Dr. Karla K. Gower

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Karla K. Gower, Ph.D., is the Behringer Distinguished Professor in the Advertising and Public Relations Department of the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama. She has served as director of The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations since 2008.

Karla practiced law in Canada for eight years before moving to Arizona in 1992 to attend Arizona State. She worked in public relations at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona during the Clinton administration’s attempts at health care reform, in internal communications and media relations at GateWay Community College and was part of a three-member team of writers in the Office of University Development at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Karla is the author of PR and the Press: The Troubled Embrace (2007), Legal and Ethical Considerations for Public Relations, 2nd ed. (2008), and Liberty and Authority in Free Expression Law: The United States and Canada (2002). She is also co-author with Richard Lentz of The Opinions of Mankind: Racial Issues, Press and Propaganda in the Cold War (2010). She has published articles in such academic journals as Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Communication Law & Policy, Journal of Communication Management, and Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

Karla holds a doctorate in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in mass communication from Arizona State University, and law and bachelor degrees from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Our Mission

The Plank Center’s mission is to help develop and recognize outstanding diverse public relations leaders, role models and mentors to advance ethical public relations in an evolving, global society. The Center works to achieve its mission by:

Advancing knowledge of leadership values and skills in the profession;

Supporting research, teaching, service, and professional educational efforts that help develop diverse, responsible and trustworthy leaders;

Bridging the interests and vision of the practice and education; and

Collaborating with other groups and associations to nurture the ethical and effective practice of public relations.