Public Relations professionals design and implement strategic communication plans to help organizations build beneficial relationships with their various publics. Graduates have opportunities to work in the world of PR within corporations, agencies, health organizations, government, and entertainment. MTSU's accredited program blends the best of theoretical and hands-on approaches. Proximity to Nashville gives students access to media professionals, internships, and jobs. The program offers a challenging and comprehensive curriculum, excellent faculty, state-of-the-art PR lab, and an active Public Relations Student Society of America chapter. Get started by selecting the Advertising/Public Relations concentration in the School of Journalism.
Meagan Flippin (‘07) was recently promoted to president and CEO of The United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties. She previously served as senior director for marketing, special events, and community impact. Flippin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and received a master’s degree in strategic leadership from MTSU in ′08. She also is immediate past president of Murfreesboro Young Professionals, the immediate past chair of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce’s Diplomat Program, and active in the Junior League of Murfreesboro. "I call upon my public relations education on a daily basis," she said. "Our organization’s foundation is built upon trust, which is often garnered through transparency, professionalism, and consistency."
MTSU alumni Paul Bernardini (’11) and Landin King (’10) both are working at San Francisco-based Eastwick, a technology public relations agency specializing in media relations, social media, measurement and analytics, and more. King's internship led to a PR job for high-end hospitality brands at a boutique Nashville firm, The Andrews Agency, for his first two years after college. His current client load focuses largely on Quest Software units. Bernardini, who grew up in the Bay Area until age 6, lived in the Grand Teton National Park for a year and traveled in Southeast Asia for three months after graduation. "There are a lot of moving parts in PR, and it is by no means a typical 9-to-5 gig," Bernardini said.
Graduates specializing in public relations should find plenty of job opportunities in today's highly competitive business climate and market reach via multiple media platforms. Career possibilities await in agencies that represent clients, in industry from healthcare to entertainment, in organizational settings from education to religion, and in other non-profits and government.
MTSU's School of Journalism offers work leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with a major in Mass Communication. Concentrations are available in
Undergraduate or graduate students outside the College of Media and Entertainment may choose to minor in Mass Communication with an emphasis in any of the School of Journalism’s concentrations.
A Master of Science (M.S.) degree is available in Mass Communication, and a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Recording Arts and Technologies.
Sharon Holt Fitzgerald
Sharon H. Fitzgerald has taught in MTSU's School of Journalism since 1999, bringing to the classroom more than 30 years of journalism and public relations experience. For several years, she was a reporter on both weekly and daily newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer.
On the PR front, Lect. Fitzgerald has been press secretary for a U.S. congressman and run PR operations for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies. At the University of Tennessee, she was the communications consultant for the Municipal Technical Advisory Service. She followed that position with a stint as communications director of the Tennessee Municipal League.
In 1996, Lect. Fitzgerald founded her own business, Sharon Fitzgerald Communications, handling client PR and writing for publications as varied as American Profile magazine, Medical News Inc., Business Xpansion Journal and Forbes. Through the years, her clients have included the Tennessee Valley Authority, Vanderbilt University and Journal Communications. She continues to write in the health care and economic development fields. Lect. Fitzgerald has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
She holds a master's degree in public relations from Kent State University.
Dr. Cary Ann Greenwood
Zeny Sarabia-Panol, professor and associate dean, teaches PR campaigns, PR Communication and Principles of PR. She is also a past head of the International Communication Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). Dr. Sarabia-Panol holds degrees from Silliman University (magna cum laude), University of the Philippines and Oklahoma State University. Her research interests include international public relations, advertising, ethics, new media technology, academic quality rankings, and ethnic media.
Dr. Sarabia-Panol's research has been published in the Public Relations Review, Disability Studies Quarterly, Southwestern Mass Communication Journal, and Media Asia. She has authored a number of book chapters and presented research at the AEJMC, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Academy, and the American Academy of Advertising (AAA).
Dr. Hanna Park
Dr. Hanna Park is an assistant professor at MTSU, teaching courses in public relations. She has taught Public Relations Principles, Case Studies in Public Relations, and Public Relations Research since 2012. Before joining the MTSU School of Journalism faculty, she taught public relations and mass communication courses at the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Seoul, South Korea).
She received her bachelor’s degree with top honors and her master’s degree in Mass Communication from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. She also received another master’s degree with distinction in Public Relations and a doctoral degree in Mass Communication from the University of Florida.
Her research interests include corporate social responsibility, crisis communication, philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, relationship management, and social media. Her research work has appeared in the Korean Journal of Advertising, Korea Observer, PRism, and Korea Press Foundation’s reports. She also presented her research papers in national conferences in the U.S. and South Korea. Her recent publications include Second-level agenda setting effects (2015), Engaging youth in philanthropy (2013) and Associations among relationship maintenance strategies, organization-public relationships, and support for organizations (2010). She also has consulted Korea Scout Association’s Youth Philanthropy campaign.
Dr. Andrea L. Phillips
Andrea Phillips came to MTSU as assistant profession in public relations in 2014 after completing her Ph.D. at Texas Tech University. She came to academia after 20 years of professional experience in corporate, agency, and nonprofit settings doing work in the areas of public relations, corporate communication, marketing promotions, event planning, administration and education.
She began her professional life after graduating from Texas Christian University with a BS in Radio-TV-Film production and a minor in journalism. She entered the summer camp/conference center industry where she advanced through a number of positions, including video director and program director. While pursuing her first master's degree, she was lured into a corporate communications and promotions agency where she was an account executive and creative director serving Fortune 1000 companies, including Texas Instruments, HP, Verizon, Travelocity and its parent company Sabre Holdings.
Dr. Phillips first professional experience in academia came when she took on the director of university communications position at John Brown University in Arkansas. There she led the team responsible for all the university's PR efforts, the university website, brand development, creative design and print production, some of the university's advertising, and a variety of other internal and external communication efforts. While at JBU, she had the opportunity to teach a PR class, and soon after began pursuing a path that would lead her to full time teaching.
Phillips now holds an MA (Biblical Studies) from Dallas Theological Seminary and an MS in Public Relations and Advertising from TCU in addition to her PhD from Texas Tech. She is a member of PRSA and is accredited in public relations (APR) by that organization.
Introduces the practice of public relations, including its fundamental concepts and theories, historical development, and current issues.
NOTE: This was formerly PR 3040.
Prerequisites: JOUR 2710 and PR 2040. Techniques of creating and writing strategic messages, including the planning and development of components for strategic communication campaigns for corporate, public service, and other persuasive messages.
Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy; VCOM 2010. Effective print-design techniques with emphasis on organizational publications.
Prerequisite: PR 2040. Practical methods of handling problems in public relations with emphasis on fact-finding, planning, promoting, and evaluating.
(Same as JOUR/ADV/VCOM 3520.) Prerequisite: JOUR 3090. Special topics in journalism, advertising, public relations, and visual communication focusing on practical applications. Topics change each semester and have included investigative, environmental, sports, and political reporting; visual editing; international public relations; and advertising account management. May be repeated up to 6 credits.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Examines crisis communication theories, management, strategies, tactics, and cases while developing practical skills useful in crisis situations.
Prerequisites: PR 3360 and PR 3380 or VCOM 2950; senior standing. Researching and planning public relations campaigns. An opportunity for senior-level students to synthesize and apply knowledge and skills from previous courses.
Phone | 615-494-7748
615-494-7994 | BRAGG 230F
School of Journalism
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 64
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132