Date: Wed, 6 Nov 1996 15:39:34 MST
From: Renee Buchanan [RBUCHAN@ssb1.saff.utah.edu]
University of Utah
Dr. Julia Corbett
PR Case Studies and Corporate Video
Department of Communication, Spring '97
Description of Courses: PR Case Studies and Corporate Video will be
team-taught to produce communication materials for four or five
non-profit clients, including video and other written pieces deemed
necessary through research and client assessment.
Criteria for Designation:
- Provides needed service: Non-profit organizations have a
great need to communicate with their audiences, not only to rely
program information but also to raise awareness of important social
issues and raise money to address those issues. The resources for
such communication, however, are often lacking. Numerous small
non-profits exist with no designated communication staff position and
little money for professionally produced communication materials.
This team-taught service proposal would produce vital communication
materials for four or five area non-profit organizations that they
normally would not be able to produce. Corporate video in particular
is beyond the reach of most non-profit budgets.
- Relates to subject matter: PR Case Studies typically
discusses communication problems in textbook cases, relating
organizational actions to communication theory. Instructors often
incorporate local examples in class discussion or assignments, both
by evaluating past action or planning future actions and campaigns.
This service project win present campaigns and case studies in an
applied, practical manner, and will relate other sequence course
material, such as research, writing and graphics skills. Corporate
Video has already been taught informally as a service learning course
using professional clients. By team teaching the courses, clients
will be assured that their corporate video fits into an integrated
package of communication materials and that the package works
cohesively to solve communication problems.
- Class methods relate to service experience: Working with
professional clients will give students a realistic understanding not
only of the production of a variety of communication materials, but
also of the unique challenges faced by non-profits. Students will
research audience awareness and knowledge of social issues before
producing materials. Students will see first-hand the budget and
time constraints faced by non-profits. And students will test the
effectiveness of certain appeals in mobilizing, raising money, and
communicating the mission of non-profits.
- Methods for assessing service: Assessment of the service
experience will take place through class discussions and individual
team reports to joint sessions of the classes regarding the
intricacies of the social issues involved and the organization's
efforts to participate in those issues.
- Recipients to be involved in the evaluation. The ultimate
success of the class projects lies in their utilitarian value. Thus,
the recipients become the final judges of the effectiveness of the
materials produced by the classes. Assessments by the recipients are
a necessary dimension of the evaluation process.
- Service opportunities are aimed at the development of civic
education. Due to the nature of the activities in both classes,
students must become very knowledgeable of the institutions'
objectives and their missions of community service. Students'
understanding of the institutions' civic responsibilities is a
necessary step in developing the communication materials.
- Knowledge of the discipline informs the service
experiences. The two courses involved are integral to the education
of students in public relations and telecommunications within the
Department of Communication. The opportunities to work with
"clients" outside the university will further enhance the learning
- Learning from other class members. Both classes are based
on learning from team projects. Indeed, the materials that are
ultimately produced can be generated only through cooperation and
teamwork of the class members.
Purpose and Objectives: How did a toy company react when one of its
toy guns was mistaken for a real gun in a shooting death" What did
the apple industry do about consumer panic over the use of the
chemical Alar? How did Exxon handle the Alaska oil spill crisis?
These are just some of the cases we will discuss in this case
studies class. A case study approach applies the theory and
principles you've learned about public relations to real world
examples. By analyzing actual examples, you can see what the
organization did wrong and right, and how you might have handled
things differently. Some of the most exciting, practical and
applicable lessons about public relations can be learned from this
kind of approach. I teach case studies as a process for public
relations problem-solving and campaign planning.
We will begin by learning open systems theory and its application.
Next we'll develop a framework for examining various types of cases,
both past and future. Attention also will be given to the use of
research, programming, crisis situations and public relations
Class sessions include lectures, discussions, group work and student
presentations. I will give two short-answer quizzes on the reading
material. Your final project will be a case study that you choose:
the midterm case study will be provided for you.
Attendance. Participation, Philosophy:
Attendance is very important in this class; more than 3 absences
will adversely affect your grade. I treat attendance like an
employer treats attendance on the job. You are expected to be here
every day for the entire class period; this is vital when you work in
groups and others are depending on you. It's the easiest A you can
Participation is also very important. Learning cannot take place
solely through listening; ideas must be expressed, "tried out,"
discussed and refined before they become real and are remembered.
You will have ample opportunity to express yourself, both in small
group settings and before the class. I expect each and every student
to "warm the air," not just warm a chair.
Much of my philosophy in teaching revolves around applying what you
learn, the true test of knowledge. Five years from now you probably
won't remember the textbook, but you might remember the group
exercise on ethics or emergency media relations. My tests follow a
similar principle; I won't ask you to memorize lists or regurgitate
history. I will ask you to apply principles to new situations, to
express and justify your opinion, or to compare approaches. Students
tell me my tests and papers are challenging, primarily because they
require them to think in a way often not required in courses.
Required Reading: Text: Center & Jackson, Public Relations Practices,
4th ed. Reserve readings: available in the library.