Kenn Gaither

Associate Dean of the School of Communications and Associate Professor of Communications
McEwen - Comm. 101E
2850 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-5776

Professional Expertise

International public relations, public relations, persuasion and propaganda

Brief Biography

T. Kenn Gaither is an associate professor/associate dean at the Elon University School of Communications, where he teaches courses in international public relations, public relations and mass communication. He has published in several public relations journals, including the Journal of Public Relations Research and Public Relations Review, and serves as series editor for the Cambria Press Communication Collection. He has written or co-authored three books, most recently Globalization and Public Relations in Postcolonial Nations: Challenges and Opportunities (Cambria, 2012). Gaither also has more than nine years of professional public relations agency experience and was part of a public relations team that won a Hyundai MicroElectronics of America Excellence in Service Award for public relations work associated with its $4.5 billion merger with LG Semicon in 1999. Gaither speaks Portuguese and has lived or taught in Brazil, Ghana and China. He has sailed on nine voyages of Semester at Sea, most recently serving as executive dean on the summer 2012 voyage.


University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill                           Ph.D./Park Doctoral Fellow, 2004

University of Pittsburgh                                                 M.F.A., Literary Journalism, 2000

University of Pittsburgh                                                 B.A., English Writing/Portuguese, 1993


Employment History

Director of Public Relations/Marketing, élan communications, Pittsburgh, PA:  1999-2001

Client Associate, Burson-Marsteller, Pittsburgh, PA:  1998-1999

Project Manager/Senior Account Executive, William J. Green & Associates (public affairs/communications counseling agency), Pittsburgh, PA:  1993-1998

Executive Dean: summer 2012, spring 2008; Assistant Dean: spring 2005; Field Office Coordinator: summer 2004, 2002, 2001; spring 1999; Assistant Field Office Coordinator:  fall 1995

Semester at Sea, Institute for Shipboard Education (University of Virginia)

Courses Taught

COM 232 Public Relations/Civic Responsibility

COM 564 Public Opinion through New Media

COM 100 Communications in a Global Age

COM 110 Media Writing

COM 495 Capstone: International Public Relations


Selected recent publications:

Curtin, P. A., & Gaither, T. K.  (2012, fall). “Globalization and Public Relations in Postcolonial Nations: Challenges and Opportunities.”  Cambria Press.

Al-Kandari, A. A., & Gaither, T. K. (2011). “Arabs, the West and Public Relations:  A Critical/Cultural Study of Arab Cultural Values.”  Public Relations Review.

Gaither, T. K. (2008, spring). “Nation Branding, Propaganda, and Public Relations: An Analysis of English-Language Developing Country Head of State Web Sites.”  Cambria Press.

Curtin, P. A., & Gaither, T. K. (2008, spring).  “International Public Relations: Negotiating Culture, Identity, and Power.” Sage Publications.

Gaither, T. K., & Curtin, P.A. (2007, fall). “Examining the Heuristic Value of Models of International Public Relations Practice: A Case Study of the Arla Foods Crisis.” Journal of Public Relations Research.

Gaither, T. K., & Curtin, P. A. (2007, summer).  “International Public Relations: Toward an Integrated Theoretical Base.”  In Hansen-Horn (Ed.), Public Relations Theory.  Allyn & Bacon. 

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