Huntington, Ind.— Heather Barkley, assistant director of public relations at Huntington University, has earned Accreditation in Public Relations by successfully completing a rigorous examination process administered by the Universal Accreditation Board.
Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is a voluntary certification program for public relations professionals. According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), accreditation is “the mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice, and who are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and sound professional judgment.”
“Obtaining accreditation is a sign of Heather’s desire to maintain high standards for herself and for the public relations profession,” says Katherine Coble, APR, co-chairman of the accreditation committee for the Hoosier PRSA chapter. “We look forward to her continuing contributions to the profession and to PRSA.”
The accreditation program aims to improve the practice of public relations by assessing competence in 60 areas of knowledge, skill and ability. Candidates must present a portfolio to a Readiness Review Panel of three peers and successfully complete a computer-based examination. Approximately 5,000 professionals worldwide have earned the APR designation.
“All of us at Huntington University are extremely proud of Heather for this significant professional achievement,” said John Paff, APR, executive director of communication and executive assistant to the president. “Heather is one of the most hard-working, diligent, and ethical individuals I know. I am honored to have her as my colleague, and grateful for the many creative ways she advances the mission of Huntington University."
As assistant director of public relations, Barkley has responsibility for dissemination of University news to both external and internal audiences. Working closely with the regional press, she develops announcements about campus events and feature stories about University students, staff, faculty, and alumni. A skilled writer and editor, she publishes the weekly Campus Bulletin and the monthly Academe newsletter and is a regular contributor to Huntington University Magazine. She also provides articles for the University’s recruitment materials and Web site.
Barkley coordinates the University’s response to various college-ranking surveys, including those of The Princeton Review, FORBES, and U.S.News & World Report. In addition, Barkley serves on the Web Development Team, Marketing Task Force, Crisis Management Team, Commencement Planning Team and Community Enhancement Team. She also teaches an introductory communication course and manages the public relations practicum in the Huntington University Department of Communication.
Barkley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Olivet Nazarene University in 2001. As a student, she served three consecutive terms as the executive editor of the GlimmerGlass, the campus newspaper. During and after her senior year of high school, Barkley was a freelance writer for the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette (Lancaster, Ohio). From 2001-2003, she served as the business reporter for the Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.). Following that position, she worked as a case manager for adults who have mental illnesses at Thresholds, Inc. (Kankakee, Ill.) and Park Center, Inc. (Fort Wayne, Ind.). She joined the Huntington University staff in 2005.
Accreditation in public relations began in 1964 as an initiative of the Public Relations Society of America. Since 1998, the program has been administered by the Universal Accreditation Board. Nine public relations and communication organizations now are members of the UAB, including the Agricultural Relations Council, Asociación de Relacionistas Profesionales de Puerto Rico, Florida Public Relations Association, Maine Public Relations Council, National School Public Relations Association, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Religion Communicators Council, Southern Public Relations Federation, and Texas Public Relations Association.
“Earning the APR reflects a mastery of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to succeed in our increasingly complex profession,” said Marisa Vallbona, ARP, 2007 chair of the Universal Accreditation Board. “Practitioners who achieve the designation are demonstrating their commitment not only to our profession, but also to a strong code of ethics and to the betterment of their organizations and clients.”
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