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Crediting PDS certificate instructors and coursework, Alan Lotenberg refreshed his PR and communication skills
He credits PDS for getting his creativity back.

SC&I's Professional Development Studies offers young professionals, new managers, or experienced executives a wide array of continuing education programs that helps enhance skills that lead to success in any career setting.

We were thrilled to connect with Alan Lotenberg, Public Relations certificate, and hear his story. 

What drew you to the Professional Development Studies program?

After conducting a lot of research and comparing whether I wanted to pursue a master’s degree or complete a certificate program, I found that going the program route would be best for me. I could tailor it to my interests and complete it in a timely manner. When I sent an inquiry to SC&I, Maryanne Surowiec and Regina Efimchik were kind enough to answer my many questions and that helped me make up my mind.

Why did you want to take the Public Relations certificate program?    

I have a B.A. in communications with a focus on public relations and I’ve had some pretty cool jobs working in radio, public relations, and travel and tourism in a few different states. For the last year and a half, I’ve been working in human resources all the while yearning to get back into communications. I knew that in order to work in PR, I needed to learn new skills, specifically how PR utilizes social media. Having a certificate would make me more marketable as I conduct my job search. This was my chance to finally go back to school and get my creativity back.

In order to work in PR, I needed to learn new skills, specifically how PR utilizes social media. Having a certificate would make me more marketable.

Were you working while going through the program?

I worked full-time during the program and dedicated about twelve hours a week after work and on weekends to my studies. I figured out a weekly schedule to ensure I had enough time to print out the weekly syllabus, view the lectures, complete the readings, conduct my own further research, and work on the discussions and assignments to be completed and submitted on the due dates. As long as I kept to the schedule, I was able to stay on track. Some weeks I was able to submit the discussions and assignments a day or two early.

What skills were you able to take from the PDS courses? 

I learned much from every class, professor, and classmate. Two classes were of particular interest to me due to their focus on social media: Social Media Strategies and Smart Measurement PR in the Digital Age, both taught by Brenda Sheridan. When I last worked in PR, the internet was new and we measured campaigns by the clip book. Learning how to take measurements through social media platforms and the various programs available will be very beneficial. I gained a greater understanding of social media and the role of influencers along with how to create a PR plan and calendar.

Advanced Public Relations Writing with David S. Levine helped me hone my skills on writing press releases and headlines. 

In Integrated Marketing Communication, Denise Anderson instructed us how to develop an IMC strategy, which is something I had not done before, so this was a very good challenge that taught me a lot.

Strategic Public Relations was another challenging course. Martha Whiteley provided excellent feedback on my assignments while encouraging me to take my ideas a step further. This helped me apply the learned strategies to produce a strategic PR proposal.

Do you have any advice for any young professional, new manager, or experienced executive considering taking the program?

The Public Relations certificate program would be very beneficial to new and experienced professionals of all ages. The great part about this program is it’s not about studying to memorize lessons so you’ll pass the exams. The program draws on your work experience that you’ll share with your classmates, just as they’ll share their experiences. Learning not just from the professors but fellow classmates really enriched the program.

How has the certificate program helped you effectively communicate with fellow employees or bosses?

The program as a whole has helped me improve different aspects of my communication skills. The Dynamics of Effective Teams, taught by Scott Hebert, provided me with insight into the roles we all play on a team. Learning how a supervisor can affect their staff either positively or negatively, especially when the supervisor is not aware of their own emotional intelligence, has helped me a great deal in my current position and will be very beneficial in my future.

Photo credit: Alan Lotenberg



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