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CMST 2PR3 Public Relations:Princ&Prac (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2019

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:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This is a survey course intended to familiarize you with the concepts, principles and practices of public relations. This course will acquaint you with the profession, the manner in which it contributes to organizational effectiveness, and its role in society, domestically and globally. You’ll study the roles and functions public relations practitioners perform, the history of the profession, the processes and techniques of its practice, theories that underpin the discipline, and legal and ethical factors affecting the profession.


Learning Outcomes: 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 stakeholders
  • 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:

Students should purchase the following texts from the Campus Bookstore:

  • Public Relations. (Tom Kelleher). 2018. (Oxford University Press: ISBN 978-0-19-020147-0).

Other readings as assigned and posted on A2L

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:

Method of Teaching:

Typically, each class/tutorial will involve a mixture of lecture, and discussion concerning the scheduled topic. As the syllabus indicates, guest speakers are an important component of this course, exposing students to professionals sharing real-world experiences and advice. Some sessions will include videos and/or brief video clips illustrating applied principles of public relations. Assigned readings, lectures, guest speaker remarks and videos are all testable.


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

(September 19, 2019)

Tutorial Participation



Assignment 2: Spin Cycles


Ongoing (see assignment sheet)

Assignment 3: Media/Information Kit


Week 12 in Tutorial

(November 28, 2019)

Mid Term Examination


Week 7 (October 24, 2019)

Final Examination


December Exam Period


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Assignments:  – All assignments (1, 2 & 3) will be accepted without penalty within 5 days (“the grace period”) from the official due date.  For those students who submit the assignment on the assigned “due date” you will receive written feedback on your assignment from the instructional team. For those that submit their assignments during the “grace period”, the instructional team will only post your grade and will not provide written feedback on your submission. After the passing of the five-day grace period, late assignments will be given a grade of zero (0%). Please note, it is not recommended that you use an MSAF for one of these assignments given that the MSAF is for a maximum period of three days, and can only be used for the assignment’s due date, so even if you submit an MSAF, you will not get additional time beyond the five-day grace period.

Assignment 1 (News Release) due date: September 19, 2019 – Grace Period Ends, September 24, 2019 at 7pm

Assignment 2 (Spin Cycle) due date:

  • Episode 1 – September 26, 2019 – Grace Period Ends October 1, 2019 at 7pm
  • Episode 2 – October 3, 2019 – Grace Period Ends October 8, 2019 at 7pm
  • Episode 3 – October 10, 2019 – Grace period Ends October 15, 2019 at 7pm
  • Episode 4 – October 31, 2019 – Grace period Ends November 4, 2019 at 7pm
  • Episode 5 – November 14, 2019 – Grace period Ends November 19, 2019 at 7pm
  • Episode 6 – November 21, 2019 – Grace period Ends November 26, 2019 at 7pm

Assignment 3 (Information/Media Kit) deadline: November 28, 2019 – Grace Period Ends, December 3, 2019 at 7pm.

All assignments are due at the start of your tutorial. Hard copies must be given to your TA and posted on A2L no later than the beginning of your tutorial. Assignments submitted during the Grace Period need only be submitted to A2L.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Integrity

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. It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty.

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. 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:

  • plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  • improper collaboration in group work.
  • copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Authenticity / Plagiarism Detection

Some courses may use a web-based service ( to reveal authenticity and ownership of student submitted work. For courses using such software, students will be expected to submit their work electronically either directly to or via Avenue to Learn (A2L) plagiarism detection (a service supported by so it can be checked for academic dishonesty.

Students who do not wish to submit their work through A2L and/or must still submit an electronic and/or hardcopy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to or A2L. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, other software, etc.). To see the Policy, please go to

Courses with an On-Line Element

Some courses use on-line elements (e.g. e-mail, Avenue to Learn (A2L), LearnLink, web pages, capa, Moodle, ThinkingCap, etc.). Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of a course using these elements, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail 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 a course that uses on-line elements will be deemed consent to this disclosure. If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Online Proctoring

Some courses may use online proctoring software for tests and exams. This software may require students to turn on their video camera, present identification, monitor and record their computer activities, and/or lockdown their browser during tests or exams. This software may be required to be installed before the exam begins.

Conduct Expectations

As a McMaster student, you have the right to experience, and the responsibility to demonstrate, respectful and dignified interactions within all of our living, learning and working communities. These expectations are described in the Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities (the "Code"). All students share the responsibility of maintaining a positive environment for the academic and personal growth of all McMaster community members, whether in person or online.

It is essential that students be mindful of their interactions online, as the Code remains in effect in virtual learning environments. The Code applies to any interactions that adversely affect, disrupt, or interfere with reasonable participation in University activities. Student disruptions or behaviours that interfere with university functions on online platforms (e.g. use of Avenue 2 Learn, WebEx or Zoom for delivery), will be taken very seriously and will be investigated. Outcomes may include restriction or removal of the involved students' access to these platforms.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. For further information, consult McMaster University’s Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities policy.

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.

Request for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work
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".

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances (RISO)

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religious, indigenous or spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the RISO policy. Students should submit their request to their Faculty Office normally within 10 working days of the beginning of term in which they anticipate a need for accommodation or to the Registrar's Office prior to their examinations. Students should also contact their instructors as soon as possible to make alternative arrangements for classes, assignments, and tests.

Copyright and Recording

Students are advised that lectures, demonstrations, performances, and any other course material provided by an instructor include copyright protected works. The Copyright Act and copyright law protect every original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including lectures by University instructors.

The recording of lectures, tutorials, or other methods of instruction may occur during a course. Recording may be done by either the instructor for the purpose of authorized distribution, or by a student for the purpose of personal study. Students should be aware that their voice and/or image may be recorded by others during the class. Please speak with the instructor if this is a concern for you.

Extreme Circumstances

The University reserves the right to change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances (e.g., severe weather, labour disruptions, etc.). Changes will be communicated through regular McMaster communication channels, such as McMaster Daily News, A2L and/or McMaster email.

Topics and Readings:

Course Schedule







September 5

Introduction to the course

Discuss: The purpose of the class

Discuss: The syllabus and the assignments


No Tutorials This Week


September 12

Read: Chapters 1 & 2 (Kelleher)

Read: CPRS Mission & Values and Code of Professional Standards

Tutorials Start


September 19


Read: Chapter 3

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


September 26


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 3

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 10

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 17

FALL BREAK – no class


October 24

Mid-Term Exam (Chapters 1-8)

Time: 7:00-9:00pm

Location: In-class



October 31

Read: Chapter 9

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

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



November 7

Read: Chapter 10

Read: Eight steps to prepare for that "Tweet"



November 14

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 21

Read: Chapter 13

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

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



November 28

Read: Chapter 14

Exam Review

Due:   Assignment #3 in Tutorial



As scheduled by the University



Other Course Information:

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 on September 12, 2019. 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 24, 2019). 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.


Announcements: The instructor reserves the right to make adjustments in the 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 the same 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.

Assignment Submission/Turn It In: All papers/assignments must be typed, dated and titled in 12-point font, stapled, and include page numbers. Headings must include your name and student number. Please use APA citation style for in-text citation and bibliography. All assignments are due on the day identified in this course outline. The assignments must be submitted to A2L, in the appropriate assignment dropbox. ONLY SUBMIT WORD (.doc) OR PDF (.pdf) FILES to the A2L dropbox. Each submission must also use the following naming protocol: