Wayne State public relations program receives advantageous national accreditation


The undergraduate public relations program in Wayne State University's Department of Communication has been awarded Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) by the national governing board of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)


Wayne State's program is one of only two in Michigan to achieve this prestigious status and is the only one throughout metropolitan Detroit to hold this credential.


CEPR is a global mark of excellence in PR education. "This significant endorsement by the Public Relations Society of America places Wayne State in the ranks of the most rigorous academic programs in the world," said PRSA site reviewer and University of Oklahoma PR Faculty Member Bob Pritchard. "Congratulations to the faculty, staff, students and alumni of Wayne State on this significant achievement."


"This is a milestone for one of our most successful professional programs," said Matthew Seeger, dean of Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. "The PR community throughout Michigan has long recognized the strength of the program. With this accreditation, the program moves into the ranks of the elite."


In February 2015, a two-member site review team representing PRSA's education committee visited Wayne State's campus and issued a preliminary report. That document recognized the Wayne State program as a model that should be emulated nationally. The evaluators specifically noted the existence of a public relations learning community and the annual Ofield Dukes Diversity Summit. Four core faculty members, supplemented by the communication department's journalism and communication studies faculty, provide instruction for the department's 130 majors. The team also noted that the student body makeup is diverse in terms of race, gender, current occupation, and rural-to-urban backgrounds. 


"Diversity is part of our definition of excellence in public relations," said Lee Wilkins, chair of the Department of Communication."It was the program's diversity plus the dedication of the faculty and the strong connection to Detroit's professional community that ensured this national recognition." 


PRSA's Educational Affairs Committee strongly supported the Wayne State faculty's multi-faceted retention strategy as well, leading the committee to suggest in its report that the quantity of new public relations professionals coming out of this quality program should increase in the coming years.


"Heartfelt thanks go out to all of the professionals in the public relations community who support our students in so many ways," said PR Area Coordinator, Dr. Shelly Najor. "We also thank our alumni who continue to give back and PR faculty members at other institutions who sing our praises."


This exciting new credential for Wayne State's PR program is official as of July 11, 2015, and will be ceremoniously conferred to representatives of WSU's program by the Public Relations Society of America at its annual international conference in Atlanta in November.