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Public Relations Program to Undergo Re-Certification
By Adam Austin
2017 is the year the School of Communication’s undergraduate public relations program must be re-certified.
The program, which has been certified since 2004, is one of a handful nationally. Only 37 undergraduate programs are certified, and only four master’s programs are.
In Virginia, the only other universities with certified programs are Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University.
The certification is granted by the Certification in Education for Public Relations. CEPR was established in 1989 by the Public Relations Society of America PRSA. CEPR’s certification standards are based on the recommendations of the Commission on Public Relations Education.
Dr. Lynn Zoch, the former director of SOC is overseeing the time-consuming re-certification process. As a public relations expert, she already has prior experience putting this together. Zoch said she spent all of the fall semester making sure things were right.
“We have to answer a lot of questions on eight standards,” Zoch said.
Beyond addressing the eight standards, Zoch noted, “there has to be an academic reviewer and one professional in the PR field that comes to visit the school.”
These reviewers are expected to come at the end of March and will sit in on class lectures, as well as meet with the dean and the provost.
Zoch believes one of our greatest strengths is our alumni. “They come back and speak all the time, they’re very supportive of the students.”
She hopes this will give us a leg up on re-certification. The re-certification process occurs every six years.