UTEP's College of Business Administration Selected for Public Relations Pilot Program

June 12, 2012

NEW YORK (June 12, 2011) — The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Business Administration is one of five business schools selected by The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) to participate in a groundbreaking pilot program aimed at enhancing the strategic communication and reputation management education provided to the nation’s MBA candidates.

The schools selected by PRSA have demonstrated a commitment to teaching the strategic value of public relations at the MBA level, and currently offer or have previously offered public relations classes or coursework in their MBA and/or Executive MBA programs.

The other institutions taking part in the pilot include Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business; the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business; Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management; and Quinnipiac University’s School of Business.

“We are grateful for the PRSA’s recognition of the advances and successful outcomes created by our faculty and staff in the education of MBA students over the past five years.   This PRSA pilot program will help us expand our academic communications strategy in the MBA Program - for the benefit of our students .  It is exciting and consistent with our long-term strategy.  Congratulations to our business school colleagues, who will join in this current effort! We look forward to working with you and the PRSA team.” Dr. Robert Nachtmann, Dean of the College of the Business Administration, UTEP.

Under the pilot program, the College of Business Administration will integrate a new, turn-key public relations course into its MBA curriculum for the 2012-2013 academic year. PRSA developed the course in partnership with Paul Argenti, a professor of corporate communications at the Tuck School of Business.

The College of Business Administration also will work collaboratively with the other business schools on identifying and documenting best practices in terms of subject matter and teaching methods, and on incorporating its findings into a formal report to be released at the pilot program’s end.

Upon successful validation of the curriculum, PRSA will offer the public relations course and best-practices guide to business schools nationwide.

“We’re extremely proud of the quality and diversity of the university programs that showed interest and were selected to take part in our MBA pilot program,” said PRSA Chair and CEO Gerard F. Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA. “Our aim was to identify schools that were best-in-class in their respective categories and representative of various geographies, sizes and specializations, and I’d say we exceeded those goals, given the caliber of the institutions selected.”

PRSA Study Underscores Need for Public Relations Training

In October 2011, a Kelton Business Leader Study commissioned by PRSA surveyed 204 American business leaders (vice president and above) to gauge the organizational value that U.S. business executives place on corporate communications and reputation management, and on senior managers having advanced knowledge and grounding in those areas. 

The survey results showed that many American business leaders view recent MBA graduates as being under-prepared in the areas of strategic communication and reputation management. The results also showed that many of the business leaders surveyed believe MBA programs lack sufficient emphasis on communications strategy and related leadership skills. 

To help address this lack of training, PRSA’s MBA initiative is a multi-year, collaborative effort to advocate the value of including foundational communications strategy in MBA programs. Ultimately, the program is intended to give MBA candidates a better appreciation of public relations’ strategic value and help them understand the communications methodologies required for success in the future. 

The program has the support of the Arthur W. Page Society, Council of Public Relations Firms and International Association of Business Communicators. Initial funding was provided by the PRSA Foundation, and ongoing financial and material support is being provided by MWW Group, Kelton Research, Hilton Hotels Corporation and Southwest Airlines.

About the College of Business Administration

In 2010 and 2011, The University of Texas at El Paso’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) was ranked the No. 1 graduate business program for Hispanics in the nation by Hispanic Business magazine. The program is accredited by AACSB International — the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Designed for students from a wide range of backgrounds, the program provides a dynamic international focus. By offering a menu of flexible schedules and class formats, the MBA Program meets the needs of full-time students and working professionals alike. Students bring professional perspectives to the classroom from industries ranging from health care, engineering and education to cross-border business. Today, the MBA program serves a diverse population of more than 400 students from more than 20 countries.

About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community. With a mission to “advance the profession and the professional,” PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct; and advocates for the business value of public relations and greater diversity among public relations professionals. Based in New York, PRSA comprises 112 local Chapters; 14 Professional Interest Sections that focus on specific industries and practice areas; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which is active at more than 320 colleges and universities

For more information about the UTEP MBA/PRSA Pilot Program, contact Laura Uribarri, assistant dean for MBA programs, at lmuribarri@utep.edu or 915-747-5379. 


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