Awards Program For Ethics Advocacy by PRSSA Chapters

This award will not be offered this year.

Apply for the Ethics Advocacy Award and your Chapter could be recognized for its commitment to the ethical practice of public relations. This award is sponsored by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.


First Place Chapter $1,000 / Faculty Adviser $250
Second Place Chapter $750 / Faculty Adviser $150
Third Place Chapter $500 / Faculty Adviser $100


All PRSSA Chapters are welcome to apply.


To apply for this award all you need to do is plan and conduct Chapter activities that represent the integrity of public relations and submit the following materials:

  • A completed application form (Word or PDF).
  • A detailed report of the Chapter’s programs and activities during that school year.
  • A no more than 250 word statement regarding the Value of Ethics Advocacy for PRSSA Chapters and Members.
  • Letter of comments from Advisers, faculty or community members which are optional.

Make sure all materials are error free and thoroughly proofread. All application materials must be received at PRSSA Headquarters (not just postmarked) by September 12, 2011. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

PRSSA — Ethics Advocacy Awards
120 Wall Street, 21st Fl., New York, NY 10005-4024


When PRSA was established, its founders made ethical performance a requisite for current and future members. Today, each member must pledge to uphold the PRSA Code of Ethics in professional practice. PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) is responsible for giving priority to professional ethics throughout the organization.

PRSSA is also committed to professional ethics. Faculty Advisers and other educators emphasize that subject in classrooms, often citing case histories on ethical problems in the practice. BEPS also encourages both PRSA and PRSSA Chapters to observe “Ethics Month” each September in their programming.

Early in this decade, unethical practice by some organizations — both for profit and not-for-profit — captured widespread attention by media, share owners and supporters, employees, customers and the public-at-large. Several executives were convicted for illegal, unethical behaviors. Such actions have escalated ongoing public concern about ethics in all areas of society — business, politics, the community and in personal life.

Those concerns also reached to students — particularly those in secondary and higher education. In pursuing their studies for future careers, many were learning about professional ethics and codes. However, in their here and now behavior, there has been increasing evidence of cheating and plagiarism — often abetted by extensive resources available via computer. Unfortunately — and despite academic Honor Codes — there also appears to be a growing acceptance of such practices, even by students whose own personal standards are high. Both educators and future employers are becoming increasingly concerned.

For those reasons, in 2005 the prestigious Bateman Competition for PRSSA Chapters focused on ethics. It challenged PRSSA Chapters and members to become “Advocates for Ethical Behavior” on their campuses — supporting their schools’ Honor Codes and enforcement, researching peer attitudes toward ethical and unethical behavior, and demonstrating their own commitment to ethics during their academic years and beyond.

Sixty-two Chapters participated in that 2005 competition. Many were so encouraged by what they had accomplished that they expressed a desire to continue their advocacy.

In response to that challenge, the Plank Center, established by University of Alabama Trustees, volunteered to sponsor the Annual Ethics Advocacy Awards for PRSSA Chapters.

Previous Winners


  • First Place: California State University Fullerton, Christa Keizer and Dr. Dean Kazoleas, APR


  • First Place: University of Nebraska at Omaha,  Karen Weber
  • Second Place: University of Northern Iowa, Gayle Pohl
  • Third Place: California State University, Sacramento, Timothy Howard and Belmont University, Bonnie Riechert, APR


  • First Place: Brittany Vella, AJF-Rowan University, M. Larry Litwin, APR, Fellow PRSA, AJF-Rowan University
  • Second Place: Lisa Lifton, California State University, Fullerton, Dean Kazoleas, Ph.D. APR, California State University, Fullerton 
  • Third Place: Lauren Opelt, University of South Florida Tampa, Robert Batchelor, University of South Florida Tampa


  • First Place: California State University, Fullerton, Dr. Dean Kazoleas, APR
  • Second Place: Illinois State University, Dr. Tomasz Fediuk
  • Third Place: Belmont University, Dr. Bonnie Reichert, APR, Fellow PRSA; Southeast Missouri State University, Dr. Susan Gonders, APR, Fellow PRSA.