Greenlee’s PR degree program receives approval for PRSA Certification in Education for Public Relations

The first Greenlee students to declare their majors in PR did so at a celebratory event with the University Registrar in Hamilton Hall in 2013.

AMES, Iowa—Iowa State’s Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication was informed today that its undergraduate public relations degree program has been approved for certification by the Public Relations Society of America Board.

In making the announcement, Susan Gonders and Mickey Nall, PRSA Educational Affairs co-chairs, praised site visit reviewers Robert Pritchard, University of Oklahoma, and Jill Alexander, corporate communication professional, for their thorough review and comprehensive report.

“This is fabulous news,” said Michael Bugeja, Greenlee director. “We’re one of the select educational programs in the country to enjoy accreditation from the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, as well as certification from PRSA.” Bugeja also noted three other PR hallmarks of the Greenlee program. “We offer a degree in the discipline, not just a major. That’s important because the words ‘public relations’ appear on the diploma rather than only on the transcript. Moreover, we have endowed PR scholarships in addition to an award-winning, endowed chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America.”

“We are delighted to have this distinction,” said Barbara Riedesel Iverson, after whom the ISU PRSSA chapter is named. “PRSA certification ensures that our graduates have the requisite skills entering the profession.” Iverson, former president of Weber Shandwick’s financial services industry practice, and a 1976 ISU journalism graduate, also is president of the Greenlee Advisory Council, which will celebrate the certification at its Fall 2017 meeting.

Bugeja praised Erin Wilgenbusch, APR, senior lecturer, and Alyssa Rutt, program coordinator, for their work in assembling the unit’s self-study and in arranging the site team visit. “The faculty and staff made itself available, too, sharing their advising and teaching methods. They excel in the classroom and help arrange and oversee prestigious PR internships for our majors.”

Wilgenbusch added, “This validates what we have always known about our program. We integrate ethics and research with practical experience that benefits our students who work in Iowa, the nation and the world.” She said the designation also underscores the value of the Greenlee PRSSA chapter, giving students pre-professional opportunities. “It’s all aligned with the land-grant mission at Iowa State.”

More than 300 majors are enrolled in the public relations degree program.

Rutt, who also heads the School’s Student Advisory Board, said, “This just adds another level of value to our program. It elevates us one more notch in the hierarchy of mass communication programs.”

PRSA has invited two representatives to be the guests for the Oct. 7 Assembly luncheon and the official conferring of certification in Boston, Massachusetts. The Iowa State logo and photos of the Greenlee School will be included in a big-screen presentation at the Assembly and the conferring of certification ceremonies.