Recognizing the quality of the education students receive to help them in career advancement, the University of Central Missouri’s Public Relations and Strategic Communications program has been named to the PRNews 2023 Education A-list.

This is the second consecutive year UCM’s program has received this designation, making it the only such program offered at a public Missouri institution to be recognized, and one of only 50 programs nationwide to earn a spot on the list.

The A-list highlights public and private institutions that are doing an excellent job training future PR and marketing professionals. UCM joins a roster of institutions that are known nationwide and have strong programs in PR and marketing communications, including Alabama, American University, Loyola, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, Temple, and more to be recognized for PR and marketing communications. All of them offer certificates, bachelors, masters or doctorates.

“It's an honor that the University of Central Missouri Public Relations and Strategic Communication program has been named to PRNews's 2023 Education A-list for the second year in a row,” said Tricia Hansen-Horn, coordinator of UCM’s Public Relations and Strategic Communications program. “Our PRSA CEPR certified curriculum and excellent faculty, as well as our innovative approach to education through hands-on classroom experiences, a guided internship program, and student-led Innovative PR (IPR) agency all contribute to the excellent education that we offer.”

Hansen-Horn also attributed the program’s success to its “great alumni and talented students.” She noted the value of different options available for students to pursue their education.

“Students wanting a traditional campus experience can elect our on-campus program. Those wanting to join us from other states or countries can enroll in our innovative online program,” she said.

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In establishing its roster of A-list programs, the PRNews editorial staff considered factors such as curriculum, diversity, faculty composition, academic awards and capstone courses. It also considered on- and off-campus opportunities for students, as well as internships. Additionally, the editors looked at how well curricula reflected the changing nature of communication. A number of institutions listed, for example, offer programs in science, healthcare and sustainability.

The PRNews 2023 A-list provides an outstanding resource for students who are looking for opportunities to prepare for successful careers in public relations and marketing. The list is available online at prnewsonline.com/go/the-2023-education-a-list/.

Housed in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies, UCM offers a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and Strategic Communication, and in fall 2021 initiated the MBA in Public Relations to provide expanded opportunities for individuals to obtain knowledge and skills needed to pursue public relations and strategic communication careers.

The undergraduate program curricula has received global Certification in Education for Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America, helping to ensure students are exposed to a curricula that will prepare them for the ever-changing challenges they will face as professionals in a competitive field that is packed with opportunities for individuals with the right skills"

“Considering the spotlight on communication, it's not coincidental that PR is among the most popular majors at the 255 U.S. colleges and universities that offer it. Indeed, institutions awarded some 21,000 undergraduate PR degrees last year,” says Seth Arenstein, editor of PRNEWS. “It is our goal that prospective PR pros and those seeking additional training will find the 2023 Education A-List valuable."

UCM graduates of the Public Relations and Strategic Communications program not only take pride in their alma mater being recognized among institutions on the PRNews A-list, but attribute the program to their own professional growth. Among them is Lindsey Gillespie, who graduated with her Bachelor of Science on Dec. 10, 2022. While spending her last semester taking classes and participating as a student member of IPR, she continued to gain additional experience that have helped her build an impressive resume.

"The PRSC program allowed me the flexibility of completing my schoolwork at my own pace, while being able to live my life the way I wanted to,” she said. “Instead of being on campus, I was able to move to Orlando, Florida to participate in the Disney College Program and also travel the country while gaining real-world experience and forming connections in the career field I hope to work in one day. Classes being moved online for the spring 2020 semester was a blessing in disguise for me and I cannot thank the PRSC program enough for the endless amount of support and guidance."

Learn more by contacting Tricia Hansen-Horn at 660-543-8635 or Hansen-horn@ucmo.edu. Also visit the Public Relations and Strategic Communication website at ucmo.edu/prsc. For more information about the A-list, visit prnewsonline.com

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