I sometimes think adults convince themselves that learning stops at graduation. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think, too, that we often assume we have nothing to learn when we are in the position of teacher, appraiser or reviewer, but that’s not true either.
Five years ago as our program began working toward PRSA program certification (CEPR, http://prssa.prsa.org/about/Certification), I never dreamed my efforts would land me on the other side of the certification review process. But it did. Not only was the UCM public relations program certified by PRSA last fall (one of 38 world wide which is a hallmark of our program’s excellence and engaged learning), my deep involvement in our own process led me to a CEPR reviewer opportunity at Ohio Northern University (www.onu.edu) on behalf of its public relations program.
I just got back from that trip where I was one of a two-member team commissioned to perform a recertification review. ONU’s initial 2009 certification was up for recertification per CEPR mandates. Just as it did in 2009, ONU’s public relations program met and exceeded CEPR standards. And, just as I got a better grip on UCM’s public relations program’s focus and student value during our own review process, I was brought to a larger understanding of any program’s ability to serve and cultivate students while I worked to review ONU’s PR program. I learned so much about what we could do and how we could do it. It was great to get the ONU perspective.
I came home from that trip a more informed educator; I also came back full of ideas about helping the UCM public relations program do even more to serve student needs and professional goals. While the certification or accreditation processes may loom large as a chance to prove your program’s worth, they also loom large as an opportunity to educate reviewers like me.
Dr. Tricia Hansen-Horn