Don W. Stacks, Ph.D., is Professor Public Relations in the School of Communication at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL. He served as program director from 1995 to 2009. As director he took the program into the top 25 undergraduate and top 15 graduate public relations programs in the United States with a focus on strategic communication and research. He served as Associate Dean for Research from 2009 to 2011.
Dr. Stacks received his B.A. (’71) from Northern Michigan University, M.A. (‘75) from the Auburn University, and Ph.D. (’78) from the University of Florida. Prior to receiving his M.A., he spent three years in the U.S. Army, stationed in Alexandria, VA, and Washington, DC.
His first academic posting was at the University of South Alabama in 1978. Stacks then moved to the University of Alabama in 1985, and his present position at the University of Miami in 1990. Stacks spent one term and the University of Georgia during the 1984-85 academic year and another at the University of Alabama at Birmingham during the 1989-1990 academic year.
He has written more than 150 scholarly articles and papers. His awards include the Ralph Nichols Award for research in Listening (1984); the Institute for Public Relations Research and Education awarded Stacks its 1999 “Pathfinder Award.” He was selected as the recipient of the University of Miami’s “Provost’s Award for Outstanding Research and Theory” in 1999. The Public Relations Society of America named him Outstanding Educator in 2003 and the recipient of the Jackson Jackson & Wagner Behavioral Science Prize in 2005. In 1992 he was named “Outstanding Professor” by University of Miami students. In 2007 he was elected as an Eastern Communication Association “Distinguished Research Fellow” and “Distinguished Teaching Fellow” in 2008. Dr. Stacks was recently elected to the first class of the Institute for Public Relations’ Research Fellows. He was selected as a “Senior Fellow” in 2010 of the Society for New Communications Research. He was awarded the National Communication Association’s 2011 PRIDE award (his second) for his co-authored with David Michaelson text, A Practitioner’s Guide to Public Relations Research, Measurement and Evaluation, the top textbook for that year. He was recently awarded the PR.PRO Award for Excellence for his work in supporting and advancing public relations practice in Southeast Europe. Most recently, Dr. Stacks was inducted into the PR News’ Measurement Hall of Fame.
Dr. Stacks has been an active communication consultant for over 30 years. His areas of expertise include organizational systems assessment, sociological/psychological organizational analysis, media relations, internal organizational communications, leadership, as well as serving as a trained listening specialist. His clients include a variety of organizations, to include School Employees Trust, Allstate Insurance, Columbia Energy Group, Energy Automation Services, Broward Public Schools, American Electric Power, and the University of Miami.
Dr. Stacks has authored or coauthored seven books on communication topics, to include the award winning Primer of Public Relations Research, the National Communication Association’s PRIDE award and was named the Measurement Standard’s “measurement tool” for 2003. He edited the 2002 and 2007 Dictionary of Public Relations Research and Measurement.
Dr. Stacks served as Vice President for Research for Market Analysis Research of Mobile, Alabama, from 1979 to 1980. MAR’s clients included First Alabama Bank, for which MAR conducted the initial research on customer perceptions of the use of ATM machines, marketing surveys for a variety of clients in south Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi, and conducted internal corporate research for Federated Stores. MAR employed a variety of communication research methods and was one of the first research firms to include sociometric analysis in its toolbox.
He is a member of The Arthur W. Page Society, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the International Listening Association, International Public Relations Association, and the National Communication Association. He serves on the editorial boards of most premier communication and public relations journals and directs the annual International Public Relations Research Conference, the only research conference focusing purely on public relations research. Stacks serves as trustee for the Institute for Public Relations, and is on the Boards of the International Public Relations Association, the Commission on Public Relations Measurement and Evaluation, and served for 10 years on the Commission on Public Relations Education’s board.