Lois A. Boynton joined the faculty in 2001 and teaches ethics and public relations classes, is a fellow in the University’s Parr Center for Ethics, and was named to the University’s Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. She won the school's Richard Cole Service Award in spring 2018, Ed Vick Prize in 2014 and the David Brinkley Teaching Award in 2007.

She has advised PRSSA Bateman Competition teams, including the 2017 group that took the top award for a public relations campaign in support of the national organization, Campaign to Change Direction, and the UNC’s Rethink Psychiatric Illness.

Additionally, Boynton chairs the school's Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which in 2016, created diversity and inclusion mission and vision statements. http://www.mj.unc.edu/diversity_home

Her research focuses on ethical decision-making by public relations practitioners and journalists, professionalism and social responsibility. Other research interests include agenda building, persuasion and pedagogy.
Boynton’s work has appeared in academic journals including Public Relations Inquiry, Communication Yearbook, Public Relations Review, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, International Journal of Strategic Communication, and PRism. She also has authored/co-authored eight book chapters and has presented research papers at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), International Public Relations Research Conference and AEJMC Southeast Colloquium.

Prior to academia, Boynton worked as a reporter and features editor for the community newspaper Observer-News-Enterprise in Newton, N.C., and later as public relations/advertising supervisor for a tech company, Siecor Corp., now Corning Cable Systems.

She continues her public relations work as a volunteer with Cornucopia Cancer Support Center. She is a member of the Public Relations Division of AEJMC and is associate editor of its newsletter, PR Update. She also holds membership in the Media Ethics Division of AEJMC, International Communication Association, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and PRSA



  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • B.A., Lenoir-Rhyne College


  • Lee, T. H., and Boynton, L. A. (2017). Conceptualizing transparency: Propositions for the integration of situational factors and stakeholders’ perspectives. Public Relations Inquiry 6(3), 233-251.
  • Boynton, L. (2017, April 25). Semester of service: Wrapping up with National Volunteer Week. For AEJMC Public Relations Division blog. Accessible at http://aejmc.us/prd/2017/04/25/semester-of-service-wrapping-up-with-national-volunteer-week/
  • Boynton, L. A. and Rhew, A. (2016). Friend of the victim: The case of the murdered student. In Media ethics in action: True stories from new professionals. Eds: L. A. Peck and G. S. Reel. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: CQ Press.
  • Boynton, L. (2016, October). Trickle down ethics? Leadership’s role in setting a tone. PR Update 51(4), 14-15. Accessible at http://aejmc.us/prd/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2014/11/PR-Update-51-4-Oct-16.pdf . Also featured in the AEJMC Public Relations Division blog (12 October 2016) at http://aejmc.us/prd/2016/10/12/pr-update-lois-boynton-on-public-relations-ethics/.
  • Boynton, L. A. (2015) Ethical social media: The professional and personal you. Ed. Kishor Vaidya (ch. 17). Public relations and social media for the curious [e-book]. Curious Academic Publishing.
  • Boynton, L. A. (2013). Objectivity – Ideal or Unreal? In Media studies: Point/counterpoint. Eds. J. D. Greer and W. D. Sloan (pp. 159-174).
  • Boynton, L. A., and Knott, D. M. (2015). Teaching the fundamentals of public relations: Ideas for the introductory course. In B. Neff and T. L. Johnson (Eds.), Learning to teach: What you need to know to develop a successful career as a public relations educator (4th ed.). Public Relations Society of America Educators Academy and College of Fellows and the Educational Affairs Committee.