COMMLD 503E: Practicum: Strategic Communications Planning

Course Description

In this practicum, students will design and deliver a strategic communications plan to a live client for review and adoption. The purpose of the communications plan is to bring a systematic solution leveraging all the current outreach tools used by the organization (social media platforms, website, community engagement) to be less ad hoc and more strategic. Students will conduct a communication needs assessment, map current outreach approaches and proactively identify and work through the process of understanding the needs of the client, who will provide real time feedback in addition to deciding what to adopt real-time.

The learning challenge: This practicum is for students who are ready to grow as leaders–leaders who recognize that wrestling with real-world problems calls for moving through ambiguity in design, planning and collaborating. Just like in real-world work contexts, this course will not include heavy text-based teaching or pre-designed road maps of ‘here is what to do every step of the way’. Instead, there will be steady and strong coaching and support from an instructor with a specialized expertise in navigating ambiguity and leading through influence. You may not be as comfortable as you thought in this course, and that will be a mark of success and growth. Every student will create a tangible skill-based experience to use in their career development, professional networking and portfolio. In other words, there will be a direct answer to the question of “tell me about a time when you developed a real-life communications product for a client.”

About 503 Communication and Leadership Practicum

Communication and Leadership Practicum courses give students an opportunity to engage with and understand the uses of course concepts in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations.

Each section of the Comm Lead Practicum focuses on a distinct professional skill or practice that is deemed essential across a variety of professional fields. Students can choose their section based on their interests and needs. Each section is matched with a client organization or group of client organizations who are interested in partnering with Communication Leadership students.

In the span of a quarter, students analyze the issues faced by the client organization(s), collaborate and brainstorm collectively in small teams, and with the support of their faculty mentor create a deliverable for the client organization(s) that relates to the specific practice. Students may also create creative samples as part of the project. In doing so, students can develop and enhance skills, build foundations of practice, and produce work that they can include in their own professional portfolios.