(Note: Last month, we posted the first of a two-part blog series on the ASP Study Tracks. Read about the Public Policy Track here. Continue to read below for the second post of the series.)
Students in the Strategic Communication Track are on the forefront of the converging fields of public relations and marketing communication. In addition to discussion-style class lectures, our students gain first-hand experience through DC-based fieldwork activities and client work. We compare how different types of national organizations— such as private companies, global non-profits, government agencies, and congressional offices— develop strategic goals and objectives, choose appropriate communication channels and tactics, and measure the impact of their work.
Students directly engage with these organizations and the communication professionals who work in them to gain first-hand exposure to the best communication practices through formative research, strategic planning, message formation and storytelling, and more. Students explore these learning objectives further in their communications internships. Recent internship sites have included multiple House and Senate offices, The ONE Campaign, the Clapham Group, National Immigration Forum, the Borenstein Group, the American Enterprise Institute, Philanthropy Magazine, and even the business development department of the Washington Redskins!
In our “Advocacy and Development” course, we work collaboratively in small teams for a real-world client to research and propose a communications plan. Previous clients have included Bread for the World and the Accord Network. In “Case Studies in Strategic Communication,” students design two graduate school-style case studies, both supported by original interviews and research. This semester, the first case study—a group exercise— focused on the immigration debate in light of the 2016 Presidential Election. By interviewing four different organizations who are stakeholders in this issue, we compared how different organizations practice strategic communication in a crisis and the processes they use to document and respond to lessons learned from the experience. In our second case study—an individual project— each student focuses on a specific communication situation at their internship office or organization.
In addition to our communication proposals and case studies, we also discuss and explore how biblical teachings inform our use of strategic communication, primarily through conversations with Christian professionals who excel both in the quality of their work and in the “faithful practice” of their jobs.
If you are a major in Communication, Public Relations, Business Administration, International Business, or Marketing, we encourage you to consider joining this study track! To learn more, click here.
See below for more pictures of the Strategic Communication Track at work, both in the classroom and in the field.