Quinnipiac University’s 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.
The institutions taking part in the pilot include Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business; the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business; Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management; and the University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Business Administration.
“Quinnipiac’s School of Business is extremely pleased to have been selected for this unique pilot project and to be teaming with some of the finest business schools in the world on this effort,” said Matthew O’Connor, dean of the school. “We are completely committed to the importance of strategic communication and reputation management skills to future global business leaders and their organizations, as well as to working with PRSA and the schools selected to ensure a highly successful pilot program.”
Under the pilot program, the School of Business will integrate a new, turn-key public relations course into its MBA curriculum for the 2012-2013 academic year. PRSA developed the course in partnership with Paul Argenti, professor of corporate communications at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.
At Quinnipiac, this course will be taught by Kathy Fitzpatrick, a professor of public relationsin the School of Communications. "Kathy is internationally recognized for her scholarship in the field," said Lee Kamlet, dean of the School of Communications. "Her solid credentials guarantee this new program will start off on a solid foundation.
"We are happy to be collaborating with Quinnipiac’s School of Business for this important program. It is just one more example of the importance of cooperation among schools at the university," Kamlet added.
The School of Business also will work collaboratively with the other business schools 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.
Upon successful validation of the curriculum, PRSA will offer the public relations course and best-practices guide to business schools nationwide.
“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.
The 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 thePRSA Foundation, and ongoing financial and material support is being provided by MWW Group,Kelton Research, Hilton Hotels Corporation and Southwest Airlines.