The Department of Strategic Communication congratulates two faculty members on prestigious public relations awards

Fort Worth, Texas – March 6, 2017– Two Department of Strategic Communication professors have won prestigious public relations awards for research papers. Dr. Julie O’Neil, Ph.D., associate professor, and Dr. Liang (Lindsay) Ma, Ph.D., assistant professor, will attend the International Public Relations Research Conference in Orlando, Florida on March 8 through March 12, 2017 to receive their awards.

O’Neil won the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) W. Ward White Award for the Top Three Papers of Practical Significance at IPRRC for her work on “The Delphi Student to Identify Standards for Internal Communication.” In this research study, O’Neil and her academic and practitioner colleagues conducted a two-round Delphi study with a purposive sample of internal communication thought leaders to identify internal communication standards. Their research describes those findings and defines standards that practitioners can use to measure internal communication in a consistent and comparable manner—the goal of standardization.

According to the Institute for Public Relations, the IPR W. Ward White Awards “are presented to the top three papers of practical significance submitted to the International Public Relations Research Conference. The papers demonstrate immediate transference and real-world implications for public relations practitioners or the industry.” Each winning paper is awarded $1,000.

Ma won the Red Raider Public Relations Research Award for her research on “When Love Becomes Hate: The Dark Side of Consumer-Brand Relationships in Crisis Communication.” In this study, Ma examined how different types of consumer-brand relationships influence consumers’ attitudinal, emotional and behavioral reactions to brand crises.

“The Red Raider Public Relations Research Award is a $1,000 award for the best paper that uses quantitative approach, innovative methodologies and bridges academic and practical research,” according to the Institute for Public Relations. A committee formed by the Texas Tech Department of Public Relations faculty selected the award recipient.

The Institute for Public Relations is a nonprofit foundation committed to research on public relations. The foundation “investigates the science beneath the art of public relations” according to their website. The foundation conducts research in public relations to evaluate communication program; research on public relations to understand best practice; and research for public relations to understand the social science of public relations work.

The International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC) will be held in downtown Orlando. According to the IPRRC, the conference “is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting socially beneficial public relations research that increases understanding, builds relationships, supports ethical socially responsible performance, and advances the development of an increasingly democratic global society.”

Please join the Bob Schieffer College of Communication and the Department of Strategic Communication on congratulating these two members of the faculty.


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The Department of Strategic Communication educates students on the theories and methods of advertising, public relations and new media to meet strategic goals of organizations. Formed in 2014, the department is housed in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication.