Ethics, communications among areas for Page Center grants

An annual competition for grants for the study of integrity in public communication, conducted by the Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State, has begun, with proposals for the grants, worth from $1,000 to $25,000, accepted until March 5, 2010.

The Page Center will award up to $75,000 in grants to support scholars and professionals making important contributions to knowledge, practice or public understanding of ethics and responsibility in public communication. 

The themes for this year’s call for proposals are:

  • -- Ethics in financial communication and investor relations;
  • -- How company credos and codes of ethics affect corporate behavior. Do they positively influence the way that some corporations respond to ethical dilemmas or matters of public importance? If so, why? Are they largely window dressing for other companies? Why? What accounts for the differences, and what are the implications?
  • -- Role of public relations in fostering corporate responsibility;
  • -- Curriculum development in and pedagogical approaches to ethics in public relations;
  • -- Other topics in ethics in public communication; and
  • -- Other areas of Page’s or Johnson’s legacy, including political communication, public opinion formation and attitude change, history of public relations, health communication, and international broadcasting.

The grants are awarded in the name of Arthur W. Page and Robert Wood Johnson. Page, the longtime vice president for public relations at AT&T, often is regarded as the founder of the modern practice of corporate public relations. He was the first person in a public relations position to serve as an officer and director of a major corporation and, in that capacity, was widely known for management according to the Page Principles, for his guidelines for ethical and effective communication with the public and for responsible corporate behavior.

Johnson built Johnson & Johnson from a small family business into the world’s largest health and medical care product company and one known for its high standards of social responsibility. He wrote the Johnson & Johnson Credo, probably the most widely-known and widely-regarded statement of ethics in the corporate world. 

The Center seeks to foster a modern understanding and application of the Page Principles and the Johnson & Johnson Credo by supporting innovative research, educational, or public service projects in a wide variety of academic disciplines and professional fields. Last year, 14 academics and professionals were awarded a total of $48,800 in grants.

The Center was established in 2004 through a leadership gift from Lawrence G. Foster, a distinguished Penn State alumnus and retired corporate vice president for public relations at Johnson & Johnson. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson 1962 Charitable Trust also are major contributors to Center’s work in ethics in public communications and the role of public relations in advancing corporate responsibility, including support for the Legacy Scholar program.

For more information on the Legacy Scholar competition, contact Cinda Kostyak, associate director of the Page Center by e-mail at csk2@psu.edu or phone at 814-863-6307. Information about the Page Center may be found at http://pagecenter.comm.psu.edu/ online.

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Last Updated February 10, 2010