Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type



Communication Studies

First Advisor

Brent Northup

Second Advisor

Candace Caine

Third Advisor

Kay Satre


As the public relations (PR) profession grows in today's work force, the issue of PR education generates controversy among both PR practitioners and educators. In the following pages, a collection of information regarding PR education is presented. The intent is that the research provided in this thesis will be used to revise Carroll College's current PR program, enabling it to meet the needs of 21st century PR students, educators, and practitioners. In Chapter I, the author first defines both PR and PR education, and explains specific reasons for discussing PR education at this time. This is followed by a comprehensive review of contemporary research on PR education. This section examines several issues in PR education: the preprofessional debate; the roles and expectations of PR practitioners; the appropriate academic department for the PR major; the roles and limitations of PR educators; and specific suggestions for change in PR curricula.

Chapter II explains and addresses Carroll's present PR program, in light of the research and suggestions presented in Chapter I. This chapter includes background information on the program, as well as an explanation of Carroll's current requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in PR. The chapter includes a synopsis of a survey of 13 junior and senior PR students at Carroll. These students evaluated each course in the Carroll PR program and the program as a whole. Chapter III is a proposal for change in Carroll's PR program. The recommendations in this chapter are based on the information presented and the suggestions offered in Chapters I and II. In this final chapter, the author first offers an interpretation of the student survey presented in Chapter II. The bulk of this chapter, though, is comprised of a five-year, three-phase proposal for the transformation of Carroll's current PR program. The author proposes a PR program that is conducive to Carroll's specialized needs and abilities as a private, liberal arts institution.