Resource Guides

The Plank Center’s resource guides provide a framework and support leadership and research in public relations. From umbrella beginners tips to more niche, tailored topics, The Plank Center offers a series of tactical, skill-based guides available for broad educational use.

Making the Next Big Move (PDF)

No matter where you are in life, a career “move” in the quickly evolving communications industry can feel intimidating. Whether you’re accepting a new job, physically moving to a different city, getting an advanced degree or making another bold change, most moves require a degree of risk-taking – which if we’re honest, can be uncomfortable. however, these moves don’t have to be overwhelming – when strategic and well thought out. 

If you’re a communications practitioner or educator considering making a big move now or mapping out your next five-year plan, this guide is for you. It will help you assess why you want to make a transition, determine the best timing for one and explore different types of moves. Get ready, buckle up and put yourself in the driver’s seat of your career. 


Beyond the Tactics: How to Effectively Use Strategic Thinking to Drive Decision Making (PDF)

As mid-level public relations professionals gain roles with greater depth and responsibility, it becomes increasingly important for them to look around corners and assess the bigger picture to make critical decisions. Moving from tactical to strategic thinking allows professionals to position their clients and organizations ahead of the curve, producing impactful business results. This resource guide explains why strategic thinking matters, and how to sharpen your strategic mindset.

Mentorship Guide (PDF)

Backed by collegiate white papers, top industry professionals and researchers, The Plank Center’s Mentorship Guide offers a living series of tips and tricks on how to get the most out of a mentorship relationship. This guide was made to supplement mentorship programs, lesson plans, and/or professional relationships. With a quick, complimentary download, professional groups and individuals alike will receive relevant and supported counsel.

Mastering Leadership at the Middle Levels (PDF)

The Plank Center’s Emerging Leaders have chosen an industry topic very relevant to their day-to-day careers: the responsibilities and roles of mid-level managers in public relations. Mid-level public relations and communication professionals have advanced through the first year or two of their careers and are now responsible for balancing personal work, overseeing more junior colleagues (often for the first time) and providing strategic counsel to business partners. This resource guide serves as a set of best practices for managers who are 5-10 years into their career.

Educate & Elevate: An Educator’s Guide to Empower Others to Change the World (PDF)

From the classroom to the boardroom, leaders play crucial roles in all groups and at all organizational levels, and The Plank Center is pleased to offer you free resources to develop and strengthen your and your students’ leadership skills. This toolkit is filled with best practices in leadership, mentorship, and diversity and inclusion; lessons from leaders; classroom activities; and much more.

Lead with Purpose (PDF)

College is an integral time for public relations students to develop the leadership skills needed in the profession. The Student Leadership Toolkit is a comprehensive guide designed to provide students with vital resources, which will help to enhance students’ education and further develop them as emerging leaders. This toolkit contains lessons from PR professionals, research in leadership and mentorship, best practices, scholarship opportunities and additional resources for professional development.

On-Camera Interview Guidelines (PDF)

Need some advice for your upcoming on-camera interview? The pros at Perfect Cut Productions provided this one-pager complete with what to wear, what to avoid, best practices and additional tips to have you camera ready.

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.