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Applied communication research should be used by communication professors, communication departments, and colleges as an important tool for strengthening their relationships with their communities, students, and communication practitioners. Professors spend a great deal of time doing research and teaching people about research. Public misunderstanding of the research responsibilities of faculty members constitutes a serious public relations problem for universities, for the profession as a whole, and for communication scholars in particular. Public relations scholars need to begin cultivating mutually advantageous relationships with key publics. The academic discipline of communication should do more than accurately describe professional practice. It should also reflect on and critique existing communication practices, in order to improve practice. University, faculty, and students are a valuable yet often underused resource when it comes to aiding community problem solving and innovation. In particular, applied research might help local institutions become more effective and more responsive to their stakeholders. Engaging students in applied research may serve as one of the best tools for recruiting students to go on to graduate school and pursue academic careers. It also might help make better connections with communication professionals in public relations, journalism, and advertising. Turning toward more applied research holds the promise of invigorating teaching and research in public relations. (Contains 6 references.) (CR)

Descriptors: Communication Research, Higher Education, Professional Development, Public Relations, School Community Relationship, Student Motivation, Student Recruitment, Student School Relationship, Teacher Education, Teacher Motivation

Autor: Leichty, Greg


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