Public relations opens for majors

The Public Relations program is making a jump to major status.

If the Board of Regents approves the program students will be able to enroll as Public Relations majors in March.

Northern faculty decided to expand the program due to external demand, said Dr. Cady Short-Thompson, associate professor of communication and coordinator of the Public Relations program.

“Our students have been asking for it for years, and students who wanted to come here, but wanted a PR major, went elsewhere,” she said.

Public Relations “involves presenting either a candidate, a person, a company, or even an issue to the public in as positive, clear and accurate a light as possible,” said Dr. Short-Thompson.

The program will be different than a speech or journalism major because it will be media and corporate related and will better prepare students to get a job in PR.

With this being the only PR program in a 50-mile radius, there are a lot of jobs, and students want the jobs, said Dr. Short-Thompson.

Employers also want a number of qualified PR practitioners to graduate and be ready for the work.

Dr. Short-Thompson said it takes a talent to communicate with the public and media and this focused degree will ready students for the task.

With a degree in PR, students can work as in-house PR people for any company or work for a specific PR firm. People in this field will be expected to put out press releases, make newsletters, design brochures and Web sites and really advertise the project they are working on.

“You have to like to write to do this job,” said Dr. Short-Thompson. “And write well.”

To better prepare for the curriculum, NKU professors will retrain and redevelop techniques to teach classes as productively as possible.

The department is also hiring additional professors with a PR background to teach.