With its nationally recognized educators and wide-ranging opportunities, the Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations continues to be a program of excellence at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Our ACEJMC-accredited program goes above and beyond to prepare students and scholars to become innovative leaders in their respective fields.
History of the Tombras School of Advertising & Public Relations
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was among the first 30 schools in the country 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. In 2003, public relations joined advertising as the School of Advertising and Public Relations.
On July 1, 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 & Information Building, then known as the Communications and University Extension Building.
In 1977, the college awarded its first PhD 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 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 Sprinklr. While it is run by the Tombras School of Advertising and Public Relations, the facility is used for all school and research projects.
The Tombras School made history in March 2022 as the first named school at UT. It is also the first named school of advertising and public relations in the SEC, as well as at a land-grant institution. This partnership between a top flagship land-grant institution and a national industry agency leader is unique and represents a shared goal of accelerating student access and opportunity via a vision driven by a comprehensive set of outreach initiatives. The partnership provides students with unparalleled opportunity and real-world connections.
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.
CCI and the Tombras School are committed to diversity and foster a sense of collegiate and social community. The culture of CCI and the Tombras School includes an emphasis on the ethical responsibilities of access to information and the exercise of freedom of expression. CCI and the Tombras School promote 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
- 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 Statement and initiatives please go to CCI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page.