Sean Flynt here, Accredited last month. I work in higher education and find that it’s like every other aspect of my career in nonprofit world. I do a little of everything, every day. I came to my field as an experienced writer but had to learn public relations on the fly. That worked for a few years but I recognized that intuition and barnstorming can take you only so far (and waste time and other resources along the way).
As a result of my commitment to the Accreditation process, I now work at a higher level. It’s not that I was doing wrong things before and now I’m magically doing right things. The APR process simply helped me organize what I was doing, showed me what best practice looks like and helped me think critically about all of it and put it to most efficient use. My director appreciates this and is giving me new responsibilities as a result.
For me, the most rewarding parts of the Accreditation process were the seminars I attended, the Readiness Review questionnaire and my engagement with cases. The seminars helped me clarify readings and feel that I wasn’t the only one wrestling with the process. The questionnaire was professional therapy. I had to dig deep and really think about my practice — what it’s been, what it is and what it should be. Testing my knowledge and skills with cases (real public relations problems drawn from the news and my own experiences) acclimatized me to the exam format and challenged me to think in terms of application in addition to discrete facts.
I had a very rewarding experience overall, but I now realize that Accreditation is a beginning rather than an end. So much yet to learn!
By Sean Flynt, APR, electronic news editor, Samford University.