Yesterday Dr. Terence Flynn, APR, a CPRS board member shared an exciting announcement with his friends: effective April 27, 2007, the Master’s of Communication Management Degree Program, offered by the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) has received the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies’ approval to begin registering students.
Slightly more than two years ago, as a member of CPRS, I was invited to participate in a front-end focus group, when Terry was first conceptualizing and designing the “Canadian” version of this long-standing and well-respected degree offered by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Our group emphasized that the degree could fill a need, particularly if it incorporated case studies from Canadian organizations, as well as recognized our own public relations and communication theorists and practitioners, either as resources or as professors and/or guest lecturers.
I know that I bonded with Terry when he revealed that his “bible” for developing this master’s program was the book by McGill University (Montreal) professor, internationally renowned academic and frequent speaker, Dr. Henry Mintzberg, Managers not MBAs: a hard look at the soft practice of managing and management development. It is one of my all-time favourite business books and a resource to which I’ve referred frequently. “Mintzberg describes a very different approach to management education, which encourages practicing mangers to learn from their own experience.”
Another interesting aspect to this degree program is that the dean of the DeGroote School of Business, Paul Bates, is also unusual in that he has a (business) industry background, rather than a strictly academic one. I see that as a strength—particularly when it comes to offering practical training for the real world.
Finally, I have an attachment to Hamilton, home of McMaster University (about a 1.5 hour drive from Toronto; one hour late at night, with little traffic and no police in sight), because it is the Canadian city to which my maternal grandparents immigrated and where many of my relatives continue to call home.
Needless to say, I’ve been engaged and interested in the development of this degree program. Terry has kept in touch with updates on its progress, but this is the best news yet! I offer my colleague and friend best wishes for a successful first year in this program and degree-granting endeavour, as well as for many beyond.
From the official announcement:
New public relations degree receives OCGS approval
McMaster and Syracuse University launch Canada’s first joint public relations graduate program
The new Master of Communications Management degree program at the DeGroote School of Business has received approval from the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies. The new degree program, a joint venture between the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University, is designed specifically for working public relations professionals. The program is the first of its kind in Canada. Classes will begin in October 2007. Most of the course will be done through distance education, with students continuing to work at their jobs, while completing readings and assignments and meeting pre-determined deadlines. Ongoing access to professors will be via a dedicated web-based student portal. Students attend three, one-week, on-campus learning sessions per year (October, February and June) and register for two courses each term. “This innovative and unique program will provide graduates with a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace and rightly position communications management and public relations as a strategic management function,” says DeGroote Dean, Paul Bates. “We are especially excited about the Master of Communication Management program, as it is the first new program developed at DeGroote in 25 years and is an important first step in the expanded executive education program we will be offering at McMaster’s new campus in Burlington.”
The program is administered by Dr. Terry Flynn, APR, assistant professor of communications management at DeGroote, a 20-year veteran of the Canadian public relations industry and a graduate of Syracuse University’s communications management program. “Our new Master of Communications Management degree program combines the best of graduate-level public relations education with the best of master of business administration courses to offer Canadian public relations managers a new degree of difference and a workplace competitive advantage,” says Flynn. Graduates of the program will be awarded a joint Master of Communications Management degree from McMaster University and Syracuse University and will be eligible to participate in alumni programs and activities at each university.