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COM 302— Public Relations Principles and Practices  

Instructor: To be announced
Office Hours: To be announced
Office Telephone: To be announced 
E-mail:  To be announced 



This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic concepts and principles of public relations. It serves as the foundation for other courses in public relations and explores definitions, history, theories, principles, management practices and public relations career possibilities.


Wilcox, Dennis  L, et al., eds.(2006). Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics (Eighth Edition). New York: Pearson Education, Inc.


Communications World
Public Relations Strategist
Public Relations Review
Public Relations Journal
PR News
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


Upon completion of this course the learner will:
a. understand and define public relations and its purpose.
b. understand and apply the four-step public relations process (research, action
    plan/program planning, communication tactics/implementation plan and
c. understand some of the legal and ethical concerns of public relations practitioners by  
    analyzing case studies.
d. define career opportunities in public relations.
e. explain how public relations practitioners influence and interact with their publics,
    including the media.



Six assignments/exercises
One group presentation 
Mid-term Exam
Final Exam

Six assignments/exercises (five points each) 30%
Group presentation 10%
Mid-term Exam 30%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%


Assignments and test scores will count toward a final score for the course in this way:
A (100-97), A- (96-93), B+ (92-89), B (88-85), B- (84-81), C+ (80-77), C (76-73), C- (72-69), D+ (68-65), D (64-61), F (60 and under).

Without a valid written excuse (see attendance policy), missed tests, quizzes, exams and in-class assignments may or may not be rescheduled depending on the particular situation. With a valid excuse, the quiz, exam, or assignment, or an equivalent assignment, will be given. Late papers, assignments, and take-home tests will be docked.

Attendance Policy:

Lincoln University uses the class method of teaching, which assumes that each student has something to contribute and something to gain by attending class. It further assumes that there is much more instruction absorbed in the classroom than can be tested on examinations. Therefore, students are expected to attend all regularly scheduled class meetings and should exhibit good faith in this regard.

For control of absences, the faculty adopted the following regulations:

  • Four absences may result in automatic failure in the course.
  • Three tardy arrivals may be counted as one absence.  The student is considered late if they arrive 5 minutes after the posted class time.
  • Absences will be counted starting with the first day of class or the first day the student is registered for the class, but not later than the deadline for adding or dropping a class.
  • In case of illness, death in the family, or other extenuating circumstances, the student must present documented evidence of inability to attend classes to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. However, in such cases the student is responsible for all the work missed during those absences.
  • Departments offering courses with less than full-course credit will develop and submit to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management a class attendance policy in keeping with the above.
  • Students representing the University in athletic events or other University sanctioned activities will be excused from class (es) with the responsibility of making up all work and examinations. The Registrar will issue the excused format to the faculty member in charge of the off-or on-campus activity for delivery by the student (s) to their instructors.

See “Class Attendance” under “General Academic Regulations” in the Lincoln University (PA) Bulletin 2003-2006, pp. 60-61.  Also located on Lincoln’s website as an Adobe© PDF file.

Statement on Academic Integrity: (Lincoln University Policy)

            Students are responsible for proper conduct and integrity in all of their scholastic (and creative) work. They must follow a professor’s instructions when completing tests, homework, (projects), and laboratory reports, and must ask for clarification if the instructions are not clear. In general, students should not give or receive aid when taking exams, or exceed the time limitations specified by the professor. In seeking the truth, in learning to think critically, and in preparing for a life of constructive service, honesty is imperative. Honesty in the classroom and in the preparation of papers is therefore expected of all students. Each student has the responsibility to submit work that is uniquely her or his own. All of this work must be done in accordance with established principles of academic integrity

Acts of Academic Dishonesty (cheating):

Specific violations of this responsibility include, but are not limited to, the following:

a. Copying, offering and/or receiving unauthorized assistance or information in examinations, tests, quizzes; in the writing of reports, assigned papers, or special assignments, as in computer programming; and in the preparation of creative works (i.e., music, studio work, art).

b.   The fabrication or falsification of data, results, or sources for papers or reports.

c.   The use of unauthorized materials and/or persons during testing.

d.  The unauthorized possession of tests or examination.

e.   The physical theft, duplication, unauthorized distribution, use or sale of tests, examinations, papers, or computer programs.

f.   Any action which destroys or alters the work of another student.

g.   Tampering with grades, grade books or otherwise attempting to alter grades assigned by the instructor.

h.   The multiple submission of the same paper or report for assignments in more than one course without the prior written permission of each instructor.

2.   Plagiarism
            If a student represents "another person's ideas or scholarship as his/her own," that student is committing an act of plagiarism.  The most common form of plagiarism among college students is the unintentional use of others' published ideas in their own work, and representing these ideas as their own by neglecting to acknowledge the sources of such materials. Students are expected to cite all sources used in the preparation of written work, including examinations.
            It is each student’s responsibility to find out exactly what each of his/her professor's expects in terms of acknowledging sources of information on papers, exams, and assignments. It is the responsibility of each faculty person to state clearly in the syllabus for the course all expectations pertaining to academic integrity and plagiarism. Sanctions peculiar to the course should also be explained in the syllabus.

3.   Sanctions

A. Warning: A written notice that repetitions of misconduct will result in more severe disciplinary action. The warning becomes part of the student's file in the Office of the Registrar, and, there is no other example of misconduct, is removed at the time of graduation.

B.   Failure for project (exam, paper, examination).

C.   Failure of course.  For serious and repeat offenses, the University reserves the right to suspend or expel.

Imposition of Sanctions:
First Offense -- A and/or B
Second and Subsequent Offenses -- B or C

Expectations and sanctions will be explained in every syllabus.  Students failing a course because of an instance of academic dishonesty may not drop the course.  The student may appeal a charge of academic dishonesty within ten days of receiving notice of same. An Academic Hearing Board (AHB) consisting of the chairs of each division of study (or their designees) will hear the appeal.  Files on violations of this academic integrity code will be kept in the Office of the Registrar.

See “Academic Organization, Curriculum, and Regulations”/ “Academic Integrity” in the Lincoln University (PA) Bulletin 2003-2006, pp. 55-56.  Also located on Lincoln’s website as an Adobe© PDF file.



Assigned Readings

General Topics

Exams/Assignments/Guest Speakers

Week 1

Ch. 1

Review of Class, Introductions
What is Public Relations?


Week 2

Ch. 2
Ch. 3

The Evolution of Public Relations
Ethics and Professionalism

Assignment 1

Week 3

Ch. 4

Public Relations Departments and Firms

Review of Exam 1

Week 4



Ch. 1-4

Week 5

Ch. 5
Ch. 6

Program Planning

Assignment 2

Week 6

Ch. 7
Ch. 8


Assignment 3

Week 7

Ch. 9
Ch. 10

Public Opinion and Persuasion
Conflict Management


Review for Midterm Exam

Week 8



Midterm Exam
Ch. 5-10

Week 9

Ch. 11
Ch. 12

The Audience and How to Reach It
Public Relations and the Law

Assignment 4

Week 10

Ch. 13
Ch. 14

New Technologies in Public Relations
News Releases, Newsletters, Brochures

Assignment 5

Week 11

Ch. 15
Ch. 16

Radio, Television and the Web
Speechwriting, Presentations, Media Interviews
(Panel of Guest Speakers)


 Guest Speaker

Week 12

Ch. 17
Ch. 18

Politics and Government

Assignment 6

Week 13

Ch. 19
Ch. 20

International Public Relations
Nonprofit Organizations

 Guest Speaker

Week 14

Ch. 21
Ch. 22

Entertainment, Sports and Travel
(Panel of Guest Speakers)

 Review of Final Exam

Week 15


Group Presentation

 Review of Final Exam

Week 16


Final Exam

Final Exam


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