I have taught a variety of public relations course, from introductory to capstone, for almost a decade. I take an experiential and applied approach to these courses so students not only learn course content but how theories, models, and research methodologies apply in real-world scenarios. This is done through case studies, group projects, working directly with clients through community-campus collaborations, and independent research projects.
Introductory Undergraduate Courses
How Public Relations Works
This course is an introduction to the role, processes, and practices of public relations. The course explores the concepts, theories, history, uses and techniques of public relations, as well as its foundation in rhetoric and ethics and its current applications, cases and controversies in a digitized and globalized world. (Contemporary Society course)
Public Relations in Social Advocacy
This course explores the theoretical and practical usage of public relations in social advocacy work. Throughout the course, students examine the social forces that create and maintain social injustice and how strategic methods of communication and community organizing are instrumental to galvanize a critical mass of marginalized populations. Through a public relations lens, this course introduces and analyzes advocacy rhetoric, communicative strategies for social justice, and methods for inter-movement organizing. Students leave this course with the tools necessary to engage in strategic communication from an activist framework.
Intermediate Undergraduate Courses
Public Relations Writing I
This course deals with the written expression of public relations strategies, tactics and programs. Students explore and produce traditional written vehicles including news releases, pitch letters, reports and brochures, as well as new and emerging web-based and social media tools. (Writing Level II course)
Advanced Undergraduate Courses
Public Relations Writing II
This course deepens and broadens traditional and web-based writing skills and knowledge of PR concentrators. The course covers the writing required for more challenging and complex organizational documents associated with marketing campaigns, issues management, crisis communication, speech writing, op editorials, and emerging social media tactics and tools. Students explore, produce, and respond to their peer and instructor feedback to correct, refine and prepare them for professional PR writing environments. (Writing Level III course)
Public Relations Campaigns
This course helps students expand and apply their understanding of the PR campaign development, management and evaluation process. Working in teams, students collaborate with a community client to develop a PR campaign that best addresses a communication issue facing their client. Students examine public relations theories, case studies, best practices and contemporary strategies and converge them with knowledge gained from previous courses as they research client situations, organizations and key publics; develop campaign goals, objectives and strategies; implement their campaign; and use contemporary methodological strategies to evaluate its effectiveness.
Directed Study in Communications
Independent projects for Media & Communication majors under the supervision of a member of the Media & Communication faculty. The supervising faculty member serves as the research director and meets regularly with the student. The course is developed collaboratively between professor and student so that it may be tailored to the individual student’s interest. This course is open only to Junior or Senior Media & Communication majors.
- Communication audit for Salem Public School District
- Event planning and marketing for Media and Communication First Annual Gala event
Honors undergraduate theses:
- “A Study of Social Media’s Effectiveness as a Vehicle for Social Change” (Culp, 2015)
- “Creative Salem: A Publics Relations Report” (Diamantides, 2018)
- “Kathrine Thomas Photography: A Business Rebrand” (Thomas, 2021)
Public Relations Research
This course focuses on the important role of market research and the use of existing data to gain insights into the attitudes of a wide range of external stakeholders, including journalists, investors, and customers, as well as the role environmental conditions play in the overall media campaign process. Students will gain knowledge of research steps, including surveys, focus groups, and psychographic data, to identify and analyze attitudinal patterns in target audiences as the foundation for effective public and media relations campaign strategies.