New Public Relations Major Expands Student Opportunities

Industry growth and student interest fuels new public relations major

Aug. 14, 2014 By Camryn Hudson

Public relations is one of the fastest-growing careers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. With increased employment opportunities in the industry, there is a rise in demand for public relations degree programs at the undergraduate level. Biola University has seen this firsthand and willwelcome its first class of the new public relations major this fall with 30 percent more incoming students enrolled than expected.

 

“We’re thrilled to see this major launch at Biola. The industry is rapidly growing and our program is responding to this growing interest,” said Carolyn Kim, professor of public relations. “We’re excited to combine this competitive curriculum with co-curricular activities that provide strategic opportunities for our students.”


Public relations was previously the largest emphasis in the Journalism & Integrated Media department. This new 45-unit major includes courses in social media and digital strategy, advanced campaign design and analysis and public relations management.


The new major, which Kim envisioned in 2011, will launch this fall as a result of her efforts. This summer, Kim was named Teacher of the Year through the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s Small Programs Interest Group. She is the 2014 winner of the Ginger Rudeseal Carter Miller Teacher of the Year Award partially for her leadership in launching the new major.

 

With the increase in social media use and the oversaturation of media presence, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that public relations employment will grow 12 percent by the year 2022. Biola has experienced an upward trend in the number of incoming students declaring public relations as their major and Biola is set to start the semester with close to 80 students including emphasis students.

 

In recent years, Biola’s program has gained national attention through Biola’s involvement with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). For the second year in a row, Biola will have a student serving on the PRSSA National Committee. In addition, the Biola PRSSA chapter was awarded the “Star Chapter” award at the PRSSA 2013 National Conference, a distinction that only about 10 percent of national chapters receive, which recognizes activities and service by the chapter.

 

Biola’s student-run public relations agency, 6th Street, has also gained national affiliation through PRSSA, under Kim’s leadership, a distinction given only to “the most accomplished and successful student-run firms.” The 6th Street agency allows students to gain real-world experience by creating public relations campaigns for professional clients on and off campus.

 

Still housed in the Journalism & Integrated Media department, the major combines competitive courses in media and technology with the highest standards and requirements for a public relations education.


For more information regarding the major, please contact Carolyn Kim at 562.944.0351 ext. 3021 or email her at carolyn.kim@biola.edu.

 

Written by Camryn Hudson, public relations intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, media relations specialist, at 562.777.4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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