McKenna Schray, Ph.D., public relations instructor in the College of Communication and the Arts, has earned Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) by successfully completing a comprehensive examination process governed by the Universal Accreditation Board.
The Examination for the APR measures a professional's knowledge, skills and abilities in the practice of public relations, which includes communication theory, planning, management science and ethics. Members with a recommended five years of professional experience can choose to take the voluntary certification program, which is administered by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
Many communications professionals strive for the APR distinction as it shows dedication and competency in the profession, as well as a drive to stand out from their peers. "I consider myself to be a lifelong learner so a natural next step for me was to earn my APR," said Schray, when asked why she decided to pursue this accreditation. "By doing so, I am able to demonstrate my professional competence and commitment to industry best practices. Plus, I am thrilled to be able to model to our public relations students a standard of excellence, both in and outside of the classroom."
Per Marian R. Faulk, APR Chair, Universal Accreditation Board, there are more than 5,000 active Accredited practitioners worldwide who have successfully pursued this voluntary certification. "It is indeed a symbol of distinction and professionalism to be able to use the APR designation," said Faulk.
No stranger to Seton Hall, Schray received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in public relations from the University, as well as her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, Management and Policy. She previously served as an adjunct instructor and associate director of engagement and experience for the College, and a graduate assistant for University Relations. Her early career includes professional experiences at Shoba, Scholastic, Coyne PR, MTV, and Comedy Central.
"We're fortunate to have Dr. Schray with us as she is an amazing classroom instructor for both our undergraduate and graduate PR programs," said Professor of Communication Renee Robinson, Ph.D. "This news further highlights her many gifts and accomplishments."
Schray was previously recognized by the New Jersey PRSA with a Pyramid Award for Media Relations and a Future Public Relations Professional of the Year Award. She was also responsible for writing and submitting the grant proposal for the College's Institute for Communication and Religion (ICR) to the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts; ICR was awarded the Regional Conference Grant in 2019.
Working closely with Seton Hall students, Schray acknowledges the importance of an organization like PRSA. "I became involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as an undergraduate at the University and have been an active member of PRSA over the past couple years," she said. "As someone who values lifelong learning opportunities, PRSA fulfills that desire and provides resources that support you for every stage of your career. I also enjoy the opportunity to connect with professionals and fellow educators."
For those just starting out in field of public relations or communications, Schray advises joining PRSSA and/or PRSA and looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. "Aspiring public relations professionals are entering a field that demands more," she said. "One way to distinguish yourself is to seek professional development and educational opportunities such as earning a Certificate in Principles of Public Relations or a graduate degree in our field."
About the College of Communication and the Arts
Seton Hall University's College of Communication and the Arts offers diverse, flexible undergraduate programs anchored in the humanities, featuring cutting-edge technology and innovative curricula, and provides opportunities for meaningful collaboration across disciplines. Students can explore emerging technologies as well as learn from industry professionals about the latest trends in the ongoing digital revolution that is affecting communication and arts' industries. For more information about the College's undergraduate programs, please contact Amanda Carcione.
The College currently offers graduate-level programs in Museum Professions and Communication, including the opportunity to pursue a unique area of study, including options in Public Relations, Digital Communication/Communication Technologies, and Communication in Organizations. In addition, four dual-degree options, including three accelerated master's/B.A. programs and a dual M.A. degree with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations are offered. For more information about Graduate Studies within the College of Communication and the Arts, please contact Dr. Ryan Hudes.