Fast Forward: The Commission on Public Relations Education (CPRE) Report on Undergraduate Education

Identifying Gaps Between PR Curriculum and Practitioner Expectations of Entry-Level Professionals

Hosted by the Educators Academy.

On-Demand, available until Sept. 18, 2019
Recorded Sept. 11, 2018

Categories: Ethics, Techniques & Tactics, Writing

The Commission on Public Relations Education is the authoritative voice on public relations education, in partnership with PRSA, PRSA Educators Academy, and more than 15 additional academic and professional associations. This webinar details the undergraduate curriculum recommendations arising from longitudinal research between public relations educators and practitioners. More than that, this webinar provides the first glimpse into subcommittee research, arising from the report, that focuses on the writing and ethics areas of PR curriculum. This webinar is appropriate for educators and practitioners alike.

By the end of this webinar participants will be able to:

  • Define the major report findings and curricular recommendations for PR education.
  • Explain the expectations that PR professionals have for entry-level positions - and associated gaps in PR curriculum.
  • Understand the complex role of ethics as a tenet of PR - and curricular recommendations.
  • Determine the modern evolution of the essential and evergreen topic of strong writing skills - and curricular recommendations.


Kathleen L. Lewton, APR, Fellow PRSA, principal, Lewton, Seekins & Trester

Photo of Kathleen L. Lewton, APR, Fellow PRSA

Kathleen Larey Lewton, APR, Fellow PRSA, principal of Lewton,Seekins&Trester, is of counsel to Padilla and has spent more than 40 years leading PR and marketing counsel to leading U.S. academic medical centers and health systems. She was a senior VP at global agencies Porter Novelli and Fleishman Hillard. Lewton authored “Public Relations in Health Care: A Guide for Professionals,” (American Hospital Association, 1991 and 1995), the only textbook on the topic. She was national president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and was honored with the Health Academy Lifetime Achievement Award, along with multiple Silver Anvil awards.  She has presented to SHSMD, PRSA, AAMC and The Economic Club of Detroit.  She has an M.S. in journalism from Northwestern and an MHA from University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Denise P. Ferguson, Ph.D., APR, associate dean and professor of communication, Azusa Pacific University

Photo of Denise P. Ferguson, Ph.D., APR

Dr. Denise P. Ferguson is Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research, and Professor of Communication at Azusa Pacific University. She has held previous administrative and faculty positions at Pepperdine University, Indiana Wesleyan University, and University of Indianapolis.

Dr. Ferguson's research has been published in Public Relations Review, Public Relations Journal, Sociological Quarterly, and The Handbook of Public Relations, and has been presented at annual conferences of the International Association of Business Disciplines, International Communication Association, National Communication Association, and Religious Communication Association, and Public Relations Society of America.

Dr. Ferguson has more than ten years of experience in professional public relations in higher education, corporate, and nonprofit organizations. She earned a Ph.D. in Public Affairs and Issues Management at Purdue University, a master's degree in Communication at Bowling Green State University, and a B.S. in Communication from Indiana State University. Dr. Ferguson holds the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America, is on the board of PRSA-Los Angeles and an executive member of the international Commission on Public Relations Education, and has served as President of the Religious Communication Association and Chair of the Public Relations Division of the National Communication Association.

Marlene Neill, Ph.D., APR, assistant professor, department of journalism, public relations and new media, Baylor University

Photo of Marlene Neill, Ph.D., APR

Marlene S. Neill, Ph.D., APR, is an assistant professor at Baylor University, and teaches courses in public relations and advertising. 

Her research interests include public relations management, internal communication and ethics. She has published 18 journal articles and a book on public relations ethics.

She received her Ph.D. in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin, her Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia, and her Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. Neill previously worked for almost 12 years in government and nonprofit public relations.



Melissa Dodd, Ph.D., APR, Associate Professor, Advertising-Public Relations, University of Central Florida

Photo of Melissa Dodd, Ph.D., APR

Melissa D. Dodd, Ph.D., APR, is Associate Professor of Advertising-Public Relations, at the University of Central Florida's Nicholson School of Communication and Media in Orlando.

Dodd has presented her award-winning research about activism, advocacy, CSR, measurement, and social capital around the world. She has published in discipline leading journals and book publications, including Public Relations Review, Public Relations Journal, Communication Research Reports, Communication Teacher, Journal of Communication Management, and Journal of Public Interest Communication, among others. Dodd was twice-named Arthur W. Page Center Legacy Scholar for her corporate activism research and serves as Research Fellow for the Institute for Public Relations Behavioral Insights Research Center. Dodd was recently awarded a grant to study the narratives of gun reform advocacy organizations and will perform in-depth interviews with social movement leaders in New York and Washington D.C. throughout the coming year.

Dodd is current Chair of the Public Relations Society of America’s Educators Academy (past: Research Chair, Chair-Elect), overseeing a national membership of more than 400. She is a member of the Orlando PRSA Chapter.



Participants with the APR credential earn 1.0 APR Maintenance Credit for a webinar. Learn more about Accreditation maintenance.