MSU is First HBCU, Only Second Maryland University to Earn CEPR Distinction from Public Relations Society of America
BALTIMORE – The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community and principal advocate for industry excellence, ethical conduct and the advancement of its membered practitioners, has approved the recommendation for the School of Global Journalism and Strategic Communication’s (SGJC) Department of Strategic Communication (SCOM) at Morgan State University to receive the Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR).
Morgan is the first HBCU to earn this national recognition and is only the second university in Maryland to hold the CEPR.
“This is a remarkable achievement for SCOM and The School of Global Journalism and Communication,” said Jackie Jones, dean of School of Global Journalism and Strategic Communication. “The certification demonstrates our students are getting a world class education that is propelling them to professional excellence while at Morgan and when they graduate.”
Former SGJC Dean DeWayne Wickham, who stepped down on July 31, gave the initial approval for SCOM to seek the CEPR designation.
Earning this credential is recognition and a resounding endorsement that Morgan’s SCOM department is a leading program in preparing students for careers in public relations and related fields. It positions SCOM students to be more competitive as they graduate from Morgan and actively pursue their chosen fields within the broad communications industry.
A three-person team of national experts reviewed SCOM’s program earlier this year, culminating with an onsite visit in May by an evaluator for a firsthand assessment of the SCOM program. The team reviewed SCOM’s ability to meet eight CEPR standards: the curriculum, the faculty, resources, equipment and facilities, quality of the students, assessment, external professional affiliations, relationship with other units at the university, and diversity/global perspectives. In addition, the team conducted more than a dozen interviews with SCOM students, alumni, internship supervisors, employers, faculty, and administration during its review.
“They asked really tough questions about the types of experiences we were having in the classroom and at our internships,” said Iyanna Harris a May 2021 graduate. “As a student, I already knew we were in a department that was working hard for our success. This certification just validates the great academic experiences our majors are getting.”
Reviewers noted they discovered a department where, “faculty pushed [students] to be better, and then helped them find ways to actually do and be better.” The reported listed several positive comments from employers like, “MSU students are more prepared; they exceed expectations.”
“Of course, I am immensely proud of our SCOM faculty for their investment in our majors. The CEPR is a testament to their hard work and dedication,” said Dr. David Marshall, SCOM Chair. “But the reality is the ultimate kudos go to our talented students whose professionalism and academic achievements made this national certification possible.”
There are only 52 certified PR programs worldwide including six post-graduate and 46 undergraduate programs on five continents.
SCOM will officially receive its certificate at the Public Relations Society of America Annual conference this October in Orlando.
Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication began in July 2013. DeWayne Wickham, a former columnist for USA TODAY and a founding member and former president of the National Association of Black Journalists, served as its founding dean. The school is dedicated to giving voice to people who struggle to contribute to the public discourse that shapes the nation and the world through innovative teaching, cutting-edge research and exemplary service to Maryland, the nation and the world. The school seeks to instill students with the skills, knowledge, and training necessary to become effective communicators and to add to the diversity of thought in the media. In May 2020, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) voted unanimously to grant SGJC full accreditation.
SGJC’s Department of Strategic Communication, affectionately known as #scomup, is one of three academic units housed within the School and is focused on preparing students for careers in public relations, social media, entertainment communication, and digital related jobs.
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified high research (R2) institution offering nearly 120 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, and the only university to have its entire campus designated as a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.
Larry Jones or Dell Jackson, University PR