Southeast Public Relations Program Earns Recertification


The public relations option in Southeast Missouri State University’s mass communication program has been recertified by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

The Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) is administered by PRSA and follows a self-study and four-day review by a two-person site visit team last fall. The program was recommended for recertification and unanimously approved by the PRSA Board of Directors in January.

The recertification will be officially presented at a ceremony in October at the PRSA International Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Rhonda Weller-Stilson, dean of the Holland College of Arts and Media, said, “Recertification is validation of the outstanding work of Southeast’s public relations program in preparing students for careers in industry and other settings. We are very proud of what this program continues to accomplish.”

The recertification announced today is for six years. Southeast’s undergraduate program in public relations received initial certification in 2006 and was recertified in 2012.

“For decades, the public relations program at Southeast has been a leader in its field, and this recent accolade is evidence that it remains so,” said Dr. Pam Parry, professor and chair of the Department of Mass Media.  “Congratulations to the faculty for providing such an exemplary program.”

Southeast’s public relations program is housed in the Holland College of Arts and Media in the Department of Mass Media.  The degree offered is a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication-Public Relations. Coursework in the program includes principles, writing, ethics, production, research and strategy, strategic communications issues, and campaigns and case studies. The program also offers a variety of experiential learning options, including service-learning opportunities, and experience with the recently rejuvenated student-run firm, Riverfront PR.

In a letter to program administrators, Mickey Nall, co-chair of the PRSA Educational Affairs Committee, commended Dr. Susan Gonders, professor of mass media, as the program coordinator whose leadership and stewardship since 1994 have resulted in building, rebuilding and continued evolution of Southeast’s public relations program.

Faculty and staff identified strong diversity initiatives as a strength of the program. The program has long maintained strong diversity in the student population, and special topics guest instructors have added diversity among faculty, Nall wrote. The program also offers opportunities for global perspectives through study abroad, encouraging international students majoring in public relations and focusing on global studies.

CEPR is dedicated to the continual improvement of public relations education to better prepare the next generation of practicing professionals.