Southeast Professor Selected to Co-Chair International Public Relations Certification Subcommittee

Photo of Dr. Susan Gonders

Dr. Susan Gonders is a professor of mass communication at Southeast Missouri State University.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 20, 2007 — Dr. Susan Gonders, professor of mass communication at Southeast Missouri State University, has been selected to co-chair the international Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) Subcommittee for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). 

The announcement was made by PRSA President Rhoda Weiss, of Rhoda Weiss Public Relations in Santa Monica, Calif.

Gonders is co-chairing the CEPR Subcommittee with Judith Bogart, former public relations director for Young & Rubicam and vice president for public relations with Jewish Hospital of Cincinnati, Ohio. Bogart has co-chaired the CEPR subcommittee for many years. Gonders replaces Laurie Wilson of Brigham Young University as the educator co-chair.

The goal of PRSA’s Educational Affairs Committee is to increase the number of university public relations programs that begin the process of seeking CEPR status and whose site visits would take place during the 2007-2008 academic year.

“We will be in charge of everything for CEPR – standards for certification, reviews, decisions – and policy for dealing with universities that have applied from several countries,” Gonders said.

CEPR, which is administered by the PRSA, is a certification process for public relations programs at colleges and universities worldwide. CEPR is granted by the PRSA Board of Directors.

The public relations option in Southeast’s mass communication program was certified last year by PRSA, and Gonders spearheaded the certification process. Southeast was the only program that made it through the spring 2006 review process and is now just one of 19 public relations programs with PRSA/CEPR certification.

“Eight months ago we were trying to get certification, and now I will be the chief educator in charge of conferring certification,” Gonders said.

One professional and one educator head the program for Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR).

Dr. Stuart Towns, chair of the Department of Communication at Southeast, said, “This is a just reward and recognition for all the outstanding work Susan has done for CEPR and the profession in general over the years and a token of the wide and deep respect her peers have for her.  We are honored to have her on our faculty.”