Associate Professor of Public Relations
College of Journalism and Communications
Linda Childers Hon’s research on gender issues and on public relations measurement prompted a leading scholar in the field to describe her as “the best young public relations scholar in the United States today, and perhaps in the world.”
Although the field of public relations has seen a dramatic rise in the number of female students and practitioners, men still enjoy higher salaries at all levels and a majority of the top-level posts. Hon’s research seeks “to understand the societal and organizational factors that result in gender discrimination and how these issues are especially relevant for public relations.”
In addition to her extensive research on gender and diversity issues, Hon has devoted herself to the measurement of effectiveness in public relations. The ability to nurture relationships with key groups – such as employees, investors, community, and consumers – determines how effectively an organization will function. Hon notes that an equally important strategy of effective public relations involves “fostering positive relationships with groups that . oppose the organization’s mission or policies.” Her scholarship on public relations effectiveness prompted the Institute for Public Relations to make guidelines for evaluating public relations more accessible to professionals in the field.
Hon’s work has been published in all the major refereed journals in her field and she regularly earns highest ratings as a guest speaker and panelist at various national and international conferences. In addition, the public relations divisions of the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the International Communication Association have regularly selected Hon’s research for “Top Paper” awards. The authoritative scholarly journal in her field, the Journal of Public Relations Research, has devoted nearly two entire issues to her work. Hon’s recent appointment to editor of this journal only adds to her outstanding research record at the University of Florida.
This year Hon has been honored as the recipient of the Pathfinder Award for “Best Recent Program of Research.” The Pathfinder, given by the Institute for Public Relations, is widely regarded as the most prestigious award in the field.
“Public relations education and scholarship are in growing demand,” explains Hon. “People around the globe recognize that public relations is an essential communication mechanism that allows interdependent groups of people to function within government, business and other organizational systems. It’s a truly exciting time for the field.”