Paula Duncan is a recent graduate of the Public Relations diploma program. We asked her a few questions about her experience in the PR program here at Continuing Studies at UVic.
Because I had previously earned my BA in English and Professional Writing in 2014 from the University of Victoria, I had an interest in communications, so I hoped the Diploma in Public Relations would complement my preexisting knowledge and bolster my skills. Additionally, I was seeking a new learning challenge that may eventually lead to a career change upon returning to British Columbia in 2017 after living and teaching in the UK for three years.
I sought out a comprehensive, accredited program that I could complete online in two years or less. I also considered tuition fees and the reputation of the institution I would be attending. It made sense to choose UVic’s program for these reasons.
It made sense to choose UVic’s program because it is a reputable university, and I could complete the program entirely online within two years. Also, the course descriptions and different elective options interested me further in the program.
I enjoyed the sense of momentum from earning high academic achievement in the courses I completed. Instructors gave incisive feedback, and assignments were diverse, relevant, and required creativity and problem-solving skills. However, my favourite learning experience—and honestly what I think is the most valuable course of the diploma program--was completing HPPR404 Research and Evaluation. Another helpful takeaway from the program was getting to know what aspects of the industry suits me best.
The biggest surprise for me was receiving the Denis Racine Bursary from the Canadian Public Relations Society (Vancouver Island) in June 2019. I also enjoyed learning what aspects of the industry suited me best.
I believe I am a more competent communicator and have practical skills to apply every day as a teacher. It was satisfying to finish the program in two years. Working with industry professionals and my peers was also rewarding. I recently graduated from the program in May 2021, and I am so pleased!
Many of my peers were already working in communications, though other students like me were also seeking an opportunity to extend their skills, apply new learning, and perhaps pivot into a new professional role. The competencies developed in this program will benefit anyone interested in communications--I believe you can apply the knowledge gained in this program to any professional environment.