Regina Luttrell, associate dean of research and creative activity and associate professor of public relations, co-authored the paper “Connecting Pedagogy to Industry: Social and Digital Media Practice as Research in Public Relations Education“which was published in the Teaching Journalism and Mass Communication journal. The article was co-authored with Christopher J. McCollough of Jacksonville State University and Adrienne A. Wallace of Grand Valley State University.
This paper discusses a qualitative content analysis of course descriptions in an exploratory effort to identify the focus and emphasis of public relations curricular offerings in emerging technologies and their strategic application. Findings show an emphasis on an integration of disciplines and technology, an emphasis on content production and strategic application of social and digital media, and applied learning approaches designed to promote professional development among students. Findings also show a limited discussion of models of best practice, absence of theory as it relates to practice, shortage of appropriate methodology in analyzing big data, and a limited discussion of branding and influencers as emerging strategic resources and topics of discussion. The paper also identified future directions for expanded analysis to better understand the relationship between social and digital media courses and if they serve to appropriately train future industry professionals.