PRSA Leader Mike Cherenson and NJ Chapter Director Emeritus Ken Hunter Join Rutgers School of Communication and Information as Academic Directors

Michael Cherenson, APR, and Ken Hunter, APR, bring their professional expertise to Continuing and Professional Studies at the Rutgers School of Communication and its new Crisis Communication and Reputation Management Certificate Program 

Michael Cherenson, APR, and Ken Hunter, APR, have joined the Continuing and Professional Studies (CPS) Department at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information (SC&I) as academic directors on its leadership team. They assumed their roles as Academic Director for Communication Certificate Programs. 

Cherenson is executive vice president at SCG Advertising and Public Relations, where he serves as chief public relations counselor and strategist and oversees all public relations activities for their diverse clientele. A public relations veteran who has authored three studies on the impact of reputation, Cherenson is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by the Universal Accreditation Board and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the leading professional organization serving the communications community through a network of more than 400 professional and student chapters in the U.S., Argentina, Colombia, Peru, and Puerto Rico. He is past national president of PRSA and is a member of the organization’s prestigious College of Fellows.  

Hunter is the Director of Marketing and Communications at NAFA Fleet Management Association and President and Chief Strategist at The PowerStation. He is also the PRSA NJ Director Emeritus. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University and holds an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and a Mini-MBA Certificate in Entrepreneurship from Rutgers Business School. Hunter will manage the curriculum development with part-faculty members for all CPS communication certificate programs, ensuring alignment with the evolving needs of professionals throughout their careers. His focus includes incorporating forward-thinking content approaches to enhance the relevance of the programs in the marketplace. 

“I’m delighted to welcome Mike and Ken to the leadership team,” said CPS Director Julie Johnson, Ed.D. “At CPS, our mission is to cultivate skills and competencies that align with the ever-evolving demands of the marketplace. Mike and Ken bring a wealth of experience in communications and public relations, adding depth and breadth to our leadership team. With their valuable insight, we are poised to enhance our curriculum, ensuring it remains not only forward-thinking but also finely tuned to the nuances of effective communication strategies. We aim to empower professionals in their current roles and provide the necessary skills for those aspiring to take the next step in their career journey. Exciting developments await our professional learners and the industries we serve in 2024 at CPS.” 

Noting the value of professional development for students and business leaders as they look at their teams’ skills, Cherenson said, “The data is clear; people are eager to upskill. One recent survey said almost 8 in 10 workers are interested in developing new skills or pursuing additional education. The school’s investment in continuing and professional studies not only speaks to that demand but also its commitment to educational innovation. Together with Ken, I’m confident we’ll quickly establish the Communication Certificate Programs as the gold standard and help innovate and develop new programs that will help our students thrive in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world.” 

Cherenson currently serves as the national professional advisor to PRSSA, the world’s largest student association, and he sits on the accrediting committee of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College and holds an advanced certificate in Political Management from the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University. Cherenson will facilitate connections with professional organizations, businesses, and governmental agencies, fostering partnerships aimed at addressing the skills required in a dynamic and ever-changing marketplace. 

Crisis Communication and Reputation Management Certificate Program Launch 

The innovative Crisis Communication and Reputation Management (CCRM) Certificate Program will be available starting May 2024, providing communicators with an unparalleled opportunity to navigate complexities, make strategic decisions, and elevate their professional impact. Going beyond theoretical knowledge, the program offers a transformative experience that enables communicators to gain the trust of senior leadership, become indispensable resources within their organizations, and experience significant growth in their skills. 

“CCRM stands as the inaugural higher-education professional studies certificate initiative in the nation,” said Hunter. “The program uniquely combines the most effective competency-based instructional practices with an exceptional faculty exclusively comprised of Public Relations and Crisis Management practitioners. Our instructors, seasoned senior-level communicators, actively engage in the field daily, safeguarding reputations and navigating a diverse array of challenges for both their organizations and clients.  

“This unparalleled approach provides our students with access to the most current best practices, techniques currently in use, and unmatched consultations with senior-level experts,” Johnson noted. “Upon completion of the certificate course, each student will possess a ready-to-implement crisis communication plan and will undergo one-on-one media training to refine their skills. This ensures they excel in communicating with the press and target audiences but also acquire the expertise to train their own subject matter experts.” CPS is now accepting applications for the CCRM Certificate. 

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