Monmouth University’s undergraduate Journalism and Public Relations program in the department of Communication was awarded the Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) on Nov. 1.
Monmouth was awarded initial certification in 2010, making it one of just 50 programs worldwide with CEPR certification. Journalism and Public Relations faculty, Marina Vujnovic, Ph.D., A.P.R., Kristine Simoes, A.P.R., Mary C. Harris, A.P.R., Alexis Nulle, and John Morano, led the efforts for the rigorous review process and hosted the two evaluators who visited Monmouth in April 2023.
Established in 1989 as a voluntary program, CEPR offers academic programs the opportunity to have an outside evaluation team review and endorse undergraduate and master’s level programs for meeting eight standards in curriculum, faculty, students, resources and facilities, assessment, professional affiliations, relationships with the total unit and the university, and diversity and global perspectives. PRSA requires the program to be evaluated every six years by an outside review team consisting of a public relations educator and a public relations practitioner.
The evaluators met with Deanna Shoemaker, Ph.D., chair of the department of Communication; Aaron Furgason, associate professor and former chair of the department of Communication; Richard Veit, Ph.D., interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs; and David Hamilton Golland, dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences; as well as department of Communication alumni, students, staff, and faculty representing the related campus programs.
“Our program is firmly grounded in keeping current with evolving industry trends. Earning recertification ensures we continue to provide students with the skills they need for the careers they want,” said Simoes.
The CEPR evaluators linked the program’s effectiveness to its “dedicated, hard-working faculty who prepare students for successful careers.” The Monmouth Journalism and Public Relations curriculum was praised for its service-learning opportunities, which provide access to professional connections. The report noted the “expansive PRSSA offices, small class sizes, and high student satisfaction.”
Judy Phair, CEPR site reviewer and president of PhairAdvantage Communications LLC, commented, “[Monmouth’s Journalism and Public Relations program] prepares students to build strategic communications. We were impressed by the dedicated, talented faculty […] We’ve never heard so much praise from outside employers and internship providers regarding the student preparation from [Monmouth’s] program.”
Vujnovic accepted the accreditation on Monmouth’s behalf at a ceremony on Nov. 1. “Thank you to PRSA leadership and special thanks to our site visitors Judy Phair and Shelly Najor for their excellent reviews and feedback,” she said. “Thanks to our past chair, Dr. Aaron Furgason, and support from our current chair, Dr. Deanna Shoemaker. But most of all thanks to our fabulous faculty Kris Simoes, Mary Harris, Alexis Nulle, and John Morano, and our students whose talents and hard work make our program such a success.”