MCOM-4683, Sec. 101: PUBLIC RELATIONS PRINCIPLES
MWF @ 1 – 1:50 p.m., FA - B127
Instructor: Liz Minden
Office & Telephone: B108 Fain Fine Arts Bldg.; 397-4398
Office Hours: MWF @ 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.; TR @ 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.; and by appointment
TEXT: Wilcox, et al. Think Public Relations, 2011.
PRE-REQUISITES: MCOM-1243, News Writing & Reporting I
A. COURSE DESCRIPTION & OBJECTIVES
This course examines the nature of public relations, how it functions in an organization, and its role in organizations and society. The course is designed to give you a broad understanding of the development and practice of public relations, as well as the profession’s theory, issues and trends. In addition to learning from lecture information and reading the text, students also will examine several cases designed to reinforce public relations principles, conduct research, and analyze information to develop appropriate PR responses. By the end of the course, you should be able to:
1. define public relations and explain the steps in the PR process.
2. outline the evolution of public relations and explain its role in modern society.
3. explain some of the PR profession’s legal and ethical responsibilities, as well as some of the regulations and constraints affecting its practice.
4. conduct research and analyze an organization’s communication activities in order to plan and implement communication strategies that help achieve organizational goals.
5. apply the public relations process to a variety of organizational environments.
6. distinguish between PR’s communication activities and its strategic management function.
B. COURSE ACTIVITIES
1. QUIZZES/ACTIVITIES: 10 points each
These will be based on the assigned readings (see schedule on pp. 2-3) and class discussions. They will be unannounced and given in class at the discretion of the instructor.
2. FOUR IN-CLASS WRITING ASSIGNMENTS: 25 points each
a. ASSIGNMENT DATES are: Sept. 28, Oct. 26, Nov. 16, and Nov. 30.
b. These are in-class writing assignments for which you will develop ideas to address a particular public relations problem or situation. Thought in applying the readings and lecture material is essential to doing well on these assignments.
3. HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS: 100 points each
A handout explaining these assignments will be provided. Students must work independently of each other on these assignments.
a. Assignment #1, Public Opinion & Persuasion = due date: October 3
b. Assignment #2, Law & Ethics = due date: October 31
c. Assignment #3, Internal Relations = due date: November 19
c. Assignment #4, External Relations = due date: Monday, Dec. 5
4. FINAL EXAM: 100 points, Exam period is 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10
Similar to the in-class writing assignments, this exam provides a scenario for which you will develop an in-depth public relations solution. Again, thought in applying what you have learned from course readings and lectures is essential in doing well on this exam.
C. COURSE GRADES
1. Late work will not be accepted. A late assignment earns a zero for points.
2. Fabricating information or using another’s work as your own earns you an “F” for the course. (See “Course Policies” #2.)
3. Points will be deducted from homework assignments that have numerous grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors.
4. Homework assignments must be typed, double-space. If they are not, points will be deducted.
5. Students are expected to come to class having read the assigned chapters and prepared to discuss the material.
6. The ability to make up any missed assignment is at the discretion of the instructor.
7. Numerical grades are awarded for each quiz and assignment. To determine your grade for the course, quiz and assignment grades will be totaled and then divided by the total number of possible points to derive your percentage. The grading scale is:
A = 90% -100% of the total possible points
B = 80% - 89% of the total possible points
C = 70% - 79% of the total possible points
D = 60% - 69% of the total possible points
F = Less than 60% of the total possible points
**NOTE: The instructor reserves the right to add or cancel assignments as the course progresses. If for some reason the number of assignments total more or fewer than the original number set for the course, the method of calculating your final grade will remain the same: the total points a student achieves for all submitted assignments will be divided by the total possible points for all the assignments to obtain a percentage, and a grade will be assigned according to the percentage scale outlined above.
Late work will not be accepted. A late assignment earns a zero for points.
Attendance: Students are expected to attend, be on time for and participate in class. The instructor reserves the right to drop any student who misses more than three class periods. Makeup work for any absence is at the discretion of the instructor.
E. COURSE POLICIES
1. Attendance: Students are expected to attend, be on time for and participate in class. The instructor reserves the right to drop any student who misses more than three class periods. Makeup work for any absence is at the discretion of the instructor.
2. Plagiarism and cheating: The MSU Student Honor Creed, found in both your student handbook and the university catalog, includes the statement: “As an MSU student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so.” Plagiarism, lying and cheating include, but are not limited to: fabricating information and sources, copying material from publications without crediting the author, turning in another student’s work as your own, and copying quiz/exam answers from another person. STUDENTS FOUND CHEATING, PLAGIARIZING OR MAKING UP INFORMATION WILL RECEIVE AN “F” FOR THIS COURSE.
3. Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act: Any student with a disability who is registered with the MSU Office of Disability Support Services should notify the instructor at the beginning of the course to ensure that alternatives may be found to provide the student with full class participation.
4. Limited Right: By enrolling in this course, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course. This “limited right” shall include, but shall not be limited to, the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.
5. FERPA: The instructor abides by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The instructor also will not release a student’s academic information or discuss a student’s academic progress or class attendance with his/her parent or guardian. Additionally, the instructor will not discuss a student’s grades with him/her in class, over the phone or by email. STUDENTS WHO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR GRADES MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE INSTRUCTOR.
6. Disruptive Behavior: Anyone disrupting the class – or violating any other Standard of Conduct applicable to the classroom environment – will be dropped from the course. (See MSU Student Handbook, “Standards of Student Conduct.”)
a. Turn off the sound on your cell phone during class. No text messaging either. If your phone rings or you’re found sending a text-message during class, you will be dropped from the course.
b. Turn off your iPods and similar technology. Like ringing cell phones, this is a class disruption issue and you will be dropped from the course if you do not comply.
c. Be polite. Discourtesy of any kind will not be tolerated.
7. Senior Portfolio: Please note that all mass communication majors are required to submit a portfolio as part of their internship course, which is a pre-requisite for Senior Production. This requirement is a part of MSU’s reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is non-negotiable. Through the portfolio, students are required to demonstrate communication competence through the written word and visual communication; two examples of each competency are required.
As you go through this and other classes, you are responsible for saving course work that could be included in your senior portfolio.
Please see your instructor, adviser, the department chair or any mass communication faculty member for handouts with more information (“Mass Communication Senior Portfolio Competencies” and “Mass Communication Senior Portfolio FAQ”). These handouts are also available on the department web page: http://finearts.mwsu.edu/masscomm/.
8. Other: You may be asked to provide your assignments on a portable computer medium (e.g., jump/thumb drive) or by email.
BE AWARE THAT the instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus for any reason, and will give sufficient notice if changes are necessary.