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.
Case Studies in Strategic Communication
3 semester credits
Students design two case studies, both supported by Washington, D.C.-based fieldwork and original research. The Group Case Study focuses on the on-going immigration debate in light of the 2016 Presidential Election. The ASP student group interviews four different organizations who are stakeholder in the case study’s decision point. The all-track case study allows students to compare how different organizations practice strategic communication in a crisis situation and the processes they use to document and respond to lessons learned from the experience. The case studies are presented in a mid-track conference. Each student applies what s/he learns from the group case study project to design an Individual Case Study, focused on a strategic communication situation at their internship office or organization. A concluding conference allows students to share and compare research findings across institutional types and sizes. In sum, students learn how to directly engage world-class organizations and communication professionals to design original case studies for the purpose of highlighting best practices in formative research, strategic planning, message formation and storytelling, tactics and contingency planning, and outcomes-based measurement and evaluation.
Advocacy and Development
3 semester credits
Students work collaboratively in small teams for a real-world client to research and propose a communications plan in fulfillment of the client’s project proposal. This exercise in persuasive communication seeks to build constituent commitment to the client’s mission, strategic initiatives, and fundraising activities. Consequently, communication objectives aim to achieve clearly specified and measurable educational, advocacy, and revenue goals. In a separate assignment, students reference their client work experience, as well as their case study work, to explain how biblical teachings inform our assumptions about, and practice of, strategic communication, documenting ethical challenges and ‘faithful practice’ strategies they discovered at each step in the strategic communication process.