Efforts by the Cameron University Communication Department to establish a chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America have been approved by the PRSSA national board of directors, making Cameron the sixth Oklahoma university overall and only the second regional public university in the state to affiliate with the organization. PRSSA is a pre-professional organization for students of public relations with more than 9,600 members in 284 universities across the country.
"This has been a goal of the Communication Department for a number of years," says Dr. Paul Crandon, assistant professor of communication and chapter advisor. Dr. Crandon notes, "One of the most important criteria in establishing a chapter is maintaining close ties with a parent chapter of our professional association, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). We regularly take groups of students to the monthly meetings of the chapter in Oklahoma City to give students a chance to network and make contacts with working professionals there."
An application for a chapter of the student organization must be sponsored by a chapter of the PRSA. The Cameron Chapter was sponsored by the Oklahoma City chapter of PRSA.
Jennifer Knapp of Duncan has been elected president of CU's PRSSA chapter. Tammy Anderson, Lawton, will serve as first vice president, and Tori Strecker, Chattanooga, is second vice president. Amanda Harris of Lawton is the chapter's secretary/treasurer.
The organization emphasizes the study of communication theory and practices, adherence to the highest ethical standards, and professional orientation and preparation for new graduates entering the field. It also provides students and program advisors a chance to compete for various awards on regional and national levels and to make connections with members in other chapters to exchange ideas.
For several years, the Communication Department has strengthened the concentration in Public Relations and Organizational Communication within the Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree. These curricular changes offer an even stronger academic program in a growing field with rich employment possibilities for CU students. The changes also brought CU into line with PRSA standards for a chapter of the student organization. CU students in the Public Relations Student Society, a prototype for the new chapter, under advisor Paul Crandon, have been energetically involved in service projects and public relations work in the community, which is also a PRSA standard for establishing a chapter.
Dr. Crandon also points out that having a chapter of PRSSA will further strengthen the program. "Affiliating with the national organization allows us to enhance the high quality education our students are already experiencing in Cameron's public relations concentration," he says. "Projects we're working on can now be entered into regional and national competitions, and our students will have the opportunity to attend national conferences and workshops that teach leadership development and hands-on public relations strategies from big names in the field. When our students become more familiar with the organization's structure, they might decide to run for a national office."
For information about the public relations concentration at CU, contact the Department of Communication at 581-2359.
November 23, 2009