Center Board Member Wins Institute’s Pathfinder Award

Dr. Bruce Berger, the Reese Phifer Professor of Advertising and Public Relations in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama and a member of The Plank Center’s board of advisors, received the Institute for Public Relations’ Pathfinder Award for career contributions to scholarly public relations research.

The award recognizes research that contributes significantly to the field of public relations. Factors in the selection committee’s decision include scholarly contributions resulting in the publication of major articles, chapters and/or books that integrates a program of research or articulates its importance to public relations research and practice.

“I know many of the previous recipients of this award, so I am happy and humbled,” Berger said. “I thank the APR Department and the College of Communication & Information Sciences for their ongoing support of my research and that of others here. It’s a great culture in which to work.”

Before his time at UA, Berger served as vice president of corporate affairs for Whirlpool Corp. and president of the Whirlpool Foundation. He is founding director of The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and an IPR trustee. His research encompasses public relations leadership, employee communications and public policy influence, and he is currently leading a large international study of communication management.

“The Pathfinder Award is a huge honor, and, in Dr. Berger’s case, it is a well-deserved honor,” said Dr. Joseph Phelps, chairman of the department of advertising and public relations. “His research garners acclaim both in the academy and in the profession and that is an accomplishment that very few can rightfully claim.”

The award was presented Nov. 8 at the Institute for Public Relations Annual Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner, held at the Yale Club in New York.

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.