KPU’s Redesigned Public Relations Diploma Emphasizes Cultural Awareness

The program will teach students ethics and responsible business practices in PR and communications

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The Public Relations program at KPU has undergone a major redesign to ensure students have the skills and awareness they need before they enter the workplace. In September, the program will launch online due to COVID-19.

The PR Diploma is a two-year program that consists of 60 credits, half of which focus on PR education. Remaining credits will go towards business education and a range of electives.

Andrew Frank is a Public Relations professor at KPU. He says the program was redesigned because the Ministry of Education requires university programs to be reviewed on a regular basis.

When the faculty reviewed the program, they noticed they had to make some changes. Frank says half of the PR courses are brand new and half are completely redesigned.

“The review usually includes speaking to industry groups, speaking to alumnus, speaking to students,” he says. “Teaching the program, we knew there were changes we wanted to make as well.”

The faculty also discussed the changes with their professional advisory committee, which is made up of leaders from the public relations and communications industry.

The program emphasizes responsible and ethical communications, contemporary social movements, and decolonization in the Canadian context.

Frank says the faculty made sure to add new classes to the program, including a mandatory Indigenous Studies course. They also included courses that can be put towards achieving other degrees at KPU.

“We are hoping that the new program will graduate communicators who are very culturally aware and who are committed to helping achieve social justice,” he says.

With a Diploma in Public Relations, students can be prepared to work as a communications officer, communications manager, social media manager, social media specialist, content writer, or public information officer.

“We basically made a program that we think is a lot more flexible. It gives more options to students. It increases the experiential education component by adding co-op,” he says.

The diploma’s paid co-operative education option gives students the opportunity to apply the skills gained during their academic year. They can either take the diploma by itself or add it to their Bachelor’s degree.

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