IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGIES ON THE PERFORMANCE OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING: (A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON UNN AND IMT) ABSTRACT: The success of any organization, especially the institutions of higher learning, depends on how information is handled in that organization. The efficiency and effectiveness with which information is managed determines to a large extent whether the institution will consistently be crisis ridden or not. This is why no institution of higher learning can survive without the activities of the public relations department. Yet, many institutions in Nigeria including universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education among others have failed to appreciate public relations and its potency for the sustenance and growth of their establishment. Sequel to the above it is pertinent to evaluate the impact of public relations strategies in the institution of higher learning. The study had a population size of 36, out of which a simple size of 33 was realized using Taro Yamane formula. Instrument used for data collection was primarily questionnaire and interview. The total numbers of 33 copies of the questionnaire were distributed while 30 copies were collected. The descriptive research design was adopted for the study. Content validity and test – retest of reliability was done, with coefficient of 0.74 indicating a high degree of consistency. Five hypotheses were tested using chi-square (X2). The result of the study revealed that public relations strategies have significant impact on the performance of institutions of higher learning. The finding further showed that public relations units of institution of higher learning play a little role in decision making. Also the applications of public relation strategies help in arresting strikes and cult activities in the institutions of higher learning. The finding also indicated that in respect to public relations, the University of Nigeria perform better than institute of management and technology in its use of public relations strategies. The study concluded that public relations is indispensable in institutions of higher learning. To this end the study recommended that public relations personnel of every institutions of higher learning should involve in decision making and have free access to relevant information. TABLE OF CONTENTSTitle page - - - - - - iCertification - - - - - - iiApproval page - - - - - - iiiDedication - - - - - - ivAcknowledgment - - - - - - vAbstract - - - - - - viTable of Contents - - - - - - viiList of Tables - - - - - - ixCHAPTER ONE: 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Background of the Study - - - - - - 11.2 Statement of Problem - - - - - - 21.3 Objectives of the Study - - - - - - 31.4 Research Questions - - - - - - 31.5 Research Hypotheses - - - - - - 41.6 Significance of the Study - - - - - - 41.7 Scope of the Study - - - - - - 51.8 Limitations of the Study - - - - - - 5References CHAPTER TWO: 2.1 Definition of Public Relations - - - - - 82.2 Components of Public Relations - - - - - 102.3 What Public Relations is not - - - - - 112.4 Areas of Work of Public Relations Practitioners - - - 122.5 Public Relations and Related Concepts - - - - 142.6 Jobs in Public Relations - - - - - - 162.7 Impact of Public Relations on Society - - - - 222.7.1 Positive Impacts of Public Relations on Society - - - 222.7.2 Negative Impacts of Public Relations on Society - - - 242.8 Qualities of A Pr Practitioner - - - - - 242.9 Public Relations: The Nigerian Experience. - - - - 252.10 Public Relations Practice in Institutions of Higher Learning in Nigeria 272.11 Public Relations Need for Institutions of Higher Learning. - - 302.12 Constraints of Public Relations Practice in Institutions of Higher Learning in Nigeria. - - - 372.13 Comparative Study of UNN and I.M.T In Respect To Public Relations Strategies Public Relations Practice at the I.M.T, Enugu. - - 39ReferencesCHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY3.1 Introduction - - - - - 473.2 Research Design - - - - - 473.3 Sources of Data - - - - - 473.4 Instrument Used for Data Collection - - - - - 473.5 Population of the Study - - - - - 483.6 Sample Size Determination - - - - - 483.7 Data Treatment Technique - - - - - 50CHAPTER FOUR: PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA 4.1 Questionnaire Distribution - - - - - 524.2 Analysis of Questionnaire - - - - - 524.3 Test of Hypotheses - - - - - 60CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS5.1 Introduction - - - - - 655.2 Summary of Findings - - - - - 655.3 Conclusions - - - - - 665.4 Recommendations - - - - - 67Bibliography Appendix ILIST OF TABLESTable 4.1 Questionnaire Distribution - - - - 52Table 4.2.1 Respondents opinion on Age Bracket - - - 52Table 4.2.2 Marital Distribution of Respondent - - - - 53Table 4.2.3 Educational Qualification - - - - 53Table 4.2.4 Your Institution - - - - 53Table 4.2.5 Customer Relation and Performance of Institution of Higher Learning - - - - 54Table 4.2.6 Public Relations and Profit - - - - 54Table 4.2.7 M.Sc Public Relations Programmes and Public Relations Practitioner - - - - 54Table 4.2.8 Problems Facing the Public Relation in Schools - - 55Table 4.2.9 Media Relations of Public Relation and Boost Performance - 55Table 4.2.10 Public relations and management board - - - 56Table 4.2.11 Public Relations and Decision Making - - - 56Table 4.2.12 Public Relations Units and Robber Stamp - - - 57Table 4.2.13 Decision Making and Social Unrest - - - 57Table 4.2.14 Public Relations Strategies and Solving Problem - - 58Table 4.2.15 Staff of Public Relations Department and Authority to Manage Problem - - - - 58Table 4.2.16 Public Relations and Image Makers - - - - 58Table 4.2.17 Public Relations and Market Image - - - - 59Table 4.2.18 Public Relations Units and Good Image - - - 59Table 4.3.19 Condensed Outcome of Two Questions for Testing Hypothesis One 60Table 4.3.20 Contingency Table of X2 for Hypothesis One - - 60Table 4.3.21 Condensed Outcome of Three Questions for Testing Hypothesis Two 61Table 4.3.22. Contingency Table X for Hypothesis Two - - - 61Table 4.3.23 Condensed Outcome of Three Questions for Testing Hypothesis 62Table 4.3.24 Contingency Table of X2 for Hypothesis Three - - 63Table 4.3.25 Condensed Outcome of Three Questions for Testing Hypothesis Four 64Table 4.3.26 Contingency Table of X2 for Hypothesis Four - - 64CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY The success of any organization, especially the institutions of higher learning, depends on how information is handled in that organization. The efficiency and effectiveness with which information is managed determines to a large extent whether the institution will consistently be crisis ridden or not. This is why no institution of higher learning can survive without the activities of the public relations department. Yet, many institutions in Nigeria including universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education among others have failed to appreciate public relations and it potency for the sustenance and growth of their establishment. In the words of Enwonode (2004:47) “researches have shown all over the years that university administrations in Nigeria have not fully appreciated public relations potentials in tackling numerous crisis that have bedeviled academic excellence in our ivory tower”. That some institutions of higher learning in Nigeria have crisis from time to time simply reveals truth that they have either neglected this all important unit are relegated to the background by not giving it a free hand to operate. Many do not even operate apublic relation unit or department.. Some institutions of higher learning may be boasting of having a public relations department while all they have is an information office attached to the vice chancellors office or the office of the registrar, dishing out information handed down to them by the school authority. Such institutions do not give their public relations department a free hand to work. They do not even allow their public relations department to get involved in the processes leading to major decisions with serious public interest and implication. In some cases, public relations departments are only remembered when there is crisis in the school. This does not give public relations practitioner the opportunity to manage issues and crisis the way they would yield positive result but instead give room to ‘fire brigade” kind of public relations (resulting in acting when there is problem-relations problem to solve).Public relations department should be part of school management board so that the principle public relations officers can take major decisions that may affect the publics of the institutions. In relation to this, Salau (2005: 58) said that it is the responsibility of the public relations personnel to handle misconceptions and misinformation arising from such delicate and sensitive decisions like sudden closure of school, Rustication/expulsion of students or even retrenchment or retirement of some staff. If the public relations executives of institutions of higher learning do not attend management meetings, how would they carry out the above functions mentioned by Salau?Public relations executives are not accorded their rightful positions in institutions of higher learning due to ignorance of the duties they are meant to perform. Public relations is a management function because it works with and through people to achieve organization’s goals/objectives. So unless public relations executives are placed where they should be in the school organizational chart, a lot of things will continue to go wrong in our institutions of higher learning.Since the image of many institutions of higher learning in Nigeria have been seriously damaged by incessant strike of the academic and non academic staff and cult activities of the various cult groups, it is imperative for all institutions of higher learning to maintain a viable public relations outfit that would generate and foster goodwill, support and cooperation of the employees, other internal publics and relevant others (external publics).1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM On several occasions, institutions of higher learning have been ridden with crises either caused by the protest of internal and external publics. Lecturers have often grumbled at one time or the other over bad condition of learning environment or condition of service. The facts remains that the public relations department exists in institutions of higher learning to create harmonious environment for the good of all involved. Issues and crises such as demonstrations, students unrest, strike, cult activities etc have reduced, our higher institutions to mere shadow of itself and battered the highly respected image of the “Ivory Tower” this apart, they have made other countries not to value our university education. They look down on our certificates, and tag our graduates, “graduate of crisis”.So all these problems have given impetus to the call for re-organization of the public relations departments of institutions of higher learning in order to restore their lost glory, Many institutions, both academic and business institutions, are now relying heavily on the public relations departments to bring about the much needed harmony and cordiality that should exist between the institutions and its publics.1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDYGiven the statement of the problem above, this study aims to achieve the following objectives.1. To determine the impact of public relations strategies in the performance of institutions of higher learning.2. To examine the role of public relation units of institutions of higher learning in decision making of the schools.3. To investigate the application of public relation strategies in arresting strikes and cult activities in institutions of higher learning.4. To establish how they use public relations strategies to manage the image of their schools.5. To find how the institutions of higher learning under study compare in their performances in the application of public relations strategies. 1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. What impact do public relations strategies have in the performance of institutions of higher learning?2. Is there any role played by public relations units in decision making in the institutions of higher learning . 3. Does the application of public relations strategies help in arresting strikes and cult activities in the institutions of higher learning ?4. How are public relations strategies used to manage the image of schools to the general public 5. How do the two institutions of higher learning under study compare in their performances in the application of public relations strategies 1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES The following null hypotheses will be tested in their null forms.1. Public relations strategies do not have significant impact on the performance of institutions of higher learning.2. Public relations units of institutions of higher learning do not play any role in decision making.3. The applications of public relations strategies do not help in arresting strikes and cult activities in institutions of higher learning.4. Public relations strategies have not been used in managing the public image of the schools. 5. University of Nigeria will not perform better than institute of management and technology in its use of public relations strategies1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 1. This research will be significant to institutions of higher learning in Nigeria, which findings will help to restructure their public relations department for more oriented result. 2. The study will reveal the importance of public relations activities to institutions of higher learning, Pertaining on how to manage issues and crises as they come.3. This study will explain the need to make the public relation executives part of institutions top management board and to be more effective in the discharge of their managerial role.4. The study is significant in the sense that its findings will serve as a base and framework for future studies on the topic understudy. 1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY A study of this nature ought to be carried out in all institutions of higher learning in Nigeria. However, given the limitation experienced by researchers all over Nigeria as part of research experiences, which comes in form of inadequate fund to execute the study across all institutions of higher learning, the scope of the study is limited to two institutions of higher learning all in Enugu, University of Nigeria Nsukka and Institute of Management and Technology.1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY As part of the research experience by researchers all over the globe, certain limitations hindered the effective and smooth collection of data for the work. These in specific terms include, inadequate working funds; lack of time and scarcity of materials.Operational Definition of Some Key Concepts Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as we are going to use it. This work is on institutions of higher learning’s care and assistance in the development of communities where they are situated by supporting these communities and also avoiding anything that can bring about the degeneration of the environment.Again, this definition agrees with the state of Nwosu (1996:7) which says that Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR) involves organization’s not only being responsible and responsive “Corporate Citizens” but also organizations that should be involved in things like environmental protection campaigns, contributing to education, promoting entrepreneurship, promoting arts and culture, contributing to rural and national development.c. Institutions of Higher Learning As far as this research is concerned, institutions of higher learning will include all tertiary institutions or schools for furthering education which are higher than secondary school. These include the Polytechnics, Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, Colleges of Education, Universities etc.d. Image The image of any organization is the picture of that organization in the mind of the public’s which makes people t choose to favour that organization and leave others. The above definition indicates that some institutions of higher learning have good image while some don’t.e. Publics Publics of institutions of higher learning are those whose activities affect the institutions and those who the activities of the institution affect in one way or the other. f. Internal publics Internal publics are those publics within the organization whose activities affect the organization and are also affected by the organization’s activities. In the case of institutions of higher learning, internal publics include employees (academic and non academic staff) students etc.g. External PublicsThe external publics are those publics outside an organization whose activities affect the organization and who are equally affected by the organizations activities and programmes. The external publics of institutions of higher learning include their host community, other communities around it, parents and guardian of students, other institutions of higher learning around it and the mass media, as well as government and financial organisations. REFERENCES Ejiofor, K. (2003): Lecture & Discussion notes on strategy in Public Relations.Ejiofor, P (2003): Lecture & Discussion Notes on Bringing Beauty Back to the Universities.Enwonode, C. (2001): “Public Relations Management Technique b- A way forward for Universities in Nigeria”, in Journal of Public Relations Management (2nd Edition) vol. 1. No. 2, June.Igben, H. G. (1997): Public Relations Fundamentals, Delta: COEWA Publishers.Nwosu, I. E. (296): Public Relations Managements, Lagos: Domination Publishers. Udu, L. (2001): “Brief History of Ebonyi State University: The citadel of Excellence” In Ivory Mirror-Ebonyi State University Magazine. Vol. 1. No. 1 Ohaja, E. (2003): Mass Communication Research and Project Report Writing, Lagos: John Leiterm Ltd.Onah, J. O. (2001): “Management Public Relations in the University system: The Nigeria Experience” In The Nigeria Journal of Communication. Vol. 1. No. 1 Nov.Salau, S. (2001): “Theory and Practice of Public Relations in Nigeria Educational Institutions” in NIPR Public Relations Journal. Umechukwu, P. O. J. (2002): “Imperatives of Public Relations Communication for Industrial Peace and Harmony” in Journal of Public Relations Management, 3rd edition, Vol. 1 No. 3, Sept..