Plank Center

PRSA Alabama Chapter Student and Faculty Resource:

The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations was established at The
University of Alabama in 2005 and is led by a national advisory board of
distinguished educators and practitioners to develop and support leadership
in public relations education and practice.

Named after the "first lady" of public relations, UA alumna Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow
PRSA, the Plank Center offers leadership programs and opportunities to PR
graduate and undergraduate students, educators and researchers. It works to
bridge the gap between public relations education and practice by offering a range
of activities that include:

  • Scholarships
  • Student awards
  • Distinguished lecturers
  • Funded research into leadership
  • Webinars


The Plank Center also provides students, educators, and professionals with an
extensive collection of resources about leaders and leadership in public relations.
These include profiles of outstanding role models and leaders and video files of
interviews with distinguished individuals offering insight on public relations.

The Plank Center also uses a variety of approaches and activities to support its
mission including:

  • Recognition programs
  • Speaker programs
  • Publications
  • Scholarly and professional papers
  • Workshops and symposia
  • Research grants
  • A collection of histories and papers of leaders in the field


Dr. Karla K. Gower

University of Alabama Professor and Director of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations

"Today, there are too few 'angels' supporting public relations education, but just a few can lead the way." Betsy Plank, The Professional Bond (2006, p.10)

Betsy Plank, 1924-2010:  Public relations leader

Betsy Plank, the first female president of the Public Relations Society of America, led efforts to improve educational standards in the business communications field and provided solid counsel to generations of students and young professionals. . . .