John Doorley named visiting professor in School of Communications

The long-time Merck & Co. executive and New York University professor will help facilitate the corporate communications emphasis of Elon University’s new M.S. in Management, which begins in fall 2015.

​John Doorley, a leading authority and academic in the field of corporate communications and public relations, will become a visiting professor in Elon University’s School of Communications in fall 2015.

A long-time Merck & Co. executive and New York University professor, Doorley arrives on campus to facilitate the corporate communications emphasis of Elon’s new M.S. in Management, which enrolls its first class in August. The accelerated, full-time program is a joint partnership between the School of Communications and the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business.

Through the graduate program’s coursework, students will master key principles of accounting, economics, finance, management, marketing and project management, with a focus in one of the specialties that interests them the most — corporate communications or organizational analytics. The courses will be evenly distributed between Elon’s business and communications faculty.

“We’re thrilled to have John join Elon as a visiting professor, where he will help us respond to the growth of the strategic communications major and enhance our corporate communications emphasis in the new M.S. in Management degree,” said Paul Parsons, dean of the School of Communications. “He is a leading voice in reputation management and a nationally known leader in the discipline. His credibility in the field is enormous.”

Prior to Elon, Doorley served as executive director of corporate communications at Merck (1987-2000), taught at Rutgers University for four years, and became founding academic director of New York University’s M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication (2005-2014), establishing the nation’s largest and one of the most admired public relations graduate programs.

In 2014, Doorley joined the London-based company Mindful Reputation, which helps client companies build and protect corporate reputation. He plans to continue as a consultant with Mindful Reputation during his Elon tenure.

Having built NYU’s public relations graduate program from the ground up, Doorley expressed excitement to help shape Elon’s budding program.

“It’s certainly one of the attractions of this position, where there are people in place to build the program, and I can focus on teaching. I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I love being in the classroom and helping advance the field.”

Elon’s new graduate program fills a glaring need, explained Doorley, because strong communication skills are crucial to success in a corporate and business setting. “For some time I’ve wanted to help build a M.S. in Management program because this is what we need right now,” he said. “We need people who are good content managers, understand business, and know how to plan and act strategically and ethically.”  

The implementation of the management degree will further advance the School of Communications’ reputation, added Doorley. “I think the school and its strategic communications major deserve to be better known for the tremendous work they accomplish,” he said, noting his regard for the school’s student-focused initiatives and outstanding faculty.

While his career in public relations dates back more than three decades, Doorley noted his transition from the corporate setting to the classroom continues to energize him.

“Someone might ask, ‘why I would want to do this now?’ Well, I have only been at this teaching business for 15 years and I still have the passion. I believe I have a lot still to contribute in the classroom and to the field of public relations and strategic communications,” he said. “I really look forward to being a part of this Elon program, which the field has wanted for as long as I can remember.”  

A winner of several writing awards, Doorley is co-author, with Helio Fred Garcia, of “Reputation Management” (3rd ed., 2015). He also teamed with Fraser Seitel to write “Rethinking Reputation” (2012). In addition, he has been recognized by the New Jersey Governor’s Office for his pro bono work with pediatric cancer patients, and received the Award For Outstanding Service from NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

He holds a B.S. degree in biology from St. Vincent College and a M.A. in journalism from NYU.

Doorley’s wife, Carole, is an eating disorder therapist and licensed clinical social worker.