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Dr Alenka Jelen, public relations
I am very excited to join the University of Stirling, which is the cradle of public relations education in the UK. I took over the role of the Programme Director for MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations (Joint Degree with Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) and am teaching postgraduate modules on public relations and public communication theories, public relations contexts, international public relations and research methods.
I joined the University of Stirling at the beginning of September from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) where I was a Senior Lecturer in Public Relations and the Course Leader of MSc International Applied Communication. Prior to UCLan, I worked as a Teaching Assistant and a Public Relations Adviser at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, from where I also hold my BSc in Communication Science – Marketing and Marketing Communication and PhD in the field of Social Sciences – Communication. I hold my MSc in International Applied Communication from UCLan. I have spent shorter periods of time at Hogeschool Utrecht in the Netherlands as an Erasmus student and lecturer, respectively. My academic path has, therefore, pretty much led me back and forth between Ljubljana, Utrecht and Preston, and will certainly get new exciting directions by joining Stirling.
I have taught in various areas of communication studies, including communication and social theory, media communication, public affairs, rhetoric, strategic communication management, media relations, organisational behaviour and also qualitative interview research. In addition to the institutions mentioned above, I have been guest lecturing at several universities and research institutes across Europe (Masaryk University in Czech Republic, Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, GIGA Institute Hamburg and the University of Jena, both in Germany) and have been an Instructor in Expert Interviews at the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research) Doctoral Summer School in Methods and Techniques. I hold the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.
I have also been active in international associations. Since 2009, I have been an Executive Board Member of ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association) and currently hold a position of ECREA General Secretary.
My PhD dissertation ‘Creating the media image of the president of state: The role of official sources in the process of framing television news’ focused on the role of political advisers, particularly public relations professionals in the media news framing. It developed an integrated theoretical framework of public relations and media / journalism framing processes, explored the relationships and interactional patterns between media and political institutions from a process-oriented perspective and discussed the political image creation and the influence of politics on media reporting.
Following from my PhD, my current research interest lies in political and communication studies and public / media relations with a special focus on relationships between political and media institutions. In addition, I specialise in qualitative research methods, particularly interviews and framing analysis. I am also interested in higher education trends and co-chair ECREA’s Mapping Higher Education in European Media and Communication Studies task force.
Outside, of academia, I have experience in broadcast media where I have worked as a journalist, news director and presenter, and am currently a British Correspondent for Slovenian television Kanal A, so you might catch me on the screen from time to time. My other passionate hobby is tango. I have been dancing, performing and teaching at YirajeTango together with my partner Ariel Sanchez.
I am very much looking forward to working with my new colleagues at CMC and am particularly hoping to contribute to the Department in the area of international collaborations in terms of international research projects and publications, joint MSc programme and strengthening the links with ECREA.