Alenka is Programme Director of the MSc Strategic Communication and Public Relations (Joint Degree with Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona) and teaches postgraduate modules on public relations and public communication theories, public affairs and advocacy, and research methods. She is Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK.
Her current research interest is in public relations, political and communication studies with a focus on public relations as an academic discipline; relationships between media and politics; gender in media and public relations; health communication and public communication of loss and mortality. She specialises in qualitative research, particularly expert interviews and framing analysis. Her research has been published in international academic journals Public Relations Inquiry, British Politics and Public Relations Review, edited books, professional public relations publications and regularly presented at academic conferences, including ECREA European Communication Conferences, MeCCSA conferences, EUPRERA congresses, BledCom symposia, British Sociological Association conferences and Political Studies Association conferences.
She currently supervises four PhD students: Rana Alomari, who is researching public diplomacy in Bahrain; Jackie Hadland, who is researching employability in journalism education in Scotland; Clare McKeown, focusing on images in anti-violence against women campaigns; and An-Chun Teng, whose PhD is in crisis communication strategies in food safety in Taiwan.
She is Co-Investigator in AHRC-MRC funded project Right to Health in Prison, an international trans-disciplinary and inter-sectoral research to address the health needs of prisoners, inform policy debates and identify cultural, communication and structural changes to improve access to healthcare in prisons. She was a Principal Investigator in the EU funded Erasmus+ AwarEU project (2016-2018), an international and interdisciplinary initiative to promote democratic values, intercultural understanding and active citizenship in the EU.
She joined the University of Stirling in September 2013 from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) where she was Senior Lecturer in Public Relations. Prior to UCLan, she worked as a Teaching Assistant and a Public Relations Adviser at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. She has spent shorter periods of time at Hogeschool Utrecht in the Netherlands as an Erasmus student and a visiting lecturer.
Alenka holds a PhD in the field of Social Sciences - Communication from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, an MSc in International Applied Communication from the University of Central Lancashire, UK, and a BSc in Communication Science - Marketing and Marketing Communication also from the University of Ljubljana.
For her undergraduate dissertation titled ‘International Comparison of Study Programmes in the Field of Communication Studies' she received EUPRERA (European Public Relations Education and Research Association) Jos Willems Award for best undergraduate dissertation in 2005.
Her PhD dissertation titled ‘Creating the Media Image of the President of State: The Role of Official Sources in the Process of Framing Television News' focused on the role of political advisers and public relations professionals in the media news framing. It developed an integrated theoretical framework of public relations and media / journalism framing processes, explored the relationships and interaction patterns between media and political institutions from a process-oriented perspective and discussed the political image creation and the influence of politics on media reporting.
She has been an Instructor of Expert Interviews at the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research) Summer Schools in Methods and Techniques since 2008 and has taught qualitative interview research at several universities and research institutes across Europe and beyond. In 2018, she won a prestigious ECPR Cora Maas Award for the best-evaluated course at the ECPR Summer Methods School.
Alenka is a member of ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association) Advisory Board. She was the ECREA General Secretary (2012-2016) and a member of the ECREA Executive Board (2009-2016).
Outside of academia, she has public relations experience and experience in broadcast media as a journalist, radio news director, overseas correspondent, television host, and ad copywriter.