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PR emier

A monthly publication of the Illinois State University Chapter of PRSSA

By Ashley Funderburk

CEPR standards are based on curriculum, faculty, resources and facilities, students, professional relationships, strength of the institution’s PRSSA chapter, and other factors. Faculty are graded on their credentials and resources used in class. Students are judged on how well they retain the knowledge and skill sets taught in the academic program. The quality of student learning and the academic program is not only a goal for PRSA, but also the purpose of the CEPR accreditation. The process for accreditation takes about a full year, from the time someone starts preparing the application for accreditation to the time a decision is made to confer or not to confer accreditation on a PR program. Illinois State applied in November 2012, and a two-person review team visited campus in late March 2013 to evaluate the program. The PRSA Educational Affairs Committee thoroughly reviewed the team’s report and ISU’s original application for accreditation. The committee made its final decision to approve ISU for CEPR accreditation on September 3, 2013. Illinois State will have to reapply for CEPR every five years to ensure the continued strength of the

Becoming CEPR accredited recognizes the strength of the faculty and students in Illinois State’s public relations program. Having an active, nationally recognized Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter (PRSSA) also helped during the review process. The Chapter is nationally recognized and has received the Star Chapter award three out of the last four years at the PRSSA National Conference. Becoming CEPR will strengthen ISU’s academic program and benefit students, faculty and the profession. CEPR can be instrumental in strengthening the program in various ways, from resources to curriculum. Faculty gain recognition as teachers in an accredited program. CEPR gives students an advantage in the competitive internship and job market because they came through an accredited program, while the profession benefits from better prepared entry-level personnel. Illinois State University was officially honored at this year’s PRSA National Conference in Philadelphia on Oct. 26. t

A LOOK INSIDE... kPRSA Chapter Meeting: Knowledge Hub for Students lMeet the Professor: Karla Huffman mA Festive and Friendly Social mMarch of Dimes nLetter from the Executive Board

Dr. Smudde, Advisor and Hailey Lanier, President accepting the CEPR certification

September/October 2013

The CEPR program was founded in 1999, with the goal of setting curricular guidelines that prepare students for the challenges of a career in public relations. The purpose is to establish credibility and trust between institutions and the public.

public relations program.

Being “number one” is a great achievement and a great responsibility to retain. Illinois State University is the first school in the state to be credited with a Certification in Education for Public Relations (CEPR) through the endorsement of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The PRSA sets “the global standard in public relations education.”

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Illinois State University Awarded CEPR Certification


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September/October 2013

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PRSA Chapter Meeting: A Knowledge Hub for Students By Lily Sherer

Learning, networking and delicious food were part of the dinner meeting that the Central Illinois Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America hosted in Peoria, Ill.,on September 26. The event provided a great opportunity for members of Illinois State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America Chapter to learn about advancements in journalism and public relations. The dinner was a networking success for members. PRSA represents a variety of members from many organizations. They were outgoing and enthusiastic to meet students of the chapter. Members were given the opportunity to network with professionals and make connections for future encounters. Executive Editor of the State Journal-Register Bob Heisse presented a refreshing angle on the relationship between public relations and journalism. Heisse debunked the age-old assumption that public relations professionals and journalists should be enemies. He said PR professionals and journalists can work hand-in-hand together if PR professionals focus on quality press releases which tell journalists exactly what they should know and what to write about, which makes the lives of journalists much easier. Heisse focused on the ways that the world of journalism is evolving. He made it very clear that journalism is not going away. “Journalism is not dying,” he said. In fact, he explained that readership among everyone, especially women, is actually on the rise. One reason Heisse offered is that people are still reading physical newspapers delivered onto their doorsteps every morning. This is because the home delivery aspect has always been, and still is, a great business model. People love the convenience and service of their newspaper delivery. There is something nostalgic about picking up your own personal newspaper every morning with your coffee and OJ. In addition to saying that newspaper delivery is not diminishing, Heisse explained that online news readership is increasing. This is one of the ways that the news business is evolving. He said that the two biggest trends happening right now consist of people getting their news online, as well as on their mobile devices. Hence, readership is increasing because it is available on multiple media platforms.

PRSSA members at the PRSA networking dinner


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A Knowledge Hub for Students (Cont’d.) With news space shrinking, journalists have to write differently than in the past,” Heisse said. “Gone are the long, gray columns of text in favor of a more visually appealing graphic page design with concise stories. Readers today need to digest a story in a matter of seconds, and if they cannot, they won’t need your paper anymore.” Heisse closed the evening by advising students to get as much experience as they can, even by volunteering.

Volunteering looks great on a resume, and every learning experience counts to make you a better-rounded professional,” Heisse said. PRSSA members had an enjoyable time at the PRSA networking dinner. The event provided a great networking opportunity for members, as well as gave insight about the field. The PRSSA chapter encourages all communication students to attend the networking dinners to help better their networking skills. t

Meet the Professor: Karla Huffman By Stacy Sullivan

With 14 years of real world experience, Karla Huffman is an excellent resource for public relations students at Illinois State University. An alumna herself, Huffman attended Illinois State University with the intention of becoming a social worker, but she never imagined she would find a love for communication. Huffman graduated in 1992, with an emphasis in mass communication, broadcasting and public relations. After graduation she became the assistant promotions and public relations director of WZND. She then found a job at WYZZ TV Fox 43 in Bloomington and was promoted to the director of marketing and promotions. Huffman promoted television shows, such as The Simpsons, 90210 and Star Trek: the Next Generation. “I coordinated and promoted the first Star Trek Convention in Central Illinois on behalf of the station, and had the privilege of promoting the NFL on FOX, when it came to the network for the first time,” said Huffman. Huffman’s experience at Fox opened her eyes to the challenges of media relations. She later took a job with a real estate office and hotel management company, which was a brief and “interesting” experience. Huffman decided to leave and work for her husband instead, a graphic designer with his own company. A year later, Huffman returned to ISU to receive her master’s degree in communication. “The program and faculty were stellar, and it turned me into a life-long learner and a teacher,” Huffman said. “I was offered a full time teaching position in 1999, and I’ve been teaching since.” Huffman currently teaches COM 268 Public Relations Writing and Production, COM 273 Media Event Planning and Promotions, and COM 269 Magazine Production and Design. Each

of these courses is required in one or more majors in the School of Communication. Outside teaching, Huffman spends time with her husband, Mark, and two children, Chandler, 13, and Graham, 8. One of her hobbies is coordinating the boys’ school carnival, trivia night, and school dance. Karla also enjoys reading and doing yoga in her spare time. “I’m very proud to be part of the School of Communication. The energy of the students keeps me young and the expertise and professionalism of my colleagues ignite my love for communication,” Huffman said. Karla Huffman’s successful career and passion for teaching make her a role model in the School of Communication. Her years of experience and welcoming personality have encouraged many students to pursue careers in the public relations industry. t


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September/October 2013

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A Festive and Friendly Social By Julie Florence

It was a thriller! On Saturday, Oct 12, the Illinois State University Chapter of PRSSA hosted its first social of the semester. The development committed planned the entire event from start to finish. The theme of the evening was, “A Chill and Thrill Kind of Night,” and it consisted of attending three different apartments. Members dressed up to celebrate the different themes of each apartment. The socials are a way to give members and their friends a chance to get to know each other better and mingle outside of Chapter meetings. The first stop was treasurer, Ryan Smart’s, apartment. Members and guests experienced a fall-themed party while indulging in pizza and cupcakes. Smart and volunteers did an excellent job giving the apartment a festive appearance with decorations-- there was even a hay bale! The next stop was social chair, Jessica Perri’s, apartment, decorated in a scary Halloween theme. Decorations included black lights and highlighter colored paint and cobwebs. The spooky decorations truly made it feel like a haunted house. Jessica also put a new twist on the popular party food, “pigs in a blanket,” by wrapping hotdogs in strips of crescent rolls to make them look like mummies. The last stop of the night was Candy Land, which was at director of development, Sarah McSheffrey’s, apartment. The apartment was decorated like a Candy Land game board. Wall decorations listed the names of the members who attended like game pieces. There was an assortment of candy out for everyone to enjoy, including glitter marshmallows. The first social was a success. Thank you to everyone who attended. Also, a big thanks to the members who offered up their apartments for the evening! t

March of Dimes

PRSSA members at the Festive but Friendly Social

By Becca Williams

Members of Illinois State University’s PRSSA chapter kicked off the fall semester with their first volunteer event, The March of Dimes Chef’s Auction. This event is the first of many opportunities the organization will have throughout the year to give back to the Bloomington-Normal community. Attendees enjoyed a fun evening and a rewarding experience.

The March of Dimes foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to healthy babies and pregnancies. The organization strives to inform mothers about carrying babies to fullterm as well as research aimed at preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. This event marked the 75th anniversary of the March of Dimes, and the organization is continuing to make great strides. They recently completed


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March of Dimes (Cont’d.) an initiative to eliminate preventable preterm births, which has significantly reduced the number of preterm births across the country. Attending this event was not only rewarding but also fun for members. The night started with an opportunity to indulge in food provided by local restaurants including Medici and Biaggi’s. Some of the foundation’s members spoke about the impact the March of Dimes has made on babies and families throughout the years. Following was a live auction and speed auction, during which PRSSA members helped run winning bid forms and met some of the attendees. t

Letter from Executive Board

PRSSA members at March of Dimes

By Melissa Fortes, Secretary

In every issue of PRemier, this column features a short article by one of the Chapter’s executive board members. The purposes of this column are to introduce you to the person holding a particular e-board position and summarize the work that person does through the role he or she fills. Choosing to join the Public Relations Student Society of America at Illinois State University my freshman year was one of the best decisions I made during my college career. Without joining this great organization, I would not have the opportunity to serve as secretary on the 2013-2014 executive board. As secretary, my responsibilities ensure a constant flow of communication is kept throughout the Chapter. These responsibilities include preparing weekly meeting minutes, managing the chapter email account, evaluating survey results and creating weekly presentations. Halfway into the first semester, I am realizing the true value of my duties and how I am personally benefitting from my position. Every week, I create an agenda for both executive board and Chapter meetings. In executive board meetings, I have found this task extremely helpful to provide a structure during discussions. We are constantly brainstorming new thoughts and bouncing off ideas from one another, an agenda helps keep us on track to what needs to be accomplished that week. At the same time, taking meeting minutes during our discussions allows for us to organize all these news ideas brought up and to plan when we can make it happen. The efforts made by executive board members to plan tours, workshops, speakers, socials, philanthropic events, fundraisers and other Chapter events demonstrate a strong commitment to our successful Registered Student Organization.

Melissa Fortes, ISU PRSSA Secretary


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September/October 2013

Letter from Executive Board (Cont’d.) Similar to Chapter meetings, I send out the meeting minutes to all members to recap what was discussed during the meeting. There’s always important information announced at Chapter. One of the purposes of sending out meeting minutes is to keep members from scrambling to write down information and just get excited for what’s happening next. Another of my specific duties as secretary includes designing, distributing and evaluating our chapter surveys. As a freshman, I didn’t understand the value of filling out the beginning of the year survey. I simply thought, “What is the executive board going to do with my answers?” Wow, was I wrong. After taking COM 297 Research Methods and COM 377 PR Campaigns, and holding my current position as secretary, I completely understand how important research is and the value of member input. Analyzing the data and presenting the survey results to the executive board was tremendously beneficial to helping us plan the rest of the year. Our beginning of the year survey presented data on what companies members want to tour, types of workshops they are interested in, how effective our recruiting methods are, any chapter socials they would like to attend, and what they hope to gain from joining PRSSA. The information we learned, as an executive board, from these surveys allows us to plan for what members want to get out of being involved in our RSO. I look forward to seeing the results from the end of this semester and going forward into next year! Holding this position on executive board is rewarding in many ways. I love working with an awesome group of leaders, keeping a flow of communication within our Chapter, improving my own personal organization skills and professionalism, and ,most important, working to serve our incredible group of members that are the key to what ISU PRSSA stands for. t

PRSSA 2013-2014 Executive Board

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THE NEXT ISSUE... wWhy Everyone Should Have a LinkedIn wFive Proper Ways to Use Twitter wDos and Don’ts of a Resume wTour Train

Volume 1

Profile for Illinois State University PRSSA

PRemier Newsletter: September/October 2013  

This issue of PRemier includes Illinois State University Awarded CEPR Certification, PRSA Chapter Meeting: A Knowledge Hub for Students, Mee...

PRemier Newsletter: September/October 2013  

This issue of PRemier includes Illinois State University Awarded CEPR Certification, PRSA Chapter Meeting: A Knowledge Hub for Students, Mee...

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