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Betsy Plank Award

Betsy Plank Graduate Research Competition and PRSA Top Faculty Paper Awards recognize educators, public relations graduate students and public relations professionals for written work that either tests, refines or expands public relations practice, research or theory; or critically reviews issues relevant to public relations theory or research.



Public Relations Society of America’s Educators Academy invites public relations educators, graduate students, and professionals to submit competitive research papers, teaching abstracts, and panel session proposals for presentation during “Super Saturday” of the 2019 PRSA International Conference in San Diego, California on Oct. 19, 2019.

All submissions are due by midnight Eastern Time on Sunday, June 2, 2019. Please submit one copy of each entry as a Word document to Marlene Neill, 2019 Educators Academy Research Chair, via email (PRSAEducators@gmail.com). You will receive a submission confirmation receipt via email.

Those who submit entries will be notified of the reviewers’ decision by no later than July 10, 2019. Authors of accepted submissions must agree to present their work in San Diego on October 19, 2019.

NOTE: To attend, you must register and pay a fee of either $85 for non-speakers or $60 for speakers. This fee is for Super Saturday only and does not cover registration for the full PRSA or PRSSA International Conference.

Call for Research Papers

Research papers should test, refine or expand public relations practice, research, or theory; or critically review issues relevant to public relations theory or research. Papers employing all methods of inquiry are invited. At least one author must be a member of the PRSA Educators Academy.

Each presenter will give a 12 to 15-minute presentation of his or her research, followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Following the conference, authors may have their papers included in non-copyrighted conference proceedings, which will be available on the Educators Academy website.

Award Competitions

All non-student entries will automatically be considered for the $500 PRSA Top Research Paper Award. Collaboration is permitted.* Only one author is required to present the study in Austin. Graduate student submissions will automatically be considered for the Betsy Plank Graduate $1,000 Research Competition Award. Collaboration is permitted but limited to graduate students.* Only one author is required to present the study in Austin. Please identify as “student(s)” on the cover page. *Please note, for co-authored papers, the award is given to the first author.

Instructions for Submitting Research Papers

  • Research papers must not exceed 25 double-spaced pages in 12-point font (including references and tables). They should include appropriate literature reviews, methodology descriptions, findings, and discussions. Any paper longer than 25-pages will be disqualified and not assigned for review.
  • Research papers may not be under review simultaneously with any other conference; and/or any potential publication, including refereed journals, book chapters, etc.
  • When submitting, the author(s) must provide two documents: 1. A separate title page with the paper’s title, author(s), affiliation(s), title(s), phone number(s), and email address(es). All authors and co-authors must be listed. 2. A blinded paper. The paper and paper properties must not reveal the authors’ names or affiliations for the peer review. Author-identifying information on any pages will be grounds for immediate disqualification.
  • Please indicate, in the subject of your email, that you are submitting a research paper.
Teaching Abstracts Poster Session Call

This poster session will showcase best practices in education and/or provide examples of successful educational approaches, projects, and programs. Abstracts should refine, test, or present best practices or research related to public relations pedagogy. Authors are limited to only two abstract submissions (only one will be accepted).

Instructions for Submitting Teaching Abstracts 

  • In a single document, please submit (1) a title page with author name(s), affiliation, and email address; (2) a one-page description of teaching idea include rationale for assignment, student learning goals, connection to PR Theory or practice, and evidence of student learning outcomes or assessment of student learning; and (3) assignment details and any necessary instructions or examples. Total submission should not exceed five pages. 
  • Submissions will be non-blind peer reviewed. All accepted submissions will be included in non-copyrighted conference proceedings, which will be available on the Educators Academy website.
  • Further instructions for the poster sessions will be provided, following acceptance notification.

Panel Proposal Call

Panel session proposals should address topics that benefit educators or pedagogy. Past panels have focused on such topics as integrating ethics into the curriculum, helping students obtain internships, incorporating mobile apps in the classroom, and developing online portfolios.

Instructions for Submitting Panel Session Proposals 

  • Proposals should include a title, the names of up to three panelists with their affiliations, the moderator’s name and affiliation, and a brief description of the panel (100 to 150 words).
  • The name and contact information of the panel organizer should be clearly identified.
  • Submissions will be non-blind peer reviewed.
Important Dates

Acceptance notification Oct. 19, 2019: “Super Saturday” in San Diego, California.

For additional information or inquiries regarding submissions, please contact Marlene Neill via email (Marlene_Neill@baylor.edu) or phone (254-710-6322) or Kathie Fleck (k-fleck@onu.edu).