Spotlight our members - Dr. Joe Mitchell, APR

Spotlighting our members - Dr. Joe Mitchell, APR 

Dr. Joe Mitchell, Ph.D., APR is an Assistant Professor of Speech Communication at Valdosta State University (VSU) in Valdosta, Ga. While teaching courses and conducting scholarly research in Public Relations and Communication Theory, Dr. Mitchell volunteers his PR skills to various nonprofit groups in the area. This fall, Dr. Mitchell with assume the role of faculty adviser to VSU's PRSSA chapter. In his off hours, Dr. Mitchell enjoys playing games, dining out with friends, seeing movies, writing and performing music, and plotting world domination. We talked to Joe to learn more about his experience.


Why did you decide to pursue your APR?

I decided to pursue the APR to advance my career in higher education and to support my department in maintaining PRSA certification (Valdosta State University's PR program is the only PRSA certified program in the Southeast).

What does achieving accreditation mean to you?

It's been a process of refining my educational background in public relations as well as a positive confirmation of my skills as a public relations educator/practitioner.

What was beneficial about the accreditation process?

The process helped me to solidify my understanding of public relations processes in planning, law, ethics, and much more. Now that the process is completed, I also know what I need to study to advance my knowledge further. 

What are the hurdles, and what is your advice to overcome them?

It seems each step in the process is a hurdle. For the Readiness Review Questionnaire, I would advise candidates to take their time answering each question. For the Readiness Review Portfolio, I would highly recommend using the APR Study Guide for assistance. I also had great help from Kathy Lussier, APR and Suzannah Patterson, APR as I refined the materials in my portfolio. For the computerized exam, I highly recommend long term textbook reading as well as taking the online APR readiness course.

What would you say to public relations practitioners who are considering pursuing accreditation?

Decide how and in what time-frame you will accomplish it then double that...seriously. It took me a lot longer to complete than I had anticipated (working, life stuff, and more will get in your way). Study what will be required of you throughout the process. Ask plenty of questions before starting. Only then would I recommend starting the process.

Anything else?

This process really means something. There is "hoop jumping," but there is a good purpose behind it. When you finish the process you will be a better practitioner than when you started, you will have more confidence in your abilities, and you will be better positioned to advance your career.