Currently part of the Department of Business Management in the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, the Communication Management Division is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in producing communication practitioners and scholars of quality.
The origin of the Division dates back to the mid-1990s. Prof van Rooyen, then Head of the Department of Business Management in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, motivated for an independent Department of Marketing and Communication Management to accommodate large numbers of students and align the University with global trends in the development of the disciplines as separate areas of specialisation.
The motivation was approved by the then Dean of the Faculty, Prof Marx and the Department of Marketing and Communication Management was established on 1 July 1994 under the leadership of Prof Gustav Puth.
At inception it became one the largest departments at the University and the University of Pretoria was the only institution in the country to offer separate degree courses in Marketing Management and Communication Management from within a single department. The Department also pioneered the creation of BCom (Communication Management), with roots in inter alia Public Relations and Corporate Communication, as a fully-fledged degree course. The academic department became a forerunner to likeminded departments worldwide.
Prof Adré Schreuder became Head of Department in 1999 and created separate positions for the Heads of Marketing Management and Communication Management. The Association of Marketers (ASOM) initiated an annual stipend for a Chair in Marketing Management and the Department received an award from the Professional Management Review for providing government departments with the best tertiary education in marketing. Two new programmes were also initiated: Marketing of Professional Services (BEM 162) and Applied Business Communication Skills (KOB 181-184).
Prof Ronel Rensburg took over from Prof Schreuder in 2000 with 15 fulltime employees on board. Lecturers excelled in their student evaluations, the Department experienced a dramatic increase in student numbers and participation in international conferences positioned the Department in the global arenas of Marketing Management and Communication Management. International assessments of the Department in both disciplines confirmed that it kept pace with global trends and that the academic courses were sustainable, practical and current.
Between 2009 – 2010 Prof Puth returned as Head of Department and during 2012 the Department of Marketing and Communication Management became two separate entities– the Department of Marketing Management and the Communication Management Division. The latter forms part of the Department of Business Management, but currently operates as an independent academic entity within the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.
Prof Anské Grobler acted as head of the Division after its inception and in 2013 Prof Ronél Rensburg was appointed as Programme Coordinator and Head of the Division. The Communication Management Division at the University of Pretoria is regarded as a global thought leader, and is locally and internationally known as the "Pretoria School of Thought". The Division specialises in strategic communication and reputation management and their manifestations in governing stakeholder relationships in the world of work. Notable research and academic contributions have been made by staff to the King Reports of Corporate Governance, Integrated Reporting and recently to communication and reputation management during state capture.
The Division is rapidly growing its postgraduate student numbers and is establishing itself as a specialisation area of choice amongst current and future communication management scholars and professionals.