PRSA Educators Academy Call for Research Papers, Panels and Teaching Abstracts + Ferguson Award Call for Nominations

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Kelly Bruhn

Mar 5, 2020, 1:11:01 PM3/5/20
to PRSSA Advisers
Hello, everyone!

Sharing two opportunities from PRSA Educators Academy...

"Super Saturday" Call for Research Papers, Panels, and Teaching Abstracts

PRSA Educators Academy invites public relations educators, graduate students, and professionals to submit competitive research papers, teaching abstracts, and panel session proposals for presentation during “Super Saturday” of the 2020 PRSA International Conference in Nashville, Tennessee on Oct. 24, 2020.


All submissions are due by midnight Eastern time on Sunday, June 7, 2020. Please submit one copy of each entry as a Word document to Kelly Bruhn, 2020 Educators Academy Research Chair, via email ( You will receive a submission confirmation receipt via email.


Those who submit entries will be notified of the reviewers’ decisions by no later than July 15, 2020. Authors of accepted submissions must agree to present their work in Nashville on Oct. 24, 2020.


NOTE: To attend, you must register and pay a fee of either $85 for non-speakers or $60 for speakers. This fee is for Super Saturday only and does not cover registration for the full PRSA or PRSSA International Conference.



Research papers should test, refine, or expand public relations practice, research, or theory; or critically review issues relevant to public relations theory or research. Papers employing all methods of inquiry are invited. At least one author must be a member of the PRSA Educators Academy.


Each presenter will give a 12- to 15-minute presentation of his or her research, followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Following the conference, authors may have their papers included in non-copyrighted conference proceedings, which will be available on the Educators Academy website. Top research papers will also receive expedited review in Public Relations Journal.


Award Competitions

All non-student entries will automatically be considered for the $500 PRSA Top Research Paper Award. Collaboration is permitted.* Only one author is required to present the study in Nashville. Graduate student submissions will automatically be considered for the Betsy Plank $1,000 Graduate Research Competition Award. Collaboration is permitted but limited to graduate students.* Only one author is required to present the study in Nashville. Please identify as “student(s)” on the title page. In addition, awards will be given for top ethics paper $500, sponsored by the Arthur W. Page Center, and top diversity and inclusion paper $500, sponsored by American University.


*Please note, for co-authored papers, the award check is made out to the first author.

Winners will be required to submit a W-9.

Instructions for Submitting Research Papers

  • Research papers must not exceed 25 double-spaced pages in 12-point font (including references and tables). Papers should include appropriate literature reviews, methodology descriptions, findings, and discussions. Any paper longer than 25-pages will be disqualified and not assigned for review.
  • Research papers may not be under review simultaneously with any other conference; and/or any potential publication, including refereed journals, book chapters, etc.
  • When submitting, the author(s) must provide two documents:
    1. A separate title page with the paper’s title, author(s), affiliation(s), title(s), phone number(s), and email address(es). All authors and co-authors must be listed. No authors will be added after acceptance. Please identify on title page if entering a “student submission.”
    2. A blinded paper. The paper and paper properties must not reveal the authors’ names or affiliations for the peer review. Author-identifying information on any pages will be grounds for immediate disqualification.
  • Please indicate, in the subject of your email, you are submitting a research paper, and if you are a student.



This poster session will showcase best practices in education and/or provide examples of successful educational approaches, projects, and programs. Abstracts should refine, test, or present best practices or research related to public relations pedagogy. Authors are limited to only two abstract submissions (only one will be accepted).


Instructions for Submitting Teaching Abstracts

  • In a single document, please submit (1) a title page with author name(s), affiliation(s), and email address(es); (2) a one-page description of teaching idea include rationale for assignment, student learning goals, connection to PR Theory or practice, and evidence of student learning outcomes or assessment of student learning; and (3) assignment details and any necessary instructions or examples. Total submission should not exceed five pages and may not be under review simultaneously with any other conference and/or any potential publication.
  • Submissions will be non-blind peer reviewed. All accepted submissions will be included in non-copyrighted conference proceedings, which will be available on the Educators Academy website.
  • Further instructions for the poster sessions will be provided, following acceptance notification.



Panel session proposals should address topics that benefit educators. Past panels have focused on such topics as integrating ethics into the curriculum, helping students obtain internships, incorporating mobile apps in the classroom, and developing online portfolios.


Instructions for Submitting Panel Session Proposals

  • Proposals should include a title, the names of up to three panelists with their affiliations, the moderator’s name and affiliation, and a brief description of the panel (100 to 150 words).
  • The name and contact information of the panel organizer should be clearly identified.
  • Submissions will be non-blind peer reviewed.


June 7, 2020: Submissions due by midnight Eastern time

July 15, 2020: Acceptance notification

Oct. 24, 2020: “Super Saturday” in Nashville, Tennessee


For additional information or inquiries regarding submissions, please contact Kelly Bruhn ( or 515-271-2124) or Jensen Moore ( or 225-402-8334).

2020 Call for Nominations for David Ferguson Award for Outstanding Contributions to PR Education by a Practitioner


The Public Relations Society of America’s Educators Academy requests nominations of candidates for the David Ferguson Award. The award will be presented at the 2020 PRSA International Conference on Oct. 24, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee.

The David Ferguson Award recognizes outstanding contributions to the advancement of public relations education on the part of public relations professionals. The award honors the late David Ferguson, APR, Fellow PRSA, in recognition of his outstanding support to public relations education as PRSA president in 1985 and later as co-chair of the PRSA Educational Affairs Committee.


Ferguson recognized the importance of public relations education to the profession and helped to establish the five public relations course rule for creating and maintaining a PRSSA Chapter Charter. Identifying the equivalency of a major, specifically public relations course content, contributed to the importance of public relations faculty and enhanced the support being provided to such faculty.


In addition, Ferguson's leadership established the PRSA Certification program. This program enabled universities with public relations programs outside of journalism to achieve program review and those within journalism to have the benefit of an in-depth review by teams entirely comprising public relations professionals and faculty. The review process allowed reporting to top university administration as to the status of the program. The award recognizes practitioners who have shown a commitment to public relations education similar to Ferguson’s.


Past Winners of the David Ferguson Award

Richard Edelman

Isobel Parke, APR, Fellow PRSA

Jack Felton, APR, Fellow PRSA

Ron Rhody, APR, Fellow PRSA

John Paluszek, APR, Fellow PRSA

Rhoda Weiss, APR, Fellow PRSA

Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA

Frank Ovaitt, APR

Jon Riffel, APR

Judith Turner Phair, APR, Fellow PRSA

Mary Beth West, APR

David W. Brown

E. Ronald “Ron” Culp, APR, Fellow PRSA

Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., APR

Gary McCormick

Harold Burson

Mickey Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA

Del Galloway, APR, Fellow PRSA

Patrick Jackson, APR, Fellow PRSA



Criteria: Clear past and current evidence of outstanding service and commitment to public relations education through service to PRSA and other professional organizations; university public relations advisory boards, educational committees, commissions, and foundation boards; PRSSA national / district / chapter advisory, speaker programs and national/district conference programs committees; and/or PRSA national / district / chapter committees and programs related to the needs of education.


Nominations:  Please email a letter of nomination to Kelly Bruhn, Ph.D., APR ( and Jensen Moore ( no later than June 7, 2020. Please contact Kelly (515-271-2124) or Jensen (225-402-8334) with any questions.

Dr. Kelly B. Bruhn, APR
Associate Dean
Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication
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