Please click on course titles below to see course descriptions.
- SCOM K4101 Communication, Persuasion, and Audience. 3 pts.
- SCOM K4104 Organizational Strategy and Leadership. 3 pts.
- SCOM K4112 Strategic Storytelling. 1.5 pts.
- SCOM K4116 Strategic Writing Part 1. 1.5 pts.
- SCOM K4100 Campus Practicum. 1 pt.
- Elective Course (for full-time option only; selected in coordination with Program Director). 3 pts.
- SCOM K4113 Persuasive Presenting. 1.5 pts.
- SCOM K4117 Strategic Writing Part 2. 1.5 pts.
- SCOM K4125 Setting Strategic Direction. 3 pts.
- SCOM K4128 Insight Discovery. 3 pts.
- SCOM K4130 Campus Practicum. 1 pt.
- Elective Course (for full-time option only; selected in coordination with Program Director). 3 pts.
Third Semester (Summer)
- Part-time students choose two elective courses; coursework not required for full-time students. 6 pts.
- SCOM K4201 The Practice of Leadership. 2 pts.
- SCOM K4213 Persuasive Presenting: Part 2. 1 pt.
- SCOM K4301 Creative Expression and Channel Architecture. 6 pts.
- SCOM K4200 Campus Practicum. 1 pt.
Capstone Project (Second and Fourth Semesters)
The first four-day residency in August is designed to give incoming students a full immersion in our world of Strategic Communications. While two of the four fall courses officially kick-off in the residency and continue on the first Saturday session, the other two courses feature in-class assignments. This structure gives students a good taste of what’s to come. The days are full but peppered with group activities and fun assignments that allow students to get to know each other and begin to network. One evening is devoted to a networking event with the prior cohort of students.
This course examines some of the fundamental components of strategic communications—how to communicate, how to persuade, and how to do so ethically. Your assumptions about communications will be challenged as we explore the intersections between information, communication, and meaning in today’s social media world. We examine various theories of persuasion in order to learn how persuasion works in changing our attitudes and behaviors, and we apply ethical reasoning to real-world strategic communications issues as we consider the effects of our communications on relevant stakeholders.
Students will learn theories of communication, persuasion and ethics. Students will practice their ability to write for multiple audiences, with each assignment presenting increasingly complex challenges to students. The group exercises will involve the discussion of sample communications forms and concepts from reading while assignments will demonstrate mastery of both.
Social strategy is executed through workshops in the residency and Saturday Sessions, as well as five interactive online lectures each week that gives students a chance to discuss relevant topics.
This course focuses on the language and underlying theories of strategic management and their use in communicating critical organizational messages to key internal and external constituents and stakeholders. The course helps communications professionals enhance their capacity to partner with other members of executive leadership of corporations, nonprofits or governmental entities (including “c-level” leaders) to ensure clear messaging to key constituencies regarding the organization’s mission, vision and strategy. It empowers communications leaders to “translate” the “languages” of organizational strategy and leadership into clearly articulated communications strategies and tactical plans. The course emphasizes practical application in real-world settings through the use of simulations, case analyses and related publications.
In this half-term course, students will learn how to combine strategic thinking with storytelling to create presentations that engage, motivate and inspire audiences. Students are introduced to the concepts of audience analysis, obstacles and barriers, theme/message, and behavioral goals, and how they are used to help construct strategic presentations. We will also examine the ways in which presenters can use the power of story to evoke emotion and drive decision-making. Students will get an opportunity to develop their storytelling skills by developing a persuasive, story-based Pecha Kucha presentation, a six-minute presentation composed of slides that advance automatically every twenty seconds and are accompanied by a live narration.
One of the main mistakes presenters make is not taking the time to understand their audience. If you want to change an audience’s thinking about a particular issue and motivate them to take a specific action — the goal of all persuasive presentations — you need to understand how your audience thinks and what is important to them, what is preventing them from taking the desired action now, and what might persuade them to take this action in the future. In this half-term course, you will learn techniques for conducting in-depth audience interviews and creating a persuasive argument built around insights derived from those interviews. The argument will be presented in a team presentation that employs the foundational principles learned in the first semester and that skillfully interweaves an evidence-based argument with effective storytelling.
In this 1.5 credit course, students will learn how to assess an organization’s identity, imagine its audiences, develop messages for those audiences and select tools and channels to deliver those messages. Students will practice their ability to assess organizational identity, audience, tools and channels via group exercises in online forums, and will execute assignments to demonstrate their fluency with writing messages in standard communications forms.
In Strategic Writing II, the second half of a three-credit course, we will round out our study of communications strategy with units on communications tools and channels, internal communications, external communications (public relations), and strategic execution. We will continue to explore communications strategy in an analytical framework while practicing writing skills and mastering specific written communications tools.
The overall objective of The Practice of Leadership is to help each student develop his or her own style of leadership that embraces ethical behavior and fosters a culture of transparency and collaboration. The course will explore best practices in leadership skills such as hiring, mentoring, team-building, and collaboration. Students will understand the purpose of inspiring staff, encouraging creative thinking, supporting professional development and embracing an organization’s values.
Building on what we’ve learned and practiced in constructing persuasive presentations, this one-credit course will be an opportunity for students to create an individual presentation to demonstrate their suitability for a particular job or opportunity. Students will identify an opportunity, practice a 2-3 minute presentation, and videotape the final version for submission.
An effective strategic communications program begins with the answers to four fundamental questions: (1) With whom should we communicate? (2) What does she or he do now that represents an opportunity or a problem for us? (3) What would we like her or him to do differently? (4) How can communications change what she or he feels, so that she or he will change her or his behavior the way we would like? Setting the Strategic Direction introduces students to a process for thinking systematically about these fundamental questions as a foundation for the formulation of communications strategy.
Research plays a central role in defining strategies to drive communications efforts, because it allows you to define who your target audience might be and gain a rich understanding of what they think, feel and believe about your product/issue/organization, your competition, and the environment in which you operate. In this course, we combine theory and practice to see how you can use research to find true insights about your target, and how you can translate these insights into effective strategy and persuasive communications. We focus on understanding both the principles and the process of conducting good market research for communication development and the opportunity for hands-on practice. The course will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to become educated users and purchasers of research, in order to develop strategic communications plans that are rooted in solid consumer and market understanding.
Students spend the first part of this three-day residency collaborating with their Capstone teams to fine tune their storytelling and visual presentation of their strategies. On the third day student groups present their strategy, insight, and objective for communications to faculty and their Capstone client.
Creative Expression and Channel Architecture work in concert to help you craft the right message to reach your target at the right time and place to be effective. In today’s cluttered environment where no single medium guarantees your message will reach or persuade your target audience to act, it is critical to communicate effectively at every touchpoint. A well-designed, integrated marketing communications (IMC) plan helps to improve the odds that an audience(s) will receive the message and behave accordingly to help reach stated goals. Over the course of the semester, we will study and practice building messaging and channel strategies that serve as the foundation to impactful integrated communications programs. We’ll examine various communication tactics that help bring strategies to life—traditional, digital, social, and experiential touchpoints—and the role of individual communications channels in an overall mix. Along the way, you will develop a deeper understanding of the creative process—how to develop messages that resonate with a target audience, fuel effective creative expressions, and evaluate communication efforts.
The final semester kicks off with significant content from the three fall courses giving them the tools to take the Capstone strategy and begin to plan creative execution and select channels. Students hear from industry experts on PR, digital, mobile, social as well as strategy, measurement, and media. Interspersed are sessions on presenting and an introduction to the leadership course. By now, students have formed a tight bond, and they enjoy networking with the incoming cohort from a different perspective.
The Strategic Communications Capstone Project, which incorporates SCOM K4301 Creative Expression and Channel Architecture, is an opportunity to demonstrate understanding of strategic communications. In the spring and final fall semesters, students will work in small teams for a real-world client to research and propose a communications strategy and an optimal target audience. Students will develop and present this strategy, in addition to communications architecture, sample creative and a measurement plan, to deliver on stated communication objectives and make the most of limited resources to drive results. Throughout the project, Columbia faculty and experts from the New York communications field will advise students.
The University reserves the right to withdraw or modify the courses of instruction or to change the instructors as may become necessary.