Kwantlen students help set the bar for professional communications

Wed, Nov 14, 2012


For immediate release

November 15, 2012

Kwantlen students help set the bar for professional communications

(Metro Vancouver, BC) - Have you ever wondered what defines a professional communicator? Just ask the five Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) public relations students and alumni who came together on November 6, 2012, to help set that bar.

The Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) has been working for two years to design a standardized public relations exam for new graduates, the only one of its kind in Canada. A pilot project was created to test the skills and challenges with the Public Relations Knowledge (PRK) exam before it is administered to Canadians next year. Participants from five post-secondary institutions across Canada, including KPU, took part in the project.

PR student, Danica Scott, was excited to play such an integral part in the test. “Passing this test highlights that I’m a high-level thinker,” she said. “It also shows that I apply PR knowledge beyond the operational day-to-day basics into overarching needs, such as crisis planning and strategic thinking.”

The PRK exam tests past students on in-depth knowledge of PR material, including crisis communications, ethical behaviour and social media applications. The two-hour exam combines multiple-choice with short-answer questions, case-study analysis, judgment and teamwork skills.

Passing the PRK gives both fresh graduates and practicing professionals an edge in the competitive market and provides added benefits, including:

  • being named on the CPRS national website
  • recognition at the national conference
  • name mentions in the CPRS national newsletter
  • uploading of that PR professionals CV into the CPRS Career File resume bank

KPU faculty member Ange Frymire Fleming has been accredited with CPRS since 2004 as an APR (Accredited Public Relations practitioner) and received her Fellowship (FCPRS) in May 2012. Frymire Fleming invigilated the exam and was inspired by the students’ engagement. “They were meticulous in their approach,” she noted. “These are committed students writing an exam a year before their time. What a testament to the department’s co-ordinator, Terri Smolar, who has built a rock-solid foundation of emerging PR practitioners.” A 20-minute post-exam debrief was held with the students, in which Frymire Fleming was able to assess “the high level of knowledge, confidence and skill sets of the five students.”

Kwantlen’s public relations program is a 60-credit diploma organized into four semesters. Students develop the basic skills, work habits and attitudes they need to succeed both as students and as PR professionals. Students apply their public relations skills to a variety of projects for clients, culminating in a one-month work experience in the public relations industry. For more information about this program, visit:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region for 30 years, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts and science, design, health, trades and technology, apprenticeships, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 18,000 students annually have a choice from over 200 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates and citations.


For more information about Kwantlen, contact:
Joanne Saunders
Director, Marketing and Communications
Tel: 604.598.6188