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Prof Rene Benecke

Head of Department/Associate Professor
Name: Rene Benecke
Location: K green 4 APB B-Ring 618B APK Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Department of Strategic Communication Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: 011 559 1261 (APB) 011 559 4575 (APK)

Email: rbenecke@uj.ac.za

About Prof Rene Benecke

Qualifications:

D Litt et Phil (2019) under supervision of late Prof Sonja Verwey with the title ” Social representation of PR activism in selected early-career South African Public Relations Practitioners. MTech in Public Relations (UJ – former TWR) in 2004. BA Communication (UJ – former RAU) in 1983; BA Communication Honours (UJ – former RAU) in 1998; PRISA Certificate in Public Relations Practice in 1990.

Rene is Associate Professor in Department of Strategic Communication who started her academic career with the previous Technikon Witwatersrand in 1996 (TWR merged with RAU in 2005) following 12 years industry experience as public relations manager and fundraiser. Her specializations include experiential learning, public relations and communication. She is coordinating various work integrated learning placements for students and community engagements. She also mentors the Students’ Public Relations Association (SPRA). She served as President of the professional body the Public Relations Association of Southern Africa (PRISA) during 2019/20 and also holds the portfolio Education, Training and Research. Rene believes in providing students with the opportunity to make a difference in society through their experiential learning actions. Her community involvement includes the development of young practitioners through active citizenship. Students are placed and mentored at various social organisations with the aim of developing entrepreneurial opportunities for them and the communities around them.

Research Interests: Rene’s research interests include activism, the network perspective, community influencers, reflective practice and learning, experiential learning, student engagement, community relations and internal communication.

Achievements: (if relevant)

Long Service awards received in 2006 and 2016.

Coordinated a Twitter Take Over project with LeadSA conducted as part of the Izindaba Zokutla 2016 and PPR2002 module. The project was a semi-finalist in New Generations Awards and won a PRISA PRISM Award in April 2017.

Journal publications (in last 5 years)

Benecke, D.R.; Simpson, Z.; Le Roux, S.; Skinner, C.J.; Janse van Rensburg, N.; Sibeko, J.; Bvuma, S.; Meyer, J.2017. “Cultural intermediaries and the circuit of culture: The Digital Ambassadors project in Johannesburg, South Africa. Public Relations Review, 43, pp.26–34.

Verwey S., Benecke D.R., Muir C. 2017. Purpose and practice: educating PR professionals for the future. Communicare: Journal for Communication Sciences in Southern Africa, Mar 2017, Vol 36, Issue 1, pp. 67-78.

Azionya, A.C., Oksuitycz, A & Benecke, D.R. (2019). The model for value-based education in a diverse and poly-contextual society. Public Relations Review, 45 (3).

Benecke, D.R. & Verwey, S. (2020) “Social Representation of PR Activism in Early Career South African Public Relations Practitioners”. Public Relations Review 46 (5), art. no. 101978.

Books and chapters in books

Co-authored the 10th edition of The Handbook of Public Relations with Skinner, C and Mersham, G. Oxford University Press, November 2013. ISBN 978 0 199 05849 5.

Co-authored a chapter with Skinner C in 2014 titled ‘South Africa’, in T. Watson (ed) Middle Eastern and African Perspectives on the Development of Public Relations: Other Voices. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Research team member for the new Public Relations Landscape Study for South Africa, commissioned by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. Published in March 2015. http://www.globalalliancepr.org/website/page/country-landscapes

Co-authored a chapter with Dr Lida Holtzhausen in a Routledge publication titled “Public Relations in the NPO Sector in South Africa”. Communicating Causes. Strategic Public Relations for Non-Profit Organisations. N. Carsten & I. Bruce (eds). ISBN978-0-8153-9400-6.

Benecke, D. R., Malan, N., Janse van Rensburg, N. (2019). Engaged learning. Chapter 3 In “Projects as Socio-Technical Systems in Engineering Education” eds J Meyer, Z Simpson, S von Solms. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis. ISBN. 13 978-1-138-48360-6.

Simpson, Z. & Benecke, D.R. (2019). Development of Non-Technical Competencies: The Case of Jozi Digital Ambassadors Project. Chapter 8 In “Projects as Socio-Technical Systems in Engineering Education” eds J Meyer, Z Simpson, S von Solms. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis. ISBN. 13 978-1-138-48360-6.

Verwey, S. & Benecke, D.R. (2020). Post Digital dialogue in the public sphere. In “Social Media and Elections in Africa”, eds Prof Martin Ndlela and Winston Mano. Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-3-030-32682-1

Verwey, S., Benecke, D.R., & Phumo, T. (in press). Southern African Perspectives on Strategic Communication Theory and Practice. Print ISBN: 9780190751234; Epub ISBN: 9780190736859

Conference participation (in the last 5 years):

Co-authored and presented a conference paper for the 2014 World Public Relations Forum held in September 2014 in Madrid, Spain tilted “Changing conversation and dialogue through LeadSA: an example of public relations activism in South Africa”.

Research team member of the Digital Ambassadors Research team on the CoJ project of UJ Engineering Faculty. Wrote a research paper titled “Cultural intermediaries and the circuit of culture: The Digital Ambassadors project in Johannesburg, South Africa. Benecke, D.R.; Simpson, Z.; Le Roux, S.; Skinner, C.J.; Janse van Rensburg, N.; Sibeko, J.; Bvuma, S.; Meyer, J.The paper was presented at the World PR Forum 2016 in May 2016 in Toronto, Canada and accepted for publication in the academic journal Public Relations Review 43 (2017) 26–34.

Presented a key note address at annual International Business Communicators Association (IABC) conference in Cape Town, 2016 titled “#Feesmustfall – wicked problems and a different zeitgeist”. The paper was co-authored with Prof Sonja Verwey.

Co-authored a conceptual paper with Prof S Verwey and Ms C Muir titled “Purpose and Practice: Educating PR professionals for the future” which was presented at the PRISA 2017 conference.

Co-authored a research paper for the 2017 PRISA and APRA conferences with Ms Thabisile Phumo title “Social representation of power by African female PR leaders. The paper was presented in Johannesburg in April 2017 and May in Casablanca, Morocco.

Co-authored and presented a research paper at the World Public Relations Forum 2018 in Oslo, Norway titled “Social representation of PR Activism by early career Public Relations Practitioners in South Africa”. The paper was co-authored with Prof Sonja Verwey and submitted for publication in the PR Review academic journal. Article is currently under review.

Co-authored and presented a research paper at World Public Relations Forum 2018 in Oslo, Norway titled “Value-based public relations education through exposure to complex societal issues: a collaboration between a university and an intergovernmental organisation”. The paper was submitted to PR Review for publication, provisionally accepted pending changes. Co-authors are Anna Oksiutycz and Caroline Azionya.

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