College of Communications faculty member earns public relations accreditation

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Marcia DiStaso, an associate professor of advertising/public relations in the Penn State College of Communications, has successfully completed the examination for Accreditation in Public Relations, entitling her to use the APR professional designation.

The announcement was made by the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), a consortium of nine professional communication organizations that directs the competency certification program. The accreditation program aims to improve the practice of public relations by assessing competence in 60 areas of knowledge, skills and abilities associated with the profession.

The examination is designed for public relations professionals with five to seven years of job experience and/or a bachelor’s degree in a communication field. Candidates who successfully complete the rigorous process, including presenting their portfolio to a readiness review panel of three peers and sitting for a computer-based examination, are granted the APR.

Professionals earning the APR must maintain their credential through continuing professional development, providing leadership to the profession, and serving their local communities.

DiStaso joined Penn State’s faculty in 2007 after working in management and as a high-net-worth stock broker for the global investment management firm T. Rowe Price. She also has experience in agency, nonprofit and university public relations. She currently has an active consulting business primarily focusing on social media. She has taught in higher education for more than 11 years.

DiStaso is an Arthur W. Page Society member and active in the Public Relations Society of America. She also serves as an editorial board member of four journals, including the Journal of Public Relations Research, and is a research editor for the Institute for Public Relations' Social Science of Social Media Research Center. In addition, DiStaso is an advisory board member for the International Public Relations Research Conference and a senior research fellow for the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, housed at Penn State.

Her public relations campaigns with Penn State students have received national recognition by winning a 2013 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence, Hermes Creative Awards in 2013 and 2014, a 2013 MarCom Award, and a 2014 Communitas Award. Work DiStaso completed with her students in 2013 was selected as an IPRA Golden World Award finalist.

DiStaso has been recognized as an AEJMC Emerging Scholar. Her research focuses on exploring and informing the practice of social media, financial communication and investor relations. She has a book on the ethical practice of social media in public relations along with more than 70 publications in journals, books and online outlets. 

The UAB was established in 1998 by a coalition of public relations professional organizations. Each organization contributes resources and senior-level volunteer members who represent all segments of the public relations profession. For more information about the UAB and the APR designation, visit www.praccreditation.org online.

Last Updated October 15, 2015