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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Certification in Education Recognizes High-Quality Public Relations Educational Experience

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 3, 2014)- The University of Central Missouri academic public relations program recently earned Certification in Education for Public Relations accreditation (CEPR) recognizing the quality-assurance endorsement of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

“It is a distinct honor to receive this certification from PRSA,” said Tricia Hansen-Horn, professor and coordinator of the UCM PR program. “Certification represents the culmination of a huge effort to ensure that our students and alumni are recognized for the dedication it takes to earn a UCM PR degree.”

UCM is one of 38 institutions to receive the PRSA certification, which is the global standard for public relations education. The rigorous process schools must undergo takes about one year and examines all facets of a degree program including eight standards of education ranging from curriculum to faculty background and experience to diversity/global perspective. The CEPR designation certifies that institutions provide the highest quality of education in public relations for students.

“Our examination of the program along with a two-day site visit to UCM told us a lot about the school and the people associated with the program,” said Joe Trahan, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA and CEPR committee member. “We met with students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and members of the regional public relations community.  We consistently heard that the UCM community is committed to making sure students experience public relations education at the highest level.”

The program is celebrating the CEPR news throughout the school year. As part of that celebration, alumni and students along with faculty and administrators were recognized and honored at halftime of the UCM Mules football game on Nov. 1. Many UCM public relations students, alumni and faculty also attended a reception and tailgate party prior to the game.  Deborah Curtis, provost and chief learning officer, was among the speakers.

She noted the rigorous process that was involved in the PRSA certification, and that curriculum content and instruction contributed to CEPR. She commended faculty and staff members for their hard work in making the public relations program successful.

“We see in this fine program all of our UCM reasons to believe, engaged learning, future-focused academics, worldly perspectives and culture of service. The public relations program at UCM is yet another shining example of faculty and staff investing in their expertise, time and energy as they engage our students along the path to learning to a greater degree,” Curtis said.

UCM alumni attending the CEPR festivities included Heather Woodard, class of 2003. She said that when she enrolled at Central Missouri, she was considering a nursing degree, but changed her mind after learning about the quality public relations program. She attributed her successful professional public relations career to mentorship she received from faculty members, including Hansen-Horn, who supported her throughout her studies and encouraged her to take advantage of learning opportunities outside the classroom. Woodard stressed that current students and alumni must make certain their prospective employers know about the CEPR designation.

“As a professional in this industry, it means companies should be paying attention to this department - if they aren’t already - and paying attention to our graduates,” Woodard said. “The CEPR dedication is a testament to the dedication our faculty and the department has made to this program.”

PR Group

Surrounded by program faculty, alumni, and current students, a plaque recognizing the University of Central Missouri's Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) from the Public Relations Society of America is presented by Deborah Curtis, front row, fifth from left, to Tricia Hansen-Horn, professor and coordinator of the UCM PR program. The presentation took place at half time during the UCM Mules home football game Saturday, Nov. 1, part of a day of activities celebrating CEPR.