University of Maryland Partners
with PRSA to Advance Public Relations Instruction in MBA Program
Pilot program aims to
create better understanding of corporate communication strategy,
methodology and value among current and future business leaders
College Park, Md. – June 12, 2012 — The University of
Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is one of five business schools
selected by The Public Relations
Society of America (PRSA) to participate in a groundbreaking pilot program
aimed at enhancing the strategic communication and reputation management
education provided to the nation’s MBA candidates.
The schools selected by PRSA have demonstrated a commitment to teaching the
strategic value of public relations at the MBA level, and currently offer or
have previously offered public relations classes or coursework in their MBA
and/or Executive MBA programs. Under the pilot program, the Robert H. Smith
School of Business will integrate a new, turn-key public relations course into
its MBA curriculum for the 2012-2013 academic year.
“Communication and reputation management are necessary skills for executives
and all leaders,” said G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean of the Robert H. Smith
School. “We have always stressed the importance of these competencies to our
students by delivering workshops and short courses. Our students will benefit
further from this semester-long format.”
The Smith School will work collaboratively with the other business schools in
the pilot on identifying and documenting best practices in terms of subject
matter and teaching methods, and on incorporating its findings into a formal
report to be released at the pilot program’s end.
“Being a part of this pilot gives us the opportunity to positively influence
business education across the country,” said Ken White, assistant dean of
Marketing Communications, who will teach the course. “We will work together with
the other pilot schools and PRSA to offer a best-practices guide for the public
relations course curriculum to business schools nationwide.”
The other institutions taking part in the pilot include Dartmouth College’s
Tuck School of Business; Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management;
Quinnipiac University’s School of Business; and the University of Texas at El
Paso’s College of Business Administration.
“We’re extremely proud of the quality and diversity of the university
programs that showed interest and were selected to take part in our MBA pilot
program,” said PRSA Chair and CEO Gerard F. Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA. “Our aim
was to identify schools that were best-in-class in their respective categories
and representative of various geographies, sizes and specializations, and I’d
say we exceeded those goals, given the caliber of the institutions selected.”
PRSA Study Underscores Need for Public Relations Training
In October 2011, a Kelton Business Leader Study commissioned by PRSA surveyed
204 American business leaders (vice president and above) to gauge the
organizational value that U.S. business executives place on corporate
communications and reputation management, and on senior managers having advanced
knowledge and grounding in those areas.
survey results showed that many American business leaders view recent MBA
graduates as being under-prepared in the areas of strategic communication and
reputation management. The results also showed that many of the business leaders
surveyed believe MBA programs lack sufficient emphasis on communications
strategy and related leadership skills.
To help address this lack of training, PRSA’s MBA initiative is a multi-year,
collaborative effort to advocate the value of including foundational
communications strategy in MBA programs. Ultimately, the program is intended to
give MBA candidates a better appreciation of public relations’ strategic value
and help them understand the communications methodologies required for success
in the future.
The program has the support of the Arthur W. Page Society, Council of Public
Relations Firms and International Association of Business Communicators. Initial
funding was provided by the PRSA Foundation, and ongoing financial and material
support is being provided by MWW Group, Kelton Research, Hilton Hotels
Corporation and Southwest Airlines.
About the Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader
in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the
University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate,
full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, MS in business, PhD and executive
education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The
school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning
locations in North America and Asia.
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations
community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA
provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and
networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical
conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater
diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA
comprises 112 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on
specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society
of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities.