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Professor: Office Hours: Office Phone: Email: Fax: Home Phone


Fall 2012 Syllabus for PRL 605.1* Public Relations Theory (3 credits) Wednesday, 3:45-6:30 p.m. Room 469, Newhouse II Brenda J. Wrigley, Ph.D., APR Associate Professor Department of Public Relations Office Location: Room 455, Newhouse III Wednesday, 10 a.m. to Noon and Thursday 1-3 p.m. Additional Office Hours by Appointment 315-443-1911 (has voicemail) 315-443-5436 315-682-4138 (has voicemail; no calls after 10 p.m., please)

“The 10 p.m. Guarantee” If you send me an email by 10 p.m., I promise to respond to you via email by the next morning. This guarantee is good seven days a week! Please note: All assignments (with the exception of the very first one) will be submitted electronically through the Turnitin Feature on Blackboard, our online course system. You will need a mail account to access Blackboard. University policy calls for all students to check their mail addresses regularly. You have the option of forwarding all mail to another e-mail account, but you are responsible for all messages and materials sent out on Blackboard. The URL to get into Blackboard is: http://blackboard/ I communicate frequently by email, so please check it often. Required Textbooks (Course Manual provided): Heath, R.L. (Ed.). (2010). Handbook of Public Relations (Second Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Yin, R.K. (2009). Case Study Research (4th Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. American Psychological Association (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association or a comparable style manual that details how to write academic papers using APA Style (Note: APA style is different from AP Style). 1

*Syllabus subject to change

Additional Required Reading: You will receive, FREE OF CHARGE, a Monday through Friday subscription to The New York Times. You are expected to read it daily and use examples from it to add to class discussion. This gets you in the habit of reading a solid daily newspaper and keeping up on what’s happening in the news. Being “plugged in” to current events is a MUST in our field. This will help you develop/enhance this habit now. Course Description: This course introduces students to the breadth of public relations theories, as well as a general overview of mass communication theories. Topics covered include defining the practice, organizational legitimacy, best practices in planning, management, crisis communication, issues management, social responsibility, reputation management, and global public relations. Students examine a framework for Excellence in public relations by looking at models, roles, communication, organizational culture, diversity and ethics. The course will trace the evolution of media effects theories, as well as classic theories of mass communication. The theories you learn in this course form the foundation for the research you conduct during your program and the ongoing application in your professional practice. This course has no graduate-level prerequisites other than the summer “boot camp” courses. Please take note: Email is my primary method of communicating with students and colleagues. You should check your e-mail often for updates, information and other messages. Not reading your e-mail is not an excuse for missing out on important information! Student Learning Outcomes Students completing this course will be able to: • Explain, analyze, synthesize and apply a selection of the most influential theories and research findings on public relations and mass communication • Develop a conceptual framework that you can use to analyze the management of public relations to, in turn, enhance your managerial status • Develop a clear understanding of the ethical responsibilities for public relations professionals • Learn about the diversity issues facing the profession and society as they relate to the actions of public relations professionals 2

Produce a research proposal Produce an original case study project that applies a theoretical framework to explaining an actual public relations case • Improve your writing skills • Improve your presentation skills • Enter the world of academic scholarship with all of its challenges, responsibilities and rewards Course Policies/Rules of Conduct: • • General Guidelines: I require hard copies of your assignments, doublespaced, 12-point type. Please do NOT e-mail assignments! You are also required to turn in your assignments on Blackboard using Turnitin, with the exception of the very first assignment. All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the assigned days. I will deduct one point for every TWO errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation or APA Style. Please proofread very carefully. Reading your paper aloud really helps! Remember, you turn in assignments in hard-copy form in class AND submit them through Blackboard. However, in an emergency, you may use ONLY the Digital Drop Box on Blackboard to submit an assignment, as long as you have communicated your emergency to me PRIOR to the start of class. 1. All work must meet professional standards. All papers must be typewritten, double-spaced on 8 ½ by 11-inch white paper with margins with a minimum of one inch. All papers, essays and exams must have a title page noting course title, student, student’s phone number, student’s e-mail address, date and instructor, as well as the name of the assignment. There should be no handwritten corrections. Always use page numbers. Proofread all of your work very carefully! Spell check is just a part of this process. Always keep a copy of your work in case one of my dogs or cats eats your homework! Note: A missing title page or missing page numbers will mean 5 points off. No exceptions! 2. References are required in all work except the very first assignment. This includes use of in-text citations and Reference Lists. Use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation and referencing style. 3. All papers, essays, exams, questions, etc. are due on the agreed-upon date. Students must contact the instructor in advance if there is a need for an extension. Extensions are only granted in rare instances where illness or an emergency require my flexibility. Students must complete all of the assignments in the course to pass the course. 4. Papers will be returned in a timely fashion so that students can see their progress and the instructor’s comments. Late papers (those turned in after the class session has begun) will lose points at the rate of 5 points 3

per hour, beginning with the start time of class. Work turned in more than 48 hours late will receive ZERO points for that assignment. 5. Course incompletes are a matter of contract between the student and the university. Incompletes may only be granted in case of accident, serious illness or other extraordinary circumstance. The student and the instructor must sign an official SU incomplete form before the end of the grading period. This semester that date is December 26, 2012. 6. SU Academic Integrity Policy: At Syracuse University, academic integrity is expected of every community member in all endeavors. Academic integrity includes a commitment to the values of honesty, trustworthiness, fairness and respect. These values are essential to the overall success of an academic society. In addition, every member of the university community has a right to expect adherence to academic integrity from all other community members. An individual’s academic dishonesty threatens and undermines the central mission of the university. It is unfair to other community members who do not cheat, because it devalues efforts to learn, to teach, and to conduct research. Academic dishonesty interferes with moral and intellectual development, and poisons the atmosphere of open and trusting intellectual discourse. We will discuss what constitutes plagiarism and other academic dishonesty practices. 7. Attendance is required and recorded. Should illness or some other emergency prevent you from attending class, I would appreciate a phone call or email from you PRIOR to the start of class. Absences will only be excused for extraordinary circumstances (e.g. a documented illness; a death in the family with a copy of the obituary listing you as a survivor). The instructor will be as accommodating as possible, treating this course as a management work environment where professional courtesy and understanding, on both her part, and the student’s part, is expected. 8. Since this is a graduate seminar, students are expected to attend each session on time. Professional courtesy is expected at all times, including when guest speakers are present. Please turn off cell phones, pagers and all other electronic devices once you enter the classroom. I would prefer that you not use laptops during class, but you may use them to take notes, if you wish. However, if I discover you are using a laptop or other device in class for any other purpose, you will be asked to relinquish your laptop or other device and will need to retrieve it from the Dean’s Office, after explaining to the Dean why you were using your laptop or other device for purposes other than taking notes. Talking with others while someone at the front of the room is speaking is distracting to me, guest 4

speakers and your colleagues. If this happens, I will stop class and ask you to discontinue talking. In short, professional behaviors are expected. 9. Statement regarding disability-related accommodations: Students who are in need of disability-related academic accommodations must register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS), 304 University Avenue, Room 309, 315-443-4498. Students with authorized disabilityrelated accommodations should provide a current Accommodation Authorization Letter from ODS to the instructor and review those accommodations with the instructor. Accommodations, such as exam administration, are not provided retroactively; therefore, planning for accommodations as early as possible is necessary. For further information, see the ODS Web site, Office of Disability Services at: http:// or contact the office directly at (Phone): 315-443-4498. Telecommunications Device for the Deaf: 315-443-1371. E-mail: 10.Since Newhouse is a professional school, and since you are seeking careers in the professional world, professional attitudes and demeanor are expected at all times. This class will be conducted in a professional climate of interaction, discussion, dialogue and respect for a diversity of viewpoints. I see it as part of my responsibility to help guide you in professional conduct. For example, use of Smartphones for texting or reading messages during class would be considered rude behavior in a board room with colleagues. Please observe this professional courtesy and turn off such devices before class begins. All phones and other devices should be turned off completely or set to “silent”. Method of Instruction • • • This course will use an interactive seminar format. Students are responsible for participation during each class period. Students are expected to arrive at each class having read the preassigned materials and given them thoughtful consideration. In addition, each student will be required to come to each class with two discussion questions for the day’s assigned readings. These discussion questions will help us share our understanding of the assigned readings. The best discussion questions are those that not only cover the reading content, but also apply to current management, business and public relations issues/topics covered by the media, as well as from your own experience. In a word, creativity is welcome! Please Note: While you may not always be required to turn in your discussion questions, the instructor reserves the right to collect them from time to time. Your discussion questions, with your name included and the reading assignment (page numbers of the reading) noted, should be typed, 5

not handwritten. I will not accept discussion questions submitted to me after the class meeting date or those that are handwritten. No exceptions! Therefore, please don’t forget to bring your typed questions to each class. There will be class lectures and discussions, pre-readings, in-class videos, case studies, and exercises, and periodic guest speakers. Classes are structured to encourage involvement within the simulation of a management environment. One final aspect of the course: Each student will randomly draw the name of a theory and be responsible for leading the class discussion on the day that theory is discussed. You do NOT need to use this theory for your case study. The expected outcome is that the class will understand the theory once you have led the discussion, brought in a case example, asked questions and/or other methods of learning you think would be helpful. When appropriate, I will add my own comments and theory explanations to enhance learning.

Course Assignments: Opening Essay: (20pts/5%): In this first paper, you’ll give me an indication of your writing ability. You’ll have a chance to see my grading and feedback style, as well. Assignment specifics will be distributed the first day of class. Note: This is the only assignment which is given to me in hard copy form only; no Blackboard submission for this assignment only. Part One: Introduction Assignment (20pts/5%): Draft your case study background/introduction; research problem; research questions; and definition of concepts to study. This assignment helps you start preparing for your case study proposal. You receive feedback from me. I must approve your topic BEFORE you begin your research. References and sources required (this includes both in-text citations and a Reference List, both in APA style). Part Two: Case Study Proposal Assignment (80pts/20%): The purpose of the case study proposal is to prepare you for the final project. In the proposal, you explain the following: (1) background/introduction; (2) the research problem; (3) the research questions; (4) organization to be studied; (5) literature review (which uses the information gathered previously to write the definition of concepts and related research); (6) the research method; (7) description of the three different data collection procedures (one type must be three in-depth interviews); (8) the intended data analysis plan; (9) the actual interview questions; (10) List of References. This proposal should be no longer than 20 double-spaced, typewritten pages. (Note: If you can do a good job in fewer than 20 pages, so much the better!) This assignment will be worth 80 points or 20% of your final grade. I must approve your proposal BEFORE you 6

begin your data-gathering. There must be a minimum of 20 sources. The mix of sources should be both academic and other types of sources, which we will discuss. Case Study Final Report Assignment (120pts/30%): This project should illustrate your ability to develop a theoretical framework from the course materials and to apply these materials to an actual organization’s public relations function. You should be able to build this project from your organizational case study proposal, adding on the data analysis, results, conclusions and limitations sections. The final paper may be no longer than 40 pages (excluding list of interview questions and reference list). Final Case Study Presentation (20pts/5%): You will present a short summary of your case study project during the second-to-last or final class meeting. Professional attire is required. A PowerPoint presentation also is expected. In-class teaching of a PR theory (20pts/5%): You’ll receive a randomlyselected PR theory to study and present. In addition to our assigned readings, you’ll be expected to know this theory well enough to teach it to the class, pose interesting questions, direct the discussion, and call on class members for their discussion questions. Providing a case example is also helpful. Two Essay Exams (Total: 120pts or 60 pts each/30% total): The purpose of these exams is to gauge your understanding of the assigned readings. You should be able to explain the readings and assess them critically through this question format. By illustrating your ability to work with the assigned readings, you are developing a conceptual framework by which to look at organizational public relations in more theoretical ways. Exam 1 will be on the readings up until the date of the exam. Exam 2 will be cumulative, covering ALL assigned course readings up to that point. Summary of Assignments/Final Grading Scale Assignments Opening Essay 20 Exam 1 60 Exam 2 60 Part One: Introduction 20 Part Two: Case Study Proposal 80 Case Study Final Report 120 In-class teaching of PR theory 20 Final In-Class Presentation Total Points 20 5% 15% 15% 5% 20% 30% 5% 100% 7 % of Grade



The final grading is based on the accumulated number of points. The following scale will be used: 370-400 360-369 348-359 330-347 = = = = A A- B+ B 320-329 308-319 290-307 280-289 0-288 =F = = = = BC+ C C-


Schedule for Reading and Assignment Dates Fall Semester Schedule Weeks Dates 1 8/29 2 9/5

September 5 class 3 Approaches 4 5

Topics/Assignments/Readings Introduction to the Course Defining the Discipline First half of class: Library Second half of class: Defining the Discipline: Rhetorical Approaches Read: Heath, pp. 1-98 Opening Essay Due at beginning of 9/12 Defining the Discipline: Publics; Power; Dialogic Communications Theory Intro Read: Heath, pp. 99-204 Defining the Practice: Race; Feminist Scholarship Read: Heath, pp. 205-276 Defining the Practice: Symmetry; Strategic Management; Reputation & Branding Read: Heath, pp. 277-320; 339-352 Read: As much of Yin book as

9/19 9/26

possible September 6


Part One: Introduction Due at beginning of class 10/3 Designing Case Studies More Communications Theory Research; Professionalism; Academics & Practitioners; Relationship Management Read: Heath, pp. 321-394 Read: As much of Yin book (2009) as possible 10/10 Designing Case Studies

7 (continued)

Activists; Leadership; Issue Management; Risk Communication Read: Heath, pp. 395-476 Read: Balance of Yin book 9


October 17 9

The Case Study Proposal Crisis Communication/Crisis Management; Public Relations & Marketing; Publicity Read: Heath, pp. 477-556 First Essay Exam Due at beginning of class 10/24 Organizational Legitimacy CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility); Ethics Read: Heath, pp. 557-584 Additional Communication Theory readings on Blackboard Best Practices: Social Media Read: Heath, pp. 643-656 Additional Communication Theory readings on Blackboard




October 31 class 11 12 November 14: November 21 14 Report

Part Two: Case Study Proposal Due at beginning of 11/7 11/14 Best Practices: Global Issues Guest speaker: TBA Read: Heath, pp. 657-708 New Directions for Research Read: Heath, pp. 709-722

Second Essay Exam Due at beginning of class No Class/U.S. Thanksgiving Break 11/28 Writing the Final Case Study Read: Guidelines & Standards handout Read: Two Grunig handouts, Auditing a PR function, Auditing Global PR 10

presentations 15

Read: Grunig, Grunig & Dozier (2002) handout In class today: Case study Last Class Meeting In class today: More case study presentations & Course Evaluation


December 12 Final Case Study Report Due by 5 p.m. in my office (Note: You may turn in your paper earlier if you are able to do so!)