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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh public relations program, housed in the journalism department, has become the first in the state to be certified through Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR), an outside review sponsored through the Public Relations Society of America.

Since CEPR was established in 1989, 29 universities have been recognized as having certified undergraduate public relations programs, including four outside the United States. UW Oshkosh is the only Wisconsin school on this list.

The CEPR process takes about one year. To be CEPR, a program must address eight standards including curriculum, faculty, public relations students and resources. A preliminary report precedes a site team review that includes on-campus meetings with faculty, administrators and students. Reviewers also call local professionals and PRSA members to learn their evaluation of graduates from the public relations program and to ask former students about their educational experience. A total of 45 interviews were conducted for the UW Oshkosh review.

The site team noted in its report that the public relations program “enjoys an outstanding reputation from its own students, faculty, alumni and local and regional public relations professionals that interact with the public relations program. A dedicated and experienced faculty and staff, and strong support from the college and the university, further add to the program’s strength, as does the impressive engagement of alumni, local professionals and local businesses and community-based organizations.” In regard to students, the report said “Professionals and professors interviewed think highly of UW Oshkosh students. They shared that students are well-educated, well-rounded, hard-working, want to make a difference, choose projects that make an impact, think big, are devoted to public service and honor their professors and the local public relations community. They are also described by local professionals as being ‘quietly confident, with no arrogance.’”

Certification will be officially conferred during the 2011 Public Relations Society of America conference to be held in Orlando this month.

Dr. Julie Henderson/Journalism, submitted this announcement. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to contribute calendar items, campus announcements and other good news to UW Oshkosh Today.