Communication major available with public relations emphasis

Melissa Hopkins

October 7, 2013

LAURINBURG — In the fall of 2012, Dr. Charles Meadows joined the Creative and Liberal Arts department at St. Andrews University as an assistant professor of communication.

He had received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama and was ready to take the opportunity presented to him during the interview process.

“When President Baldasare brought me in it was with the opportunity to be on the ground floor of creating a communication program,” said Meadows, “I looked at the history of the program and determined what was best suited to St. Andrews and the current job market.”

Previously grouped among the majors in visual and performing arts, Meadows and David Herr, department chair, were able to provide the justification to create the new major Communication with a concentration in Public Relations.

“The Department of Liberal and Creative Arts is excited to redevelop the Communication major for the twenty-first century,” said Dr. David Herr, department chair and associate professor of History. “Students will have the opportunity to gain practical understanding of a dynamic field.”

The program is designed to prepare students to serve as public relations managers and specialists in for-profit and non-profit organizations.

“We have taken one of the computer labs and refurbished it key software to allow for our students to gain skills needed to compete in the public relations field,” said Herr.

Among the software is the Adobe Creative Suite, one of the top design and layout systems available. The courses will also cover technology advances and social media — subjects Meadows will be covering at the 99th National Communication Association Conference in Washington, D.C. in November, where he will present two research papers.

The first, “The Future of Internet-Related Research in Health Communication Scholarship,” will be featured as one of the top four papers in the communication and Future Division. The second paper is “How Dialogic Theory is Used in Social Media: An Analysis of State Health Departments’ Facebook Pages.”

“Dr. Meadows brings creative new ideas to the program and our campus,” Herr said. “Combined with exposure to St. Andrews’ other excellent liberal arts and sciences, new communications majors and minors will have many exciting opportunities available upon graduation.”

Research shows that employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow 23 percent from 2010 to 2020, with that growth driven by the need for organizations to maintain their public image in a high-information age and with the growth of social media.

Melissa Hopkins is the director of communications for St. Andrews University.