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L.E.A.P. Certification

L.E.A.P. is a certification program sponsored by the Georgia Southern University Public Relations Advisory Board available for Public Relations majors at Georgia Southern.  Focusing on four key components, the acronym L.E.A.P. stands for LeadershipExperience in CommunicationAcademics, and Professionalism. Students can achieve certification through earning points in each of these four areas.

Students who complete the L.E.A.P. certification program will receive recognition of this accomplishment on their resume, a post-graduation interview with a Georgia Southern Public Relations Advisory Board member and a certificate. The certification shows potential employers the student went above and beyond what was expected in the degree program, as well as builds his or her portfolio.

“I’ve reviewed hundreds of resumes from recent grads, and Georgia Southern’s L.E.A.P. certification caught my eye. It became a great talking point for the job candidate, and it allowed me to better understand both her past experience and potential as a high performer. I hired her as an intern; today she is one our vice presidents,” Caroline Wilbert, president of The Wilbert Group, one of the largest Atlanta-based PR agencies.

Andrew Agan, vice president of Cookerly Public Relations, explains why you should take the leap.

Checklist

To gain the certification you must earn 60 points total. You must complete a minimum of 10 points in each category, for a total of 50. The final 10 points comes from your interview with an Advisory Board member.

Once you have completed 50 points, email Dr. Groover (mgroover@georgiasouthern.edu) who will help set up the interview.

If you have an item you believe fits into one of these categories, but it is not listed, contact Dr. Groover who will bring it before the committee.

Leadership and Teamwork and Relationship Building

Leadership and Teamwork and Relationship Building

Workshops
(1 point)
 
 Include the name of the workshop and when it was held. In a minimum of 100 words also describe what you learned from the workshop.
 Leadership Workshop (Communication Arts Department Approved – ask Dr. Groover before adding to your blog)
 Leadership Expo or Similar Event
 Team Building Exercise
 Facilitator Training
SOLD series workshops (Prior approval is required as it will depend on its content – ask Dr. Groover before adding to your blog).
  
Self-Assessment Tests
(1 point)
 
 Include the date the assessment was taken:
 Myers Briggs Test
 Leadership Skills Test
 Campbell Inventory Test
  
Leader Service
(3 points)
 
 List the role you held, how long you held it, and what you gained from the experience:
 Peer Leader ( FYE 1210)
 Career Center Ambassador
 Southern Ambassador
 SOAR Leader
 Lead a Workshop
 Communication Arts Peer Advisor
  
Presentations (1 point when required in a course)
(3 points when completed outside of course requirements)
 Include the name of the presentation, when it was held, and for what organization or course you gave the presentation. These presentations can be either:
 Team presentation
 Individual
  
Readings
(1 point, maximum
of 6 points)
 
 In a minimum of 200 words (for each book), discuss which book(s) you read, providing a brief summary, and what lessons you can take from it.
 “Thank You for Smoking” by Christopher Buckley
 “Airframe” by Michael Crichton
 “The Distracted Mind” by Adam Gazzaley
 “Distracted” by Maggie Jackson
 “Building a Story Brand ” by Donald Miller
 “Pitch Perfect” by Bill McGowan
 “Pandora’s Clock” by John Nance
 “Little Green Men” by Christopher Buckley
 Note: Continue to check the Web site as new books may be added.
If there is a book you believe should be considered to add to this list, contact Dr. Groover.
  
Networking
(1 point)
 
 Maintaining and Updating a Linked In (or similar professional networking site) page for a minimum of 6 months (This can be done as a part of a Course, but not an account maintained for this L.E.A.P. Certification)
 For attendance at any of the following: Job Fairs, Conferences, PR Advisory Board Meetings and Events, Comm Arts INC, PRSSA Meetings Hosting a Guest Speaker, and PRSSA Networking Events (including Resume’ Writing Workshops and Portfolio Workshops)
 National PRSSA Networking Events
PRSA Georgia Networking Events (such as PRSA Georgia annual conference)
  
Volunteer Experience
(1 point earned per three hours of work)
  
Leadership 
 List the role you held, how long you held it, and in a minimum of 100 words what you gained from the experience:
 Serving as a leader in a professional association.  Include the name of the organization and the position held (3 points)
 Serving in a PR leader role for another organization (e.g. alumni relations, membership recruitment, promotions, fundraising).  Include the name of the organization and the position held (2 points)
 Actively serving as a executive board member for the Georgia Southern PRSSA Chapter
 Actively serving in a leadership role with PRestige
Experience in Communication

Experience in Communication

(to include written, oral, visual, intercultural contexts within an ethical frame)

Workshops
(1 point)
Include the name of the workshop and when it was held. In a minimum of 100 words also describe what you learned from the workshop.
 Writing, editing, plagiarism corrections, etc.  Include the name of the workshop and when it was held.
  
Publications 
Provide a link to a PDF copy of the work on your blog
 Include the name of the publication or site, and date it was published.
 Feature/Magazine Articles (3 points)
 News Stories in the George-Anne or elsewhere (2 points)
 Articles for Department Newsletter (2 points)
 Article for PRSSA blog (2 points)
Send the draft of your blog post to Dr. Groover to edit/for approval
 Maintaining a Blog for 6 months with weekly updates (2 points)
 Writing Web site Content (2 points)
  
Event Management
(3 points)
 
 Plan (or significantly aid in the planning of) an Event to help reach communication goals for a specific client (To earn full credit, full details must be recorded regarding the goal of the event, its objectives, and the evaluation of the event’s success in this area). Could include the day of event schedule.
In a minimum of 100 words also describe what you learned from the experience.
  
Digital/Social Media 
 Online portfolio (3 points)
  
Editor 
 Reflector (3 points)
 George-Anne (3 points)
 Inkwell (3 points)
  
DJ 
 WVGS (3 points)
 Other Radio Stations (2 points)
Academics – Creative and Critical Thinking

Academics – Creative & Critical Thinking

Publication/Presentation
(3 points)
 
 Include the name of the conference where you presented, date of the presentation, and the title of your presentation.
 Present a conference paper at any of the following:
 Undergraduate Honors Conference
 Southern States Communication Association (SSCA)
 Phi Kappa Phi Symposium
 Center for Undergraduate Research and Intellectual Opportunities (CURIO)
 Georgia Communication Association (GCA)
  
Photography
(1 point)
 
 This would include photos you have taken for a client or class project.
Must include the details surrounding the photos including for whom they were taken and/or used.
Speeches
(3 points)
 
  These must be outside of required class speeches.
Contest Entries
(1 point for entry, 2 additional points for winning entry.
Maximum points – 6 in this category)
 Logo, theme, any from the publication/presentation category above
 PR Advisory Board Awards
 Communication Arts Departmental Scholarship Awards
  
Workshops
(1 point)
 
 Include the name of the workshop and when it was held. In a minimum of 100 words also describe what you learned from the workshop.
 Creative Thinking / Writing
 Critical Thinking
 Brainstorming
 Web Design
 Design – InDesign, Photoshop, Canva, Quark, etc.
  
Honor Society / International Studies
(2 points with a maximum of 5 points in this category)
 Group / Club Membership
 Study Abroad Program (with a minimum of 3 weeks spent studying abroad).  Include the location of the program, length of time spent, and classes completed. Describe what you learned from this experience.
(3 points)
Honor Lists
(1 point per semester earned)
This includes being on the University’s President’s or Dean’s List.
Include the list and which semester(s) you were named to it.

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Professionalism and Career Development

Professionalism and Career Development

Career Center
(1 point)
 
 Mock Interviews; Write a minimum of two sentences regarding what recommendations they had.
 Relevant Workshops (resumes, etiquette, dress, etc.)
Include the name of the workshop and when it was held. In a minimum of 100 words also describe what you learned from the workshop.
 Career Development Testing
Include the name of the testing and any recommendations provided.
 Having your resume reviewed by a member of the Office of Career & Professional Development; Write a minimum of two sentences regarding what recommendations they had.
  
Professional Associations
(5 points with demonstrated active membership)
 PRSSA
 PRestige
 Society for Professional Journalists
 Marketing Society
  
Webinars on professional/career development
(3 points, maximum
of 6 points)
 
 Include the name of the webinar, when it was held, and in a minimum of 100 words also describe what you learned from the webinar.
  
Workshops
(1 point)
 
 Include the name of the workshop and when it was held. In a minimum of 100 words also describe what you learned from the workshop.
 Ethics
 Time Management
  
Industry Certifications
(1 point per certification)
This could include Hootsuite, HubSpot, Google, etc.
Does not include the ethic module certifications.
Must include a jpg or PDF of the certification on your blog.
Relevant Volunteering for Events
(1 point)
 
 CLEC (hosting)
 Department of Communication Arts or another department on campus
 College of Arts & Humanities
  
Attending PR-related Events/Meetings
(1 point each)
 
 Include the date and location in your listing.
 PR Advisory Board Events/Meetings
 PRSA Luncheons
  
Shadowing Experiences* 
 Include the name and location of the experience. Describe your experience in a minimum of 200 words.
The length of your shadow opportunity will determine how many points are earned.
 8 hours (1 point)
16 hours (2 points)
32 hours (3 points)
 40 hours (4 points)
  
Have a Public Relations Professional as a Mentor (maximum of 4 points)*
Include the name of your mentor. Describe your experience and what you’ve learned from them in a minimum of 200 words.
Meet once in a semester (2 points)
Meet twice in a semester (4 points)
Public Relations Internships Completed 
 Include the name and location of the experience, as well as the work completed at the site.
 Not earning academic credit and lasting a minimum of four weeks (5 points)
 A for-credit internship where you completed a minimum of 200 hours of work (4 points)
  
Portfolio Review by a PR Professional
(1 point)
 
 Write a minimum of two sentences regarding what recommendations they had.
Resume Review by a PR Professional
(1 point)
Write a minimum of two sentences regarding what recommendations they had.
Business Skills Development
(1 point)
 
 Demonstrated work in budgeting, creating annual reports, etc.
  
Certification
(10 points)
 
 Certificate in Principles of Public Relations
*Please contact Dr. Groover if you need help finding a shadow opportunity or mentor.

FAQ

What is L.E.A.P.?

What is L.E.A.P.?
L.E.A.P. is a certification program sponsored by the Georgia Southern University Public Relations Advisory Board available for public relations majors at Georgia Southern.  Focusing on four key components, the acronym L.E.A.P. stands for LeadershipExperience in CommunicationAcademics, and Professionalism.

How can I achieve L.E.A.P. certification?

Students can achieve certification through earning points in each of these four areas. Students have the opportunity to earn points through various activities above and beyond their coursework in addition to activities related to upper level classes. These activities include things such as attending workshops, networking, shadowing PR professionals, attending conferences, and serving in communication positions for clients. The complete L.E.A.P. Checklist is available for students.

How many points do I need to earn to achieve certification?

Certification can be achieved by any Georgia Southern public relations major with documented achievement of having earned 60 points, with at least 10 points earned in each category from the L.E.A.P. Checklist.  Final portfolio review/ interview (0-10 points available) will also be required.

Can I count things I have already completed before I officially sign up?

Yes. You can include an activity which you completed within one year of officially signing up for L.E.A.P. See the L.E.A.P. checklist regarding the various activities for each category.

Should I include work completed as a part of my academic coursework?

The general answer to this question is “probably not.”  Though there are a few items on the L.E.A.P. Checklist that specify activities completed as part of your coursework as acceptable to include, most activities must be completed above and beyond coursework.  Unless specifically stated as acceptable work in the L.E.A.P. Checklist, work completed for classes taken earning credit towards degree completion (including internships for academic credit) should not be recorded as points earned by a student seeking L.E.A.P. Certification. Also, there is a maximum of 10 points earned in relationship to “in class” activities.

Should I count a single activity in more than one category?

All L.E.A.P. activities are to be documented individually. If an activity is included as achieving points in one area, that same activity should not be included as achieving points in any other area. The University’s policies regarding Academic (Dis)Honesty apply to all aspects of the L.E.A.P. Certification process. Students found in violation of the Student Code of Conduct will be reported and face penalties associated with their actions that may include penalties enforced by the University and expulsion from the L.E.A.P. Certification Program.

How do I sign-up and start tracking my points?

Any public relations major interested in signing up to earn the L.E.A.P. Certification should complete the L.E.A.P. Registration Form. Using WordPress, students will create an online portfolio to track their L.E.A.P. progress. The portfolio should have pages for each of the components (Leadership, Experience in Communication, Academics, and Professionalism). On these pages students will blog about each individual activity completed and state how many credit points they earned for that activity.*

For example:

Leadership
On September 17, 2009, I attended the Mocktail Reception to kickoff the new L.E.A.P. Certification Program at Georgia Southern.  At the event, I had the opportunity to network with PR professionals and celebrate the beginning of this new program.  (“Networking,” 1 point)
Experience in Communication
I wrote an article that appeared in the Oct. 5, 2012, PRSSA newsletter Eagle PRide. The article I wrote, “Shadow Day on the Horizon,” discussed the upcoming Shadow Day opportunities for PRSSA members. (2 points)
*When including anything written, student must provide a link on the blog to a PDF version of the story/newsletter, etc.
Can I use this site for any other purpose?

Only professional content should be included on this site and there should be a separate page for Georgia Southern L.E.A.P. material. Note that anything posted on this site will be subject to review and the Student Code of Conduct.

How will the final portfolio review/interview be scheduled?

When a student has achieved 50 points toward completion of the points required for certification, the appropriate steps will be taken to schedule the final portfolio review/interview by the PR faculty.

Could I invite individuals to visit my site to see what I have completed?

Yes, this blog portfolio is a wonderful opportunity for networking with other professionals.

What’s in it for me?

Students who complete the L.E.A.P. certification program will receive recognition of this accomplishment on their resume, a post-graduation interview with a Georgia Southern Public Relations Advisory Board member and a certificate.

Where do I go for help or questions?

While working toward L.E.A.P. certification, if you have questions, contact one of the Public Relations faculty members.

Registration Form

In order to complete the registration form, be sure you are logged into your My Georgia Southern account.

Last updated: 2/1/2024