Public relations program receives certification at international conference

When the public relations industry converged on Philadelphia Oct. 26-29, Temple University played a starring role.

During those four days, the city played host to the International Public Relations Society of America Conference. A silver-level sponsor of the conference, Temple has secured its place as an important part of the future of public relations. The PR program within the School of Media and Communication’s Department of Strategic Communication officially earned the PRSA’s Certification in Education for Public Relations. Only 32 other PR programs in the world have received this certification.

“Our public relations program is approaching a level that can be described as exacting, compelling and rigorous,” said Professor Cornelius B. Pratt, department chair.

The certification is something to which future students should be attracted as they search for a college program that fits their needs.

“It should offer a high level of confidence in the quality of the education that we will provide them,” Pratt said.

He said the depth and breadth of the department’s five full-time public relations faculty members, two of whom are accredited in public relations, were key factors in receiving the certification. All five have practical public relations experience.

Brianna Rooney of Ambler, Pa., is a senior in the public relations track. As president of the Temple Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, she understands what the certification means for her degree.

“Hearing that PRSA is offering its support to our program is beyond exciting,” she said. “It brings great and necessary attention to the program and everything that it offers to students. It is a huge testament to the program, department and school and makes me so proud to be part of something so great.”

Strong SMC presence
Temple was visible throughout the conference. SMC Dean David Boardman made introductory remarks at the all-conference networking luncheon. This opportunity enabled the new SMC dean to introduce himself to more than 2,500 international communications professionals, and tell them a little bit about Temple and its undergraduate and graduate programs. That same afternoon, adjunct instructor Amanda Bednar presented a workshop on non-profit and association PR at the Public Relations Student Society of America conference, which was held concurrently with the professional conference.

Additionally, Heather LaMarre, assistant professor of strategic communication, presented a workshop on “Defining Corporate Character Advocacy on Character Reputation and Relationships” at the professional conference.

More than 40 of SMC’s PR students registered for the student conference. Members of Temple’s PRSSA chapter, student-run PR firm PRowl Public Relations and the Temple chapter of the Black Public Relations Society were intimately involved in planning ways to get the most out of the school’s sponsorship. They staffed tables throughout both conferences, promoting SMC’s graduate and PhD programs. Additionally, students surveyed conference attendees to see what they know about Temple.

Kaitlyn Sutton, PRowl firm director, said she and her fellow students were focused on networking at the conference.

“For many of us, this will be our first time interacting with professionals within the field,” Sutton said. “I think the other main benefit is the chance to explore new realms for the PR world that we may have not thought about before. Being exposed to professional development sessions at such a young age, I feel that we will be gaining an advantage over other students who do not have this opportunity during their college career.”

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