Pathfinder Award

In recognition of an original program of scholarly research that has made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge and practice of public relations

Given in recognition of an original program of scholarly research that has made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge and practice of public relations. Special consideration will be given to an applicant’s lifetime research achievements. The selection committee is particularly interested in scholarly contributions resulting in the publication of major articles, chapters and/or books that integrates this program of research or articulates its importance to public relations research and practice. The award will be made annually, but only if the judges identify a suitable nomination.

Recipient will receive a $2,000 cash grant.

Past Winners

[2013] Dr. W. Timothy Coombs


Dr. W. Timothy Coombs
Nicholson School of Communication, University of Central Florida
PDF: How Theory Informs Practice: Situational Crisis Communication Theory

coombsDr. W. Timothy Coombs, winner of the 2013 IPR Pathfinder Award, is a professor in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida.

His crisis books include the award winning Ongoing Crisis Communication, Code Red in the Boardroom, and the co-edited The Handbook of Crisis Communication with Sherry Holladay. His other works include two award winning books with Sherry Holladay, Public Relations Strategy and Application: Managing Influence and It’s Not Just PR along with Managing Corporate Social Responsibility:  A Communication Approach (also co-authored with Sherry Holladay).

Dr. Coombs has worked with consulting firms in the U.S. and Europe on ways to improve crisis communication efforts for their clients. He has given presentations to various corporations, government agencies, and profession groups about crisis management in Europe, the U.S., and Asia.

His articles have appeared in a variety of journals including in the Journal of Public Relations Research, Public Relations Review, Journal of Public Affairs, Management Communication Quarterly, Journal of Business Communication, Journal of Communication Management International Journal of Strategic Communication., Journal of Promotion Management, Corporate Communication, and Corporate Reputation Review.

[2012] Dr. Bruce K. Berger


Dr. Bruce K. Berger
Reese Phifer Professor of Advertising & Public Relations in the College of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Alabama

bruceberger_55198_55200Bruce K. Berger, Ph.D., winner of the 2012 Pathfinder Award, is Reese Phifer Professor of Advertising & Public Relations in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama (UA). Previously he was chair of the department and director of the MA Program. He teaches public relations management and campaign courses at the undergraduate level, and seminars in persuasion, communication management and international public relations at the graduate level.

Berger earned his Ph.D. in Communication in 1999 at the University of Kentucky. He has received many teaching awards, including the national Educator of the Year Award (2006) from the Public Relations Society of America and the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award (2010) from UA’s National Alumni Association. He also was named Outstanding Student Advisor at UA (2010) for his work with Literacy is the Edge, a student advocacy group.

View Dr. Berger’s Pathfinder presentation at the 2012 IPR Trustees Research Symposium.

Researching Power, Influence and Effective Employee Communication
Dr. Bruce Berger, University of Alabama

Dr. Bruce Berger from The University of Alabama describes his research on power, influence and effective employee communication and how they affect the industry of public relations.

The Organizational Communication Research Center
Dr. Bruce Berger, University of Alabama

Dr. Bruce Berger from The University of Alabama demonstrates how The Organizational Communication Research Center provides practitioners with articles on best practices and measure in employee communication. To learn more visit the center here:

Leaders, Supervisors and Culture
Dr. Bruce Berger, University of Alabama

Dr. Bruce Berger from The University of Alabama describes how leaders, supervisors and culture affect employee communication during his presentation on The Organizational Communication Research Center.

[2011] Dr. Cees van Riel


Dr. Cees van Riel
Professor, Corporate Communication, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University; Reputation Institute
PDF: The Alignment Factor: Academic Foundations & Practical Applications

Cees van RielProf.dr. Cees B.M. van Riel, a research pioneer in corporate reputation and strategic alignment, received the 2011 Pathfinder Award, the highest academic honor bestowed by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR). Van Riel is professor of corporate communication at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), and vice chairman and co-founder of Reputation Institute.

Cees van Riel has published a large number of articles (Academy of Management Journal, Long Range Planning, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Marketing, Management Communication Quarterly, Corporate Reputation Review, etc.) and ten books. His best known books are Principles of Corporate Communication (1996), Fame & Fortune (2004) and Essentials of Corporate Communication (2006).  His newest book, The Alignment Factor: Leveraging Total Stakeholder Support, will be published in four different languages at launch in early 2012.

“I see this award as an acknowledgment of the growing relevance of my research with RSM and RI colleagues, resulting in measurement instruments applied at a global scale in the area of reputation and alignment,” said van Riel.

Van Riel received his bachelor’s degrees in economic history and political science, and a master’s degree in mass communication from Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.  He earned his PhD in business administration at Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Just prior to receiving the 2011 Pathfinder Award, the highest academic honor bestowed by the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), Prof. dr. Cees B.M. van Riel presented research-based learnings on corporate reputation, communications and strategic alignment to the IPR Board of Trustees titled, “The Alignment Factor: Academic Foundations & Practical Applications”.

[2010] Dr. Maureen Taylor


Dr. Maureen Taylor
The University of Oklahoma

The 2010 Pathfinder Award winner, Dr. Maureen Taylor, is Professor and Gaylord Family Chair of Strategic Communications at The University of Oklahoma. Dr. Taylor’s research interest is in international public relations, nation building and civil society campaigns and new communication technologies. She has conducted research and consulted for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Department of State, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Professor Taylor has experience training government, and civil society organizations in formulating, achieving and measuring strategic objectives, especially in the areas of media and communications. She has evaluated political transition grants to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and independent media for USAID in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. Dr. Taylor also has worked as a media specialist on projects in Armenia, Kosovo, Jordan, and Serbia. Most recently, she has worked with the governing bodies in Southern Sudan and Aqaba, Jordan to help to improve communication with their respective publics.

Dr. Taylor is a graduate of Westfield State College. She earned her Master of Arts and her Doctor of Philosophy from Purdue University.

Dr. Maureen Taylor receives Pathfinder Award

Bob Grupp, Institute President and CEO, presents Dr. Maureen Taylor, University of Oklahoma, with the 2010 Pathfinder Award.

[2009] Dr. Stephen A. Greyser


Dr. Stephen A. Greyser
Harvard Business School

The 2009 Pathfinder Award winner, Stephen A. Greyser is the Richard P. Chapman Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School, where he specializes in brand marketing, advertising, corporate communication, sports management, and nonprofit management. A graduate of Harvard College, he received his MBA and DBA degrees from Harvard University where he was the Chirurg Advertising Fellow. Dr. Greyser has held an international reputation in marketing and communication research and teaching for more than half a century. His longtime association with the Harvard Business Review included five years as an editor and research director, and subsequently as Editorial Board Secretary and as Board Chairman.

Professor Greyser is known to many as the “Father of Modern Sports Marketing.” Outside the classroom he has provided marketing and public relations counsel to the NCAA, the NBA, the NHL, the NFL, the Olympic movement, Major League Baseball and more, including his beloved Red Sox.

Professor Greyser conceived and developed the Harvard Business School course in Corporate Communications, which in turn has led to more than 40 new case studies and articles on business-media relations, crisis/issues management, corporate identity and images, investor relations, changing roles for public relations/public affairs, sponsorship, and corporate reputation.  Professor Greyser also has supported the Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications conducted in an alliance between the Institute for Public Relations and the Arthur W. Page Society

To his students at Harvard Business School and specifically in his book,  Revealing the Corporation,  co-authored with John Balmer, Stephen Greyser logically and passionately believes that managing and communicating about corporate brands, building corporate identity, and protecting corporate reputation are vital issues for the boardrooms of entities global and local, large and small, corporate and non-profit.

[2008] Dr. Lynne Sallot


Dr. Lynne Sallot
University of Georgia

Dr. Lynne Sallot is professor of public relations at the University of Georgia. Her central research theme, “Connecting Theory with Research, Teaching, and Practice,” focuses on theory development and application.

In 2007, Sallot received PRSA’s Outstanding Educator Award, and in 2008 she was honored with the University of Georgia’s highest teaching award, the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship.

[2007] Dr. Kirk Hallahahn


Dr. Kirk Hallahahn
Colorado State University

Dr. Kirk Hallahahn
Dr. Kirk Hallahahn, professor at the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication at Colorado State University, is the 2007 Pathfinder Award winner. Hallahan’s speciality in teaching lies in the areas of public relations and publicity, advertising and strategic uses of communication technology in organizations. Hallahan has 19 years of experience in the marketing public relations and public affairs and has worked with a national public relations agency, two banks and a statewide trade association in California.

Hallahan is also co-editor of the International Journal of Strategic Communication.

Hallahan earned his BA. from UCLA and both his MA and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

[2006] Paul Argenti


Prof. Paul Argenti
Tuck Business School at Dartmouth

Paul Argenti
Paul Argenti, Professor of Corporate Communication at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, has taught the subject of management and corporate communication since 1977. He has held faculty appointments at both the Harvard Business School and the Columbia Business School. He has also been a visiting professor at the International University of Japan, Helsinki School of Economics, Singapore Management University and Erasmus University.

Argenti is the associate editor of the Journal of Business Communication and the Corporate Reputation Review. He wrote Corporate Communication, The Fast Forward MBA Pocket Reference and co-authored The Power of Corporate Communication as well as authoring more than 75 case studies for academic and managerial journals.

Argenti is a board member to the Arthur W. Page Society and the Corporate Communications Institute.

Argenti earned his BA from Columbia University, his MA from Brandeis University and his MBA from Columbia University.

[2005] Dr. Doug Newsom + Dr. Judy VanSlyke Turk


Dr. Doug Newsom, Texas Christian University
Dr. Judy VanSlyke Turk, Virginia Commonwealth University

The 2005 winners of the Pathfinder Award for outstanding contributions to scholarly research and public relations professional knowledge are: Dr. Doug Newsom and Dr. Judy VanSlyke Turk.

Dr. VanSlyke Turk, director at the School of Mass Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Dr. Newsom, professor in the College of Communication at Texas Christian University, are co-authors of This Is PR: The Realities of Public Relations, one of the world’s most widely used public relations textbooks. Now in its eighth edition, the work has been published in English, Russian, Chinese and Romanian. It was the first public relations textbook to extensively discuss nonprofit and international public relations.

In March 2002, VanSlyke Turk founded the College of Communication and Media Sciences at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, holding the dean position for more than two years. She was named Outstanding Public Relations Educator in 1992 by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), is past chair of PRSA’s College of Fellows, a member of the steering committee of the Commission on Public Relations Education and the advisory board of the International Public Relations Research Conference.

In 1982, Newsom was the first woman to receive PRSA’s Educator of the Year Award, and she served as chair of the PRSA College of Fellows. She is co-author of three textbooks, co-editor of a woman’s studies book and the author of 12 book chapters. Twice a Fulbright lecturer in India and Singapore, Newsom has also conducted workshops in South Africa, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Vanuatu and India. She is also a member of the advisory board of the International Public Relations Research Conference.

[2004] Dr. Krishnamurthy Sriramesh


Dr. Krishnamurthy Sriramesh
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
“Global Perspectives of Public Relations Practice, Research and Education”

[2003] Dr. Brad L. Rawlins


Dr. Brad L. Rawlins
Brigham Young University

[2002] Dr. Derina Holtzhausen


Dr. Derina Holtzhausen
University of South Florida, Tampa
“Postmodern Public Relations”

[2001] Dr. Karen S. Miller


Dr. Karen S. Miller
University of Georgia
“Public Relations in U.S. History”

[2000] Dr. Linda Childers Hon


Dr. Linda Childers Hon
University of Florida
“Measuring Effectiveness in Public Relations”

[1999] Dr. Don W. Stacks


Dr. Don W. Stacks
University of Miami
“Perceptions of Public Relations Education”

[1998] Dr. Elizabeth L. Toth


Dr. Elizabeth L. Toth
Syracuse University
“Gender Issues and Public Relations: How the Increasing Number of Women Influence the Public Relations Field”

[1997] Dr. Dean Kruckeberg


Dr. Dean Kruckeberg
University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls)
Topics Including Professionalism and Ethical PR Behavior in Today’s Technology Driven Society

[1996] Dr. Glen T. Cameron


Dr. Glen T. Cameron
University of Georgia
Topics Including Teaching PR Management, Publicity VS Advertising and Implications of Electronic Newspapers for PR Teaching, Practice and Research

[1995] Dr. Kathleen S. Kelly


Dr. Kathleen S. Kelly
University of Southwestern Louisiana (Lafayette)
“Fund Raising: One of Public Relations’ Specializations”

[1994] Dr. Charles Salmon


Dr. Charles Salmon
Michigan State University

[1993] Dr. J. David Pincus


Dr. J. David Pincus
California State University (Fullerton)
Topics Including Management Communication and CEO’s Changing Communication Role and its Relationship to Corporate Leadership

[1992] Dr. Robert Heath


Dr. Robert Heath
University of Houston

[1991] Dr. Donald K. Wright


Dr. Donald K. Wright
University of South Alabama

[1990] Dr. David M. Dozier


Dr. David M. Dozier
San Diego State University

[1989] Dr. Larissa A. Grunig


Dr. Larissa A. Grunig
University of Maryland

[1998] Dr. Marilyn Kern-Foxworth


Dr. Marilyn Kern-Foxworth
Texas A&M University

[1987] Dr. Norman Nager


Dr. Norman Nager
California State University – Fullerton.

[1986] Dr. Glen M. Broom


Dr. Glen M. Broom
San Diego State University

[1985] Dr. Hugh M. Culbertson


Dr. Hugh M. Culbertson
Ohio University

[1984] Dr. James E. Grunig


Dr. James E. Grunig
University of Maryland