The International Assn. of Business Communicators, saying it wants to make its 30-year-old accreditation program "fit for the 21st century," stopped taking applications for the $500 ABC process as of Sept. 1.

Gloria Walker
Gloria Walker, chair of the ABC program, based in Southall, U.K., said that the IABC executive committee has been reviewing the program for the past nine months and said that applications will not be taken until changes have been made. Current applicants can complete the process which involves a written exam.

IABC lists all ABC members on its website in the members' area. Currently about 1,120 of the 14,028 members are ABC. Forty-six new ABCs have been created since the first of the year.
The usual IABC "Accreditation Month" promotion from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15 will not take place.

Walker, currently an independent counselor and part-time PR and communications lecturer at the Hult Int'l Business School, Southall, U.K., apologized to members who were shocked by the suspension of ABC applications without previous notice or discussion.

She posted on the IABC website that "We are sorry we didn't follow best practice" in disclosing the decision and promised that further decisions will be made "with appropriate consultation."

Walker received a BS in journalism/PR from West Virginia University in 1972 and an MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980. She was PR manager at Lucas Industries, U.K., from 1989-97. Later she was head of media and communications, Webster University, Thailand. She became ABC head in June of this year.

Christopher Sorek, who had worked in the U.K. and Switzerland the past 11 years, most recently as CEO of Drinkaware in the U.K., joined IABC as executive director in June, replacing Julie Freeman who was COO ten years. IABC will not reveal the terms of Sorek's contract.

APR Program at Half Mast

The 47-year-old APR program of the PR Society is attracting about half of the candidates that it did ten years ago.

Average number of new PRS APRs in the nine years ended June 30, 2012 was 136, it was announced by UAB chair Janet Kacskos of Millersville University, Pa.

In the previous ten years, including years when the membership total was substantially lower than the current 21,000 total, average number of new APRs created yearly by PRS was 274.

The UAB and PRS are now studying a new P-APR for recent college grads. It is thought that such a designation, even though below that of a regular APR, would help them in the job marketplace. The UAB last year created APR+M for the military.

Three APR+Ms were created last year.