About the Commission

Leadership | History | CPRE Board

The Commission on Public Relations Education is the authoritative voice on public relations education. Since its founding in 1973 by the Public Relations Division of the Association for Education in Journalism, joined by co-sponsor the Public Relations Society of America, the Commission has provided recommendations on public relations education for universities and professional associations across the globe.

These recommendations have been adopted and adapted to positively impact undergraduate and graduate public relations education. The Commission’s work also produces essential data and recommendations informed by research and honed by experienced practitioners and educators, and used by educators, educational administrators, students, practitioners and industry leaders. The Commission also strives to offer a forum for advancing public relations education with a global perspective.

The Commission’s recommendations throughout the years have also included criteria for creation of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapters, standards for PRSA Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) and the work of practitioner and educator associations around the globe.

The Commission seeks to establish benchmarks for teaching public relations that are current, research-based, sensitive to culture and language, and applicable to preparing public relations students for careers in practice, research, teaching, or a combination of all three. The Commission chooses projects from the full spectrum of activity in the education field including researching and identifying factors that help students understand the expectations for a career in public relations.

Commission Leadership

Co-Chair, Educators:
Julie O’Neil, Ph.D.,
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Administration,
Texas Christian University + IPR Measurement Commission
j.oneil@tcu.edu

Co-Chair, Practitioners:
Gary McCormick, APR, Fellow PRSA 
Principal/Owner
GMc Communications
gary.d.mccormick@gmail.com

Secretary:
Deborah Silverman, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA
Chair and Associate Professor
Buffalo State University
silverda@buffalostate.edu

Treasurer:
Neil Foote
Associate Dean, Research, External Affairs and Community Engagement, 
University of North Texas, President/CEO, Foote Communications LLC
neil@neilfoote.com

Immediate Past Chair:
Maria Russell, APR, Fellow PRSA
Professor Emerita, Public Relations,
Newhouse School of Public Communications,
Syracuse University
mprussel@syr.edu

History of The Commission

  • The Commission’s raison d’etre has its roots in a paper commenting on the “unsatisfactory and disparate state of public relations in the United States,” delivered to the Public Relations Division of the Association of Educators of Journalism (AEJ, now the Association of Educators of Journalism and Mass Communications, or AEJMC) at its 1973 meeting by industry icons J. Carroll Bateman and Professor Scott M. Cutlip.
  • The Bateman/Cutlip paper now is considered the first in a 50-year series of reports by teams of practitioners and educators, seeking to help colleges and universities prepare their students for careers in public relations. Just as the profession has evolved from in-house journalists to today’s counselors serving clients and top management in challenging, global, multicultural organizations and society, so has the curriculum evolved to prepare those future leaders. Collectively, each of the Commission’s signature studies shows that evolution.
  • For much of those 50 years, The Commission has been a loose association of educator and practitioner associations, supported by The Public Relations Society of America, and gathering every 5-7 years to examine public relations curricula and make recommendations to guide educators, their colleges and universities, and accrediting bodies.
  • In 2021, The Commission leadership created a formal partnership with The Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and gained the support of The PR Council.
  • In 2023, The Commission was granted 501c3 status by the United States Internal Revenue Service, allowing the new organization to seek charitable donations, sponsorships, and grants.
  • Throughout 2023, The Commission observes its 50th anniversary as the connection between the public relations industry and the educational institutions who prepare those who will meet the challenges of that industry.

The Commission Today

Today the Commission remains “the authoritative voice” on behalf of public relations education, with a board representing 18 different organizations and groups, and between 50 and 60 board members on an annual basis. In 2018, following the publication of this report “Fast Forward: Foundations and Future State. Educators and Practitioners,” the Commission will be pursuing an aggressive effort to develop action plans to unite educators and practitioners in addressing six to ten of the major recommendations of the report. We are committed to going beyond disseminating the recommendations and encouraging that they be adopted in education and industry, and will be working with all member organizations to identify solutions and tools for use by educators and those who employ entry-level public relations practitioners, to make sure the recommendations become reality.

2023 Board

Each of the 24 organizations is entitled to appoint two representatives to the Board who serve as liaisons to their organizations while conducting the mission of the Commission by sharing their time and expertise within a variety of working committees.

Arthur W. Page Society
Chris Brathwaite and Richard Woods

AEJMC—Public Relations Division 
Ken Plowman and Hongmei Shen

Canadian Public Relations Society   
Rai Rashpal and Martha Terdik

Chartered Institute of Public Relations, UK 
Anne Gregory and Susan Kinnear

European PR Education& Research Association 
Sabine Einwiller and Wim Elving

Global Alliance for Public Relations       
Justin Green and Wole Adamolekun

Institute for Public Relations   
Tina McCorkindale and Anetra Henry

International Assn of Business Communicators    
Matt Tidwell and Kelli Cargile-Cook

International Communication Assn/PR Division
LaShonda Eaddy and Gabriel Sadi

International Communications Consultancy Organization

Journal of Public Relations Education    
Pam Bourland-Davis and Emily Kinsky

Museum of Public Relations   
Shelley Spector and Barry Spector

National Black Public Relations Society    
Neil Foote

National Communication Association—PR Division 
Anna Klyueva and Chelsea Woods

Plank Center for Leadership in PR   
Karla Gower and Kevin Saghy

PR Council       
Kim Sample and Rebecca Honeyman

Public Relations Society of America 
Denise Hill and Charles Wallington

PRSA Foundation      

PRSA College of Fellows     
Kelly Davis and Amiso George

PRSA Educational Affairs Committee   
Mickey Nall and Gary McCormick

PRSA Educators Academy
Mary Ann Pearson and Melody Fisher

Universal Accreditation Board  
Kristie Byrum and Marlene Neill

The Conference Board   
Joseph DiBlasi and Katie Puello

At-Large Members do not represent a specific member organization, but they serve as liaisons to the community of Public Relations educators and practitioners. At-Large members have voting rights and are expected to promote CPRE’s mission, attend its meetings, and engage in its initiatives through committee service.

At-Large Members

  • Shannon Bowen
  • Douglas Cannon
  • Anthony D’Angelo
  • Sandra Duhe
  • Michele Ewing
  • Denise Ferguson
  • Terence Flynn
  • Kathleen Lewton
  • Carolyn Kim
  • Spiro Kiousis
  • Nneka Logan
  • Cayce Myers
  • Judith Phair
  • Gemma Puglisi
  • Kathleen Rennie
  • Deborah Silverman
  • Hilary Fussell Sisco
  • Elizabeth Toth
  • Katerina Tsetsura
  • Rosalynn Vasquez

Past Co-Chairs
In 2022 CPRE’s Board approved the creation of a Council of Past Co-Chairs, The purpose of this Council is to acknowledge the long series of advancements in Public Relations education, to recognize the individual contributions of those co-chairs, and to encircle them within the CPRE as non-voting volunteers valued for their insights, counsel, and expertise. Membership in the Council is optional, as is the willingness to serve on committees. Virtual meetings will be held twice a year.

Carroll Bateman*
Dr. Scott Cutlip*
Betsy Ann Plank*
Dr. William P. Ehling*
John Paluszek
Dr. Dean Kruckeberg
Frank Ovaitt
Jean Valin
Dr. Judy VanSlyke Turk*
Del Galloway
Dr. Karla Gower
Kathleen Lewton
Dr. Marcia DiStaso
Judith Phair
Dr. Elizabeth Toth
Stacey Smith
Professor Anthony D’Angelo

                                                                                   *deceased