Ad/PR major to receive a name change

Julie O’Neil’s title was corrected Jan. 23 at 9:45 p.m.

A proposed a change to the name of the advertising/public relations major will better reflect the nature of the program, said the advertising/public relations division chair.

Julie O’Neil, division chair and associate professor in the Schieffer School of Journalism, said the new name will bring only a few changes to the curriculum.

“One of the things that distinguishes our ad/PR program from other schools around the country is that we have an integrated degree, meaning advertising and public relations is one degree,” O’Neil said. “We want to use a name that is more reflective of that and strategic communication is perfect.

The Undergraduate Council approved the changes Friday, and if the University Council approves the changes, it will be final, said Michael Butler, chair of the Undergraduate Council and associate dean of the AddRan College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Mike Wood, a professional in residence in advertising/public relations, said strategic communication is a better description of the end product of students.

In the advertising and public relations business, things are always changing, so the change should be a natural one for the department, Wood said.

He said his goal is to prepare students for the real world, and the department has to keep up with it.

“It’s not like majoring in history or English,” Wood said. “You’re majoring in a living, breathing thing that changes every day. And you have to change with it, and that’s what we’re doing.”

O’Neil said if students want to major in strategic communication, they will be required to take Communications in Society, Media Writing and Editing 1, Public Relations Principles, Advertising Principles and achieve a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Previously, students had to earn a C or better in each class.

The GPA requirement is designed to attract students who are interested in this major, O’Neil said.

Advertising/public relations is the fourth largest major on campus with 334 students, and the department is more interested in quality, not quantity, Wood said.

“We want learners who are motivated to be in this business and will represent us well,” Wood said.

O’Neil said the proposal for changing the major began last spring and was written by the advertising/public relations faculty. Evaluation of courses, research from recent graduates and surveying people in the area helped put the proposal together before taking it to the university, O’Neil said.

The University Council will meet 3 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Tucker Technology Center to discuss approving the change.