

The true tension, however, exists in the content of public relations and communication courses and the skills ultimately mastered by the new entrants into the profession.(5) Because a definition of public relations is not universally accepted,(6) and because the profession continues to expand, the major is expected to master ever-increasing academic ground.

Recently, one curriculum expert in the field called for a new commission similar to the 1987 Commission on Undergraduate Public Relations Education to "...carefully analyze whether an undergraduate education is still adequate to prepare students for public relations careers, or a graduate degree should be the recommended approach."(7)

Those in the field have also questioned students' preparation. When asked about public relations education, practitioners mostly focus on the skills they hope to see in new graduates. The authors of a recent article entitled "Does Public Relations Education Make the Grade?" suggested five collegiate study areas to meet these expectations: writing and speaking skills; critical analysis ability; strategic communication planning; career orientation; and studies in communication science.(8)

With practical limitations on how many courses students can take in public relations and in non-major communication courses along with the expectations to have working knowledge in critical areas in the humanities, social sciences, and business, the academic minor should provide critical focus in some strategic area. The minor should become an important ingredient of the overall curriculum while still allowing the student some freedom of choice.

The 1987 Commission cited above was the last major curriculum examination that addressed the undergraduate academic minor and recognized the contribution it could make in the student's general preparation. The Commission surveyed practitioners and educators about appropriate classes for undergraduate public relations students. Included was a rating of preferred minors. The respondents rated these on a scale from 1 to 7--1 being "not essential" to 7 being "most essential." The top seven minors and their ratings were: business, 6.36; English, 5. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Public Relations Curriculum and the Academic Minor
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.