The West Virginia University Reed College of Media recently earned the Certification for Education in Public Relations (CEPR), making it one of only 39 certified programs internationally and the only certified program in West Virginia. This designation, which places WVU among the most elite programs in the world, reaffirms the College’s commitment to being a leader in modern media education.
The CEPR was established in 1989 by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) as a quality-assurance endorsement of public relations programs at colleges and universities worldwide. Diana Martinelli, Ph.D., associate dean at the College of Media, spearheaded the certification process which included a letter of intent, an application that detailed how the College meets the certification standards and a site review.
“We have such a strong faculty, tremendous facilities between Martin Hall and the Media Innovation Center, and a great PRSSA chapter with a long history,” Martinelli said. “The time was right.”
Reviewers Hilary K. Fussell Sisco, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Strategic Communication at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT, and Geri A. Evans, president of Evans PR Group in Longwood, FL, spent three days in Morgantown last fall. During the site visit, they observed several PR classes; had individual meetings with PR faculty members and Dean Maryanne Reed; spoke with College of Media advising and career support staff; toured College facilities; interviewed current students, alumni and internship employers; and conducted a Q&A session during a PRSSA meeting.
PRSSA is the student arm of PRSA, and WVU’s is one of the original chapters chartered in 1968. They’ve received numerous national recognitions and were recently awarded the opportunity to host a PRSSA regional conference which is set for March 28-31, 2019.
The thriving PRSSA chapter is just one of the factors that allowed the College of Media to meet certification standards which include curriculum; faculty; resources, equipment and facilities; students; assessment; professional affiliations; relationships with total unit and university; and diversity and global perspectives.
“We are constantly reviewing and evolving academic programs to ensure we are providing our students with a rigorous and relevant education that prepares them for the dynamic media marketplace,” Reed said. “The CEPR designation is another proof point that we are succeeding in our efforts.”
In the certification report, Sisco and Evans shared both praise and recommendations in each of the eight standard areas and summarized that the College of Media “offers a sound, insightful, career-building, challenging, and successful program for its public relations majors.”“This is a stamp of approval,” Martinelli said. “The recognition from the largest public association for PR professionals confirms that we’re providing a meaningful and rigorous curriculum for our students.”