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Alumnus accepts new global PR position

Dr. Dean Kruckeberg (Ph.D. 1985) is now working as the director of the Center for Global Public Relations (CGPR) at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As director, Kruckeberg has oversight over CGPR’s activities.

The CGPR’s mission is “to encourage and support the evolution of global public relations as a specialization of professional practice that help people and organizations worldwide through communication and understanding.”

“Essentially there is a specific role in global society for practitioners of public relations.” Kruckeberg said, “You have to have an education, knowledge and skills above and beyond what most practitioners today have.”

Kruckeberg, who had spent the last 25 years as a professor in the department of communication studies at The University of Northern Iowa, almost declined to apply for the job.

“I had lived over half my life in Iowa,” Kruckeberg said. “I felt very comfortable there.”

Dr. Alan Freitag, an associate professor in communication studies at The University of North Carolina, said that the CGPR knew that Kruckeberg would be best suited for the position and was assertive in persuading him to accept its leadership.

“I think the most convincing argument for him was the recognition of the impact he could have on global public relations scholarship and practice as head of the Center,” Freitag said.

Global Experiences Kruckeberg stands in front of Red Square in Moscow

After a visit to the UNC at Charlotte campus, Kruckeberg was impressed with what the CGPR was doing, and found that he shared their vision. Though he hadn’t been looking to move on, he thought that the opportunities the job had to offer were too important to pass up.

Kruckeberg is currently taking advantage of those opportunities. Last year alone he traveled to Moscow, Siberia, England and Romania and has been able to make new connections with other global practitioners. He believes that at some level, everyone in the world of public relations will have to become global.

“We need practitioners with specific knowledge of the world. Social, political and economical,” Kruckeberg said. “It’s a specialization that is going to grow.”

The CGPR is enthusiastic about having Kruckeberg as their leader. Freitag said that Kruckeberg’s well-established position as a leading light in PR and especially its global component, his stellar reputation as a researcher, thinker and essayist and his global network of likeminded scholars and practitioners help to move CGPR forward in meaningful and beneficial ways.

“I am literally in awe of what Dr. Kruckeberg has accomplished in just two years,” Freitag said.

His accomplishments include assembling a staff of graduate students, interns and volunteers and bringing together an advisory board of deeply experienced practitioners to contribute their time and advice. He has also attracted two visiting international scholars to contribute to the Center and continues to gather more.

Freitag also said that Kruckeberg has been helpful in the implementation of innovative features such as the Center’s Web site, and the Center’s active participation in a number of popular social media venues.

“Dr. Kruckeberg is in exactly the right position at exactly the right time,” Freitag said.

The job has given Kruckeberg the chance to work closely with people all over the world. He said the job has given him the opportunity to discover a commonality in all people and that he is doing everything he has always loved to do.

Freitag calls Kruckeberg a “delightful colleague” and said that despite a crushing work ethic and schedule, he retains a lively sense of humor and affable personality.

In addition to his tremendous responsibilities as Center director, he maintains a full teaching load and advises a number of graduate theses and projects.

“I have never seen anyone work harder, longer hours or be so productive,” Freitag said. “Our discipline is extraordinarily fortunate to have him, and I’m highly pleased to have him serve so superbly here at UNC Charlotte.”

Kruckeberg feels that he owes a tremendous gratitude for his education and professors at The University of Iowa.

“My preparation for my whole academic career and certainly for this job here came from the doctoral program at Iowa.” Kruckeberg said. “Iowa was able to prepare me in ways that were unique to do the job that I’m doing. I wouldn’t have had the same world view if it wasn’t for the university, so I’m very grateful.”

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