Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Dr. Bey-Ling Sha Receives Pathfinder Award

Professor Awarded The Institute for Public Relations’ Highest Academic Honor

Dr. Bey-Ling Sha Receives Pathfinder Award

By Lizbeth Persons-Price


Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR, professor of public relations and acting associate dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at San Diego State University, will be awarded The Institute for Public Relations Pathfinder Award at the 2018 Annual Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner on Nov. 28 in New York City.

The Pathfinder Award is a lifetime achievement award bestowed annually on an individual who made significant and sustained contributions to the body of knowledge and practice of public relations through published research. Dr. Sha pioneered work at the intersection of identity and public relations by developing a theoretical framework for intercultural public relations, grounded in the importance of cultural identity for understanding organizational publics and organizations themselves.

In addition, Dr. Sha has defined the identity of public relations for students, as a co-author of the 11th edition of Cutlip and Center’s Effective Public Relations textbook; for scholars, as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Public Relations Research; and for professionals, as past chair of the Universal Accreditation Board, which oversees professional certification of public relations practitioners.

“I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of my distinguished professors and many beloved mentors in earning the IPR Pathfinder Award,” said Sha. “As a second-generation public relations scholar-teacher, I feel keenly the responsibility to articulate and defend our professional identity, an ongoing challenge that today feels more urgent than ever.”

Dr. Donald K. Wright, the Pathfinder Award selection committee chair and Harold Burson Professor of PR at Boston University said the committee selected Dr. Sha for the impact of her contributions on the profession.

“The selection committee was impressed by not only Dr. Sha’s record as a scholar with an international reputation but also by her co-authorship of one of the leading public relations textbooks and her impressive work as editor of one of the leading academic scholarly journals,” he said.

Prior to becoming a full-time educator, Dr. Sha worked as a public affairs officer for the U.S. Census Bureau, where she helped oversee the execution and evaluation of the promotional campaign for the 2000 census. This decennial census marked the first time that respondents could express their identification with more than one racial group; the census campaign won a 2001 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America.

Before the IPR Annual Distinguished Lecture and Awards Dinner on November 28, Dr. Sha will present at the IPR Research Symposium where attendees are invited to listen to and discuss the latest public relations research findings with authors, fellow practitioners and educators.

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