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About Us

Located in the College of Communication and Information, the Tombras School of Advertising & Public Relations houses two of the most popular majors at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. The Advertising and Public Relations programs offer Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees. The programs are nationally and internationally recognized and accredited for the quality of their scholarship and instruction.

Our program offers opportunities beyond the classroom that involve professional internships across the nation, study abroad in Sydney, Australia, Siena, Italy and other exciting locations, and school-sponsored trips to network with industry leaders and alumni in New York, Nashville, and Atlanta. With its nationally recognized educators and wide-ranging opportunities, the School of Advertising and Public Relations continues to be a program of excellence at The University of Tennessee, preparing students and scholars to become innovative leaders in their respective fields.

Tombras School of Advertising & Public Relations Bylaws

History of Advertising & Public Relations

The University of Tennessee was among the first 30 schools in the US to offer marketing and advertising courses. The Department of Advertising was a part of the School of Commerce and the Department of Marketing, which offered two advertising

courses in 1914 called “Sales Management,” and “Advertising and Selling Campaigns.” In 1932 the first public relations classes were offered, however, Public Relations was a part of the Journalism curriculum for many years.  It wasn’t until 2003 when public relations joined advertising as the School of Advertising and Public Relations.

On July 1st, 1969 the College of Communications was founded, which was formed from the already existing Department of Journalism and newly established Department of Advertising. Later that year, the college moved into a brand-new facility that CCI still calls home today: The Communications and University Extension Building.

In 1977, the college awarded its first Ph.D. Degree in which students gain expertise in either a primary and a cognate area in Advertising, Public Relations, Communication Studies, Information Sciences, or Journalism and Electronic Media. The College of Communications became the College of Communication and Information in 2003 when the School of Information Sciences joined the college.

Opened in 2016, The Adam Brown Social Media Command Center is powered by Sales Force Social Studio.  While it is run by the School of Advertising and Public Relations—the facility is used for all school and research projects.

Our Vision, Mission, and Values


The future of the University of Tennessee’s College of Communication and Information lies in innovative learning, scholarship, and societal engagement.The primary aspiration of the college can be summarized in a single word: excellence. The college and its individual units will become recognized for their excellence internationally, nationally and regionally and for the caliber of their research and creative activity, teaching and service. Collaboration across the units will maximize our contributions to the university and society.Aligned with this vision, the School of Advertising and Public Relations is one excellent School with two strong and distinct programs committed to teaching, research and service to the professions.


The College of Communication and Information is a community of scholars and creators devoted to the study of communication and information and their related processes and technologies. This mission is achieved through excellence in research/creative activity, teaching and service. The college shares the values of intellectual pursuit, diversity, international and intercultural awareness, engagement and other core ideals of the University of Tennessee in the land-grant tradition. The Tombras School of Advertising & Public Relations applies the College’s mission to its programs.


The College and the Tombras School are committed to diversity and fosters a sense of collegiate and social community. The culture of the College and the Tombras School includes an emphasis on the ethical responsibilities of access to information and the exercise of freedom of expression. The College and the Tombras School promotes new knowledge creation through research and creative activities.

The College and the Tombras School believe in and cultivates the following values.

  • Intellectual curiosity and critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Global and intercultural engagement
  • Freedom of expression, independent media and democracy
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Ethics, honesty and integrity
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Service, community responsibility and engagement
  • Integration of theory, practice and knowledge
  • Interdisciplinary and relationship building


Diversity Plan Statement

CCI recognizes and values diversity. Exposing students to diverse people, ideas and cultures increases opportunities for intellectual inquiry, encourages critical thinking and enhances communication and information competence. When all viewpoints are heard, thoughtfully considered, and respectfully responded to, everyone benefits. Diversity and fairness unite us with the wider professional and global community.

For the full version of the CCI Diversity Plan please go to: CCI Diversity Plan