Public Relations Option Earns Certification


Photo of Mary Kalinowski giving a presentation

Mary Kalinowski, a Southeast student from St. Louis, gives a public relations presentation on the Missouri Botanical Gardens using PowerPoint software.


Sept. 1, 2006 – The public relations option in Southeast Missouri State University’s mass communication program was certified earlier this month by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

The Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) is administered by PRSA and was based on a written self-study and a three-day review by a two-person site visit. The program was recommended for certification in April and approved by the PRSA National Board in July.

The certification will be officially presented at the PRSA National Assembly Nov. 11 in Salt Lake City, Utah. A program at Virginia Commonwealth University also will receive its official certification in November.

Dr. Susan Gonders, Southeast professor of mass communication, said Southeast is the only program that made it through the spring 2006 review process and is just one of 19 public relations programs with PRSA/CEPR certification. Southeast will be up for recertification review in spring 2012.

Certification of Southeast’s public relations option in mass communication follows the announcement in

May 2005 of six-year accreditation of Southeast’s mass communicationprogram by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). The accreditation was for Southeast’s five professional-track options in mass communications – journalism, advertising, public relations, radio and video production.

Gonders said both review processes include examination of curriculum, resources, facilities, faculty qualifications and University support. Meetings are conducted with faculty, administrators, students and program advisors, and the team observes classes and lab work in progress. The site visit team also contacts area professionals, alumni and internship providers to confirm the quality of the program. ACEJMC accreditation and PRSA/CEPR certification are both subject to review every six years to assure that high standards are maintained.

“When our certification is officially presented this fall, Southeast will be the only university in Missouri with PRSA/CEPR certification,” Gonders said.

In addition, she said that in Missouri, ACEJMC accreditation is held by only the University of Missouri-Columbia and Southeast. Southeast is one of just nine programs nationally that hold both ACEJMC accreditation and PRSA/CEPR certification. The others are the University of Alabama, University of Maryland, Ball State University, Brigham Young University, California State-Fullerton, University of Memphis, Virginia Commonwealth University and Western Kentucky University.