Education Report Sets Clear Vision for the Future

May 1, 2018

After three years of research in the United States and abroad, the Commission on Public Relations Education has released a major report of findings and recommendations that describes a clear, consistent and compelling direction for PR students, those who teach them and those who hire them. 

Its title, “Fast Forward: Foundations and Future State, Educators and Practitioners,” reflects the research-based suggestions from the 60 Commission members who conducted research, formulated observations and developed more than 80 recommendations to enhance PR education. 

The report’s often-repeated core words — writing, ethics, diversity, global, technology, faculty, research, liberal arts and practitioner-educator dialogue — describe a need for momentum carefully grounded in the roots of the profession.
Some of the key takeaways include:

  • Speed is essential. There is universal agreement among practitioners and educators that the ability for educational efforts to move, be nimble and adapt is critical. PR education mirrors the profession, which is in a time of incredibly intense change.
  • Writing, for all platforms, is the core competency that practitioners and educators agree to improve on.
  • More than ever, ethics is a commitment that begins in the classroom. A required ethics course has been added to the existing five CPRE-recommended required courses (principles, research, writing, internships and campaigns).
  • Diversity is essential to a profession that helps organizations relate to their worlds, and it must begin on campus and in the classroom, not just as a business strategy but because it is the right thing to do.
  • Practitioners and educators remain committed to the foundations of public relations, including research, theory and required paid internships for real-time learning. There is also agreement that undergraduates must acquire a global perspective, and that outside-the-classroom experience in campus activities, student-run media and PR agencies and PRSSA also develops needed knowledge and skills.

The report from the Commission — the authoritative voice on PR education since its founding in 1975, and composed of 18 U.S. and global PR organizations — will be used by university PR departments and programs to develop curricular and out-of-classroom experiential learning for thousands of undergraduates studying at more than 1,200 universities.

Kathleen L. Lewton, APR, Fellow PRSA, principal of Lewton, Seekins & Trester, and Elizabeth L. Toth, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, professor and former chair of the department of communication at the University of Maryland, serve as its co-chairs.

You may download a copy of the report at


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