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Since 1975, the Commission for Public Relations Education (CPRE) has been at the forefront of public relations education through publication of research-based recommendations identified by an independent body of public relations educators and practitioners. Today, the CPRE is comprised of 65 academics and professionals representing universities, organizations, and associations, including representatives from:

Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State
Arthur W. Page Society
Association for Public Relations Education, Public Relations Division
Canadian Public Relations Society
European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA),
Global Alliance
Institute for Public Relations
International Communication Association, Public Relations Division
National Black Public Relations Society
National Communication Association, Public Relations Division
Public Relations Society of America
Public Relations Society of America, Educators Academy
Public Relations Society of America Foundation
Public Relations Society of America, Educational Affairs Committee
The Plank Center at the University of Alabama
Universal Accreditation Board

As a leading resource, past CPRE reports provided a close look at graduate and undergraduate education in public relations. The 2012 report on graduate-level public relations education took the leadership role in providing standards for the high number of graduate public relations programs across the globe, many of which were started in the past ten years. The 2006 report on undergraduate education is still used to help set standards for chartering the 340 plus PRSSA chapters in universities.

As co-chair of CPRE along with Del Galloway, we are working with a steering committee and a large team of educators and practitioners to write the next report dedicated to undergraduate education. The following chapters in this report are being studied and written by subject matter experts:

Course Content (led by Sandy Duhè)
Diversity (led by Kathy Lewton)
Ethics (led by Denise Bortree)
Faculty Credentials (led by Ken Plowman)
Global Implications (led by John Paluszek)
Governance & Academic Support (led by John Forde)
Internships (led by Tina McCorkindale)
Online Education (led by Terry Flynn and Carolyn Kim)
Outcomes (led by Julie O’Neil)
Professional & Pre-Professional Associations (led by Spiro Kiousis)
Professional Certification & Accreditation (led by Judy Phair)
Research (led by Karla Gower)
Technology (led by Emily Kinsky)
Theory (led by Elizabeth Toth)

In September 2016, we will launch a survey for both academics and professionals that will help inform this report. With our global effort, the CPRE will continue to serve as the leader in public relations education by helping universities and colleges around the world prepare our students for careers in public relations. The field of public relations has greatly evolved over the past ten years, so providing updated recommendations is quite needed. For example, the 2006 report indicated that few public relations courses were being taught online and there was not a complete undergraduate program online, but today we know that most universities have multiple public relations courses online and many have complete degrees online. While we expect the core courses being taught to remain the same, it is likely that we may see some shifts in skills the students need to acquire and characteristics needed for their post-graduation jobs. This is an exciting time to be in public relations, and the Commission on Public Relations Education is a great resource to help educators keep on pace with the profession.

Marcia W. DiStaso, Ph.D., APR, is the director of the Institute for Public Relations Social Media Research Center and an associate professor at Penn State University. Follow her on Twitter @mdistaso.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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