Lois A. Boynton joined the faculty in 2001 and teaches ethics and public relations classes. She 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 for Innovation in Teaching in 2014 and the David Brinkley Teaching Excellence 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 UNC’s Rethink: Psychiatric Illness. Additionally, Boynton serves on the school’s ABIDE (Access, Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity) committee and its information sharing subcommittee.

Her research focuses on ethical decision making by public relations practitioners and journalists, as well as the topics of professionalism, social responsibility and the need and impact of DEI initiatives.

Boynton’s work has appeared in academic journals including Public Relations Inquiry, Communication Yearbook, Public Relations Review, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Journal of Public Relations Education, Journal of Women’s History, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, International Journal of Strategic Communication, PRism and International Journal of Business Communication.

She also has authored/co-authored 11 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, North Carolina, and later as a public relations/advertising supervisor for the tech company Siecor Corp., now Corning Cable Systems, in Hickory, North Carolina.

She continues her work in public relations by providing pro bono assistance to clients and events that have included Meals on Wheels of Durham, the College Roadmap book launch, North Carolina Association of Government Information Officers, and the Orange County Health Department.

She is a member of the public relations division of AEJMC and is an associate editor of its newsletter PR Update. She also holds membership in the media ethics division of AEJMC, as well as the 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


  • Boynton, L. A. (in press). How free and how responsible? The 75th anniversary of the Hutchins Commission Report. In H. Schmidt (Ed.). Issues facing contemporary American journalism: History, context, and perspectives. Taylor & Francis.
  • Mahan, S. L., and Boynton, L. A. (in press for December 2023 publication). Woman’s Era as literary change agent for Black womanhood and enfranchisement at the close of the nineteenth century. Journal of Women’s History.
  • Boynton, L. A. (publication 2023). Ethical relationships and responsibilities contribute to social good. In B. W. McKeever (Ed.). Public relations for public health and social change. Taylor & Francis.
  • Boynton, L. A., and Rhew, A. (2021). Friend of the victim: The case of the murdered student. In L. A. Peck, G. S. Reel, N. Frederick, and W. Schulte (Eds.). Media Ethics in Action: True Stories from Young Professionals, 3rd ed. Great River Learning.
  • Boynton, L. A., and Carter, M. (2021, December). The pandemic pivot: How teachable moments in a service-learning course provided an opportunity for student growth. Journal of Public Relations Education, 7(3).
  • 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.