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Professor: Barbara B. Nixon, Ph.D. (ABD)

Office: MOD 6 (in the lot just south of the B&E building)
Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Phone: 901-BNIXON4 (Google Voice, for text or voice mail) or barbara.b.nixon on Skype
Twitter: BarbaraNixon


Southeastern, a dynamic, Christ-centered university, fosters student success by integrating personal

faith and higher learning. Within our loving Pentecostal community, we challenge students to a lifetime
of good work and of preparing professionally so they can creatively serve their generation in the Spirit
of Christ.


Wilcox, D.L., & Cameron, G.T. (2009). Public relations: Strategies and tactics (9th Ed.). Boston: Allyn &

Students will also need to subscribe to Ragan Communications’ PR Daily.

At least one USB drive (minimum 1G)

Pack of multi-color markers


Students who complete this course will be able to:

1. Define public relations and identify instances of public relations in multiple contexts
2. Apply theories and principles of public relations to solve PR challenges
3. Use theory & strategy to choose appropriate and ethical PR tactics
4. Use theory and strategy to create and implement some basic PR techniques

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Course Grading: Your grade for this course will be based on the activities listed in the table below.
Points by assignments for each activity are listed to the right.

Blog Posts 30% or 300 points

Interview of a PR Professional 5% or 50 points
In-Class Exercises/Instructor Discretion 15% or 150 points
RATS (Online Quizzes) 25% or 250 points
Final Exam 15% or 150 points
Engagement & Participation 10% or 100 points


Blog Posts: Each student will create and maintain a blog at Starting early in the
semester, you will create original content for your blog. You will add new content to your blog,
including comments you post to others’ blogs, weekly. Blog posts that are posted after their
due dates may not be graded or earn credit. There will be several graded Blog Checkpoints, plus
a final assessment of the blog. Citing sources in your blog is just as important as it is in any
academic paper you write; plagiarism is not tolerated. Detailed instructions about the content
and layout of your blog will be available at by the end of
Week 2.

Readiness Assessment Tests (RATS): Readings are designed to provide you with knowledge
regarding public relations basics. Readiness assessment tests will be given over each reading
assignment from the Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics textbook. The open-book,
multiple-choice RATS will be administered via BlackBoard prior to you coming to class, so that
our class time can be more focused on discussion and application, rather than lectures. You
may take each of the RATS twice, and the higher of the two scores will count. Most RATS will
have fewer than 10 questions. RATS grades will be averaged and will comprise 25% of your
grade in the class.

More details on the remaining assignments will be provided by the end of Week 2.


1. Responsibilities of Students: Each student is expected to commit to the following guidelines:

a. Preparation—the class discussion will mean little if text material is not read and the
assignments are not prepared in advance.
b. Presence—unique thoughts and insights cannot be contributed to group discussions, or to
student learning, if you are not present. The SEU attendance policy should be your
guide and is a minimum attendance policy.
c. Promptness—late arrivals disrupt the class and adversely impact the decorum of the
process. This is unprofessional. Note: Three times late equals one absence for evaluation

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d. Participation—as part owner of the discussion, it is each student’s responsibility to share in
the advancement of the group’s collective skills and knowledge
e. Academic Honesty—Any instance of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, will be
handled in accordance with the Student Handbook.
f. Specific Policies—If you cannot be present for a class, you are responsible for contacting a
fellow student by using email in order to find out what was covered in class the day you
were absent and what will be covered in the next class.

2. Material will be covered in class that is not presented in the textbook. This material may include
information included in lectures, additional readings, and in-class exercises. Exams will include this
material as well as material assigned in the textbook.

3. Material not turned in when due will NOT be accepted and will earn a grade of zero. Unless
otherwise specified, all assignments must be submitted using either a Microsoft Office product (Word,
PowerPoint, etc.) or Adobe PDF; if I cannot open an assignment or the file is corrupt, you cannot earn
credit on the assignment.

4. Attendance is important. Any absences in excess of what is allowed by the SEU policy set forth
above will result in an appropriate grade reduction. It is your job to keep track of your total absences; I
am not responsible for reminding you about your total absences. On speech days, if you are tardy you
must wait to enter the class until the speaker has completed her or his speech; you will be able to tell
when speeches end by listening for the applause.

5. Failure to take a exam or quiz on the assigned date will result in a ZERO for that exam unless the
absence is approved in advance by the instructor or is an emergency that is excused by the Dean of
the College of Fine Arts. If you travel with an athletic team or are a member of another SEU approved
club or group, you are responsible for submitting assigned material prior to your departure or via email
while traveling.

6. Cell Phones and Electronic Devices: Because your friends and family may not know your class
schedule, turn off your cell phones in class. Ringing cell phones are annoying and disruptive, especially
during speeches. Furthermore, because of the advance technology of text messaging and digital
imaging, the use of any personal electronic devices (cell phones, PDAs, iPods, headphones, etc) is
prohibited during examinations. The use of any such item during an examination will result in
immediate dismissal from the classroom and the examination.

7. Agreement with Syllabus Content: This syllabus is an agreement between the professor and the
student, between me and you, to respectively provide and complete a worthy learning experience. By
remaining a registered student in this course, you have identified your understanding of and
agreement to the obligations set forth in this syllabus for satisfactory completion of this course,
including the course policies as well as the assignments. The professor reserves the right to modify this
syllabus during the term.

All other academic policies are described in the Student Handbook.

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Students with Disabilities

Southeastern University is committed to the provision of reasonable accommodations for students

with learning and or physical disabilities, as defined in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act 1973. If you
think you may qualify for these accommodations, notify your instructor. You will then be directed to
contact the Director of Academic Success at 863-667-5157.

Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Tests are administered for each department at
the request of each professor to provide special accommodations for those affected by learning
disabilities, vision and physical impairments, attention deficit disorder, and testing anxiety/phobias.
These accommodations are provided on a daily basis for the student and professors.

Class Attendance Policy

Students are both expected and encouraged to attend classes regularly. The lack of attendance may
affect a student’s grade.

For traditional fall and spring semesters, a student may miss a class without penalty equal to the
number of times a class meets per week as follows:

• If the class meets once a week a student may miss one class.
• If the class meets two times a week a student may miss two classes.
• If the class meets three times a week a student may miss three classes.

If a student’s absences exceed the number of times a class meets per week, a professor may:

• Subject the student to a penalty of not more than one letter grade based on attendance
• Recommend to the Vice President for Academic Affairs that a student with excessive
absences be withdrawn from the course.

Program directors must provide lists of students participating in authorized university activities or field
trips to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Once approved, program directors must
provide copies of the lists to the participating students for submission to the students’ instructors.
Faculty must take this information into account as they log attendance and not consider it an absence.

Working within the framework of the above guidelines, faculty will clearly articulate their attendance
policy in the course syllabus.

Prolonged and/or unusual absences not covered by the policy may be appealed to the Vice President
of Academic Affairs by either the professor or the student. Appeals must be submitted in writing.

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Final Exam

Every professor is obligated to administer a final exam or hold an appropriate class during the regularly
scheduled exam period. Every student is obligated to take the final exam or attend that appropriate
class during the regularly scheduled exam period. Please plan accordingly and carefully for final exams.
You must not plan vacations, ministry appointments, weddings, airline flights, or any other similar
activity or engagement that will conflict with the final exam schedule. Also, do not schedule any of
these activities so close to your final exam that the commute to the activity conflicts with the final exam

Final exams will be administered in the room where the class normally meets. Students with more than
3 exams scheduled on one day can petition the instructor and department chair/college dean to take
one of the exams another day.

Communication Statement

Southeastern University requires all faculty, staff and students to use their Southeastern email address
for official university communication. Students are required to check Southeastern email daily as they
will be held accountable for all communications sent through this medium.

Course Evaluations

In order to help us to assess the effectiveness of our courses and instructors, if you receive a course
evaluation for this course, you are required to complete it.

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Several years ago, a colleague shared with me this quotation by longshoreman and philosopher Eric Hoffer:

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to
deal with a world that no longer exists.”

This quotation struck a chord with me. Put simply, my overarching goal in teaching is to ensure that our world
has more learners than learned. I am fortunate to be in a role in life where I can have an impact on our future
world leaders.

What do I expect from my students?

• Students should be fully read on all of the chapters (or other reading assignments) and to be ready to
discuss any part of the readings.
• Students should raise questions when they are uncertain of the material we are discussing, including
questions that I will have no easy (“pat”) answer for.
• Students should make every effort to gain the most value that they can from the class. They should want
to become independent learners.
• Students should become aware of not only how what happens in the world (current events) impacts
them, but also how what they do impacts the world. Campus is not a cocoon.

And what can my students expect from me?

• Because I am aware that students learn in many different ways, I will not lecture at my students daily
from behind a raised podium. Instead, I will provide instruction to them in an interactive manner, even in
online courses. In a typical week, students will experience partner discussions, small group discussions,
Internet scavenger hunts, and even crossword puzzles, in addition to short (less than 20 minute)
lecturettes. “Death by PowerPoint” will not happen in my class.
• I will provide them with the most current information I have available. I stay current on topics and trends
in the industry.
• I will stay abreast of current technology and apply it in the classroom whenever it adds to the learning
experience. (Examples include current software, podcasts and blogging, to name a few.)
• I will make every effort to help guide students through the issues that they raise, and we will seek
resolution together.
• I will make every effort I can to make sure that students understand the issues and concepts my courses
• When I have positive feedback to share, I will share it openly in the classroom and call attention to
students by name in the process. My goal in this is to enhance or maintain the students’ self-esteem, not
to break it down. There are plenty of other places in the world where their self-esteem may be
diminished. Constructive criticism will still be provided to students, but not by name in front of a whole
• I expect for us to have fun in class. Laughter and learning go hand in hand in my book. If we are not
enjoying ourselves in class, there’s something amiss.
• And perhaps most importantly, I will listen to my students so that I can learn from them, too.

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TENTATIVE DAILY SCHEDULE (as of 13 August 2010)


NewsU Course: Understanding
1 August 22 Welcome & Course Overview
Media: Process and Principles
What is Public Relations?  Ch. 1
2 August 29
New Technologies in PR  Ch. 13
NewsU Course: Online Media
Social Media 101 (incl. blogging &
3 September 5 Law: The Basics for Bloggers and
Other Publishers
The Evolution of Public Relations
4 September 12  Blog Editorial Calendar Due (Wed)  Ch. 2
 Blog Checkpoint #1 (Wed)
5 September 19 Ethics and Professionalism  Ch. 3
6 September 26 Public Relations Departments & Firms  Ch. 4
7 October 3 Resume Writing & Job Interviewing
8 October 10 Program Planning  Ch. 5-6
 Blog Checkpoint #2 (Wed)
Communication  Ch. 7
9 October 17
 Interview of a PR Professional Due (Wed)
10 October 24 Evaluation  Ch. 8
Public Opinion and Persuasion
11 October 31  Ch. 9
 Blog Checkpoint #3 (Wed)
Conflict Management
12 November 7  Ch. 10-11
Reaching a Multicultural & Diverse Aud.
News Releases, etc.
13 November 14  Ch. 14
 Blog Due (Wed)
14 November 21 Thanksgiving Holiday/Fall Break
Radio, TV and the Web
15 November 28  Ch. 15-16
Media Interviews, News Conferences, etc.
16 December 5 Course Wrap Up
FINAL EXAM Complete the Final Exam in BlackBoard before Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 1:50 p.m.

NOTE: For dates of quizzes, see BlackBoard. Typically, quizzes are due on Mondays by
midnight, and they will cover the upcoming week’s readings from the textbook.

NOTE: The above schedule and procedures are subject to change in the event of
extenuating circumstances. When possible, you will be provided at least one class day of
advance notice of any changes. It’s always smart to check your e-mail before coming to
class each day.

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Consent to Comply

I ______________________________________________
Student’s Name (print)

have read, understand, and will keep in my possession the Course Syllabus for COMM 2322,
Southeastern University, 2010/2011. I understand that in compliance with the syllabus and the Student
Handbook, for both instructional and evaluation purposes, I may be responsible for electronically
submitting my written work to Turnitin®. With the affixing of my signature below, I agree to comply to
the terms therein.

My Signature


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