Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

CMST 2PR3 Public Relations:Princ&Prac

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Dr. Terry Flynn


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 329

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26977


Office Hours: Thursdays 12:00pm-5:00pm, or by appointment.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, students should have attained knowledge and understanding of the following central concepts:

  • The role and functions of public relations in a contemporary society.
  • The historical evolution of public relations, career opportunities in the field, and
  • professional/ethical/legal responsibilities.
  • The basic process of public relation -- research, planning, communication, evaluation – and the use of communications strategies and tactics to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
  • The persuasion of public opinion and audience analyses and how to reach diverse audiences.
  • An understanding of how public relations is a global phenomenon.
  • How the Internet and social media are changing the way public relations professionals build and sustain relationships between an organization and its constituents.
  • An understanding of public relations activities in business, sports, tourism, entertainment, nonprofit, education and governmental organizations.
  • The social and ethical imperatives related to the profession and the practice.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

  • Public Relations. (Tom Kelleher). 2018. (Oxford University Press: ISBN 978-0-19-020147-0).
  • Other readings as assigned and posted on A2L
  • Additional required reading material will be posted on our class A2L site.

    Furthermore, students interested in pursuing a career in public relations should be regular consumers of traditional and social media news sites including but not limited to: The Spectator, The Globe & Mail, CBC, CTV, Global, PR Week, PR Tactics, Communication World, Journal of Professional Communication, Public Relations Journal, Public Relations Review, Journal of Public Relations Research. All of which are available online through the McMaster University Library.

    Canadian Public Relations Society (Hamilton Chapter) – Full and part-time students can become student members of the Canadian Public Relations Hamilton Chapter. Here is a link to the membership form.

    During the year, a number of professional development events are offered that would be beneficial for those interested in pursuing a career or further education in public relations.

Method of Assessment:

Learning in this course results primarily from in-class and tutorial discussions. The balance of the learning results from the lectures on public relations concepts, from related readings, and from researching your presentations, cases, assignments, and projects. All work will be evaluated on an individual basis except in certain cases where group work is required. In these cases, group members will share the same grade adjusted by peer evaluation. Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

Required Assignments:


Value (% of overall grade)

Due Date

Assignment 1: What is Public Relations News Release


Week 3 in Tutorial

Tutorial Participation



Assignment 2: Spin Cycles



Assignment 3: Media/Information Kit


Week 12 in Tutorial

Mid Term Examination


Week 7

Final Examination


December Exam Period

Grading System: See Undergraduate Calendar--

A Note on Lecture Participation:

Being a student in this course comes with several responsibilities.

  • Please come to class with the readings completed, and ready to discuss readings and engage in class activities.
  • Please be punctual, and stay for the entire session, as you are responsible for any announcements made at the beginning and/or end of class.
  • If you miss class, it is your responsibility to get notes from a classmate, and to be prepared for the next class meeting, with all assignments/readings ready. Lecture notes will not be posted online or emailed.
  • Please also be present—existentially speaking—in class. If you are on your devices, social media, etc., you are not present and you are also disturbing the people around you.

Tutorials: Tutorials will begin the week of September 14, 2017. Each student must register for and attend weekly tutorials.

Tutorials have two purposes: (1) to help you work through course material and apply the concepts to new situations; (2) to deliver skills-building activities relevant to your university studies.

Tutorials are mandatory; attendance will be taken. Participation is required, with the same guidelines outlined for lecture. TAs will assign additional assignments and activities. Evaluation will consist of participation and completion of assignments.

Mid Term Exam: There will be one (1) mid-term exam (October 26, 2017). This exam will be a mixed-format (e.g., multiple choice, true/false, matching, etc.), and will test knowledge from lecture, tutorial, readings, and discussions. The material covered will be chapters 1-8 in the textbook and all other assigned readings and lecture material.

Final Exam: Scheduled by the University. The final exam will be cumulative; it will cover all material from the course—readings, lecture, discussion, in-class activities. The format will be mixed.



Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignment Submission/Turn It In: All papers/assignments must be typed, dated and titled in 12-point font, stapled, and include page numbers. Heading must include TA’s name and tutorial section. Please use APA citation style for in-text citation and references/bibliography. Double-sided printing is fine. Please be prepared to turn in papers using the Turn It In system. All assignments are due AT THE BEGINNING OF TUTORIAL.

Late Assignments/Missed Test: Assignments are due at the beginning of tutorial on the due date and posted to A2L by the start of your tutorial. Papers are late if they are submitted the same day after the tutorial. Late assignments must be submitted to A2L, in order to document completion date; the Teaching Assistant must be sent an email alerting that the paper is on Avenue. The teaching team (TAs and Professor) will not accept papers via email. Do not submit late papers to your TAs. All late assignments incur a late penalty of 10% per day (starting immediately upon collection of papers in tutorial); weekend days are treated the same as week days, due to the fact that you can submit your late assignment on A2L at any time. Assignments more than seven (7) days (one week) late will not be accepted – and your assignment will then receive a grade of 0% (zero). If you know you will not be in class/tutorial on an assignment due date, it is your responsibility to submit work early and notify your TA.

Make-up tests/exams: will be allowed in case of emergency only, with proper documentation; make-ups will be different than the original and will be scheduled by the Professor, at their discretion. The student must contact the Professor immediately (no later than three days past the scheduled test/exam) to reschedule a make-up, after which time a make-up will not be allowed.


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Course Schedule






September 7

Introduction to the course

Discuss: The purpose of the class

Discuss: The syllabus and the assignments


No Tutorials This Week


September 14

Read: Chapters 1 & 2 (Kelleher)

Read: CPRS Mission & Values and Code of Professional Standards

Tutorials Start


September 21


Read: Chapter 3

DUE: Assignment #1 – hand in to TA and post to A2L


September 28


Read: Chapter 4


Listen:  Episode #1 of Spin Cycles: A Century of Spin

Due:  Critical review of Episode #1 (TA/A2L)

Due: Submit Assignment #3 Group name and members


October 5

Read: Chapter 5 & 6

Read: Why Measurement Should be Non-Negotiable

Listen: Episode #2 of Spin Cycles: The Spindustrial Revolution

Due: Critical review of Episode #2 (TA/A2L)



October 12

FALL BREAK – no class










October 19

Read: Chapter 7 & 8

Read: AMEC's Integrated Evaluation Framework

Listen: Episode #3 of Spin Cycles: Calling Dr. Spin

Due: Critical review of Episode #3 (TA/A2L)



October 26

Mid-Term Exam (Chapters 1-8)

Time: 7:00-9:00pm

Location: In-class



November 2

Read: Chapter 9

Listen: Episode #4 of Spin Cycles: The Spin Doctor is In.

Due: Critical review of Episode #4 (TA/A2L)



November 9

Read: Chapter 10

Read: Eight steps to prepare for that "Tweet"



November 16

Read Chapter 12

Read: Crisis management and communications

Listen: Episode #5 of Spin Cycles: Spinning War

Due: Critical review of Episode #5 (TA/A2L)



November 23

Read: Chapter 13

Listen: Episode #6 of Spin Cycles: Spinning into the 21st Century

Due: Critical review of Episode #6 (TA/A2L)



November 30

Read: Chapter 14

Exam Review

Due:   Assignment #3 in Tutorial


Final Exam

As scheduled by the University



Other Course Information:

Announcements: The instructor reserves the right to make adjustments in the course schedule. Regardless of attendance, students are responsible for all announcements made in class, including adjustments to readings and assignments. Students are responsible for regularly checking A2L for any information that may be distributed online.

Class Environment: It is important that this course be an inclusive classroom. The course will involve a high level of interaction, especially in tutorial, and some disagreement about issues is expected. It is important that each individual is free to contribute, so I ask that we respect each voice in the class, and build an inclusive classroom. Any online interaction must also follow these guidelines.

Avenue 2 Learn: In this class, we will be using A2L. Students should be aware that when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster email accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course. The available information is dependent on the technology used. Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure, please discuss this with the instructor.