Students discover cutting-edge best practices in the emerging field of strategic communication through Washington, D.C.-based field-work activities, client-work, and class lectures which will help them launch communications careers in any industry. We compare how different types of organizations – such as private companies, non-profit advocacy organizations, congressional offices, and more – develop strategic goals and objectives, choose appropriate communication channels and tactics, and measure outputs and impact outcomes. These learning objectives expound upon what the students learn in their communications internships. Previous students have interned at the Washington Redskins (Business Development & Operations department), the Heritage Foundation (Strategic Marketing department), the Trinity Forum (Development department), the Borenstein Group, Philanthropy Magazine, U.S. House and Senate offices, and more. To build strong, Christian foundations for their careers, students will also engage program alumni and other Christian communication professionals to explore the ethical and ‘faithful practice’ of strategic communication.
Students with career interests in public relations, marketing and advertising, corporate strategy, fundraising and development, non-profit management, political campaigns, and media relations are strongly encouraged to apply.
*Note: The Strageic Communication Track is offered Spring Semester only.
Case Studies in Strategic Communication
3 semester credits
This course provides an opportunity to directly engage Washington, DC-based communication professionals working in a variety of organizational contexts (for-profit, governmental, and non-profit) to learn the different ways in which communicators apply the concepts and skills of strategic planning in their work. The course first introduces students to a strategic planning framework for public relations. Next, students will learn how to apply these concepts to the practice of communications by engaging professionals through a series of site visits. The course will also engage communication professionals in order to highlight best practices in development and fundraising. The course emphasizes written and oral communication through the development of professional memo-writing and presentation skills.
Christian Public Engagement for Communicators: Contemporary Perspectives and Practices
3 semester credits
This course provides an opportunity to learn how the issues and ideas presented in the study of communication ethics manifest themselves in the professional environment of Washington, DC. The first course module focuses on key questions found in the discipline of public theology, such as the relationship between church and other societal institutions (e.g. the state), the role of religion in public life, and to what extent religious belief ought to shape our public discourse. The second module investigates how key features of modern and post-modern cultures—the context in which the faithful practice of communication takes place—influence mainstream perspectives on identity, authority, justice, and community. The final module engages a variety of Washington, DC-based Christian organizations and communication professionals to deepen one’s understanding of the ethical challenges Christian communication professionals encounter and what they are learning from experience about how to engage them. Classroom conversations incorporate reflections on internship and fieldwork experiences to enable students to explain with more clarity your own sense of responsibility to Christ and neighbor in their work as communication professionals.