New York, NY – The Institute for Public Relations will award 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, the IPR Pathfinder Award at the 2018 Annual Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner on November 28 in New York City.

IPR gives this lifetime achievement award annually to an individual who has 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.

The Pathfinder Award selection committee chair Dr. Donald K. Wright, the Harold Burson Professor of Public Relations 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.

“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.”

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.

Tickets to IPR Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner
Tickets for the IPR Distinguished Lecture & Awards Dinner are available for $500 each. Tables of 10 can be purchased for $5,000 and premium tables of 10 are available for $10,000. The price includes a networking cocktail reception (sponsored by the UF College of Journalism and Communications), the awards dinner, and Distinguished Lecture by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, immediate past president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

About the Institute for Public Relations
The Institute for Public Relations is an independent, nonprofit research foundation dedicated to fostering greater use of research and research-based knowledge in corporate communication and the public relations practice. IPR is dedicated to the science beneath the art of public relations™. IPR provides timely insights and applied intelligence that professionals can put to immediate use. All research, including a weekly research letter, is available for free at

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Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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