Sept. 4, 2012 – Two outside experts are visiting Virginia Tech Sept. 4-6 to assess how well the Department of Communication teaches public relations.
Robert Grupp, APR, and Robert Prichard, APR, Fellow PRSA, are to visit classes, interview students, talk to alumni and employers of public relations graduates, and meet with faculty members in communication and other departments. The goal is to determine if public relations instruction meets standards set by the Commission on Public Relations Education.
The Department of Communication applied in April for Certification in Education for Public Relations. The certification program, established in 1989, is a voluntary quality-assurance endorsement for public relations curricula at colleges and universities worldwide. Certified programs are in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America and New Zealand.
Certification must be renewed every seven years. Thirty undergraduate public relations programs, including two in Virginia, are certified. The Education Affairs Committee of the Public Relations Society of America administers the certification program.
Grupp is president of New York City-based Grupp Global Partners LLC, a management consultancy with a strategic focus on corporate and international public relations. He was president and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations. In 2008 he was president of the International Public Relations Association. He has been an executive with Cephalon Inc., Eli Lilly, Dow Corning and Consumers Energy in Michigan.
Prichard has been adviser since 2009 to Lindsey and Asp, the student-run advertising and public relations agency at the University of Oklahoma. Before that, he taught public relations at Ball State University. Prichard served 27 years as a U.S. Navy public affairs officer. He retired as a captain and director of public relations for the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. During his Navy career he managed military public relations activities in 73 countries.
Prichard is national academic adviser for the Public Relations Student Society of America.