Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level





Jan Wicks

Committee Member

Patsy Watkins

Second Committee Member

Ketevan Mamiseishvili


Communication and the arts, Education


This study examined what differences exist between the work of public relations professionals (also called communicators) who are members of CASE, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, at colleges and universities ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report and CASE-member communicators at colleges and universities that are ranked between 21 and 200 in their behavior in four areas: (1) communication goals they consider top priorities, (2) types of communication tasks they perform, (3) types of media in which they purchase advertising, and (4) their rating of audience importance. A survey completed by CASE-member communicators at colleges and universities found very little difference between the two groups in these four areas. These findings support the premise of institutional theory that organizations adopt similar behaviors because they face similar pressures, both formal and informal, that influence them. This study also finds that possible pressures influencing these communicators include the U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges and universities and CASE ethical and operational principles.