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COMM 626

Best Practices
in Strategic Communication
Summer 2010 Wednesdays. Hybrid. (Some classes meet in Sykes 226, some meet online.) To find out if classes will meet in bad weather, call 704-337-2567. M.A. students: File this syllabus with completed assignments for your Capstone portfolio.

_____________________________________________________________________________ Instructor: Office: Phone: Leanne Pupchek, Ph.D., Dana 101 (704) 337-2240 (office--only for on-campus weeks) (704) 663-4861 (home)

Office Hours: Online weeks by e-mail and home phone W 2-5:30 p.m. On-campus weeks in my office W 2-5:30 p.m. And by appointment. Textbooks: Argenti & Barnes (2010). Digital strategies for powerful corporate communications. New York: McGraw-Hill. International Association of Business Communications (2010). Best practices in communication planning and implementation. San Francisco: IABC. Structure: Hybrid course A hybrid course is designed so that a significant portion takes place online. CMM 626 meets five times on campus: May 19, June 9, June 23, July 28 and August 4. At least two of these meetings will feature guest practitioners who will discuss and evaluate their own experiences according to Best Practices concepts.

COMM 626

Technology requirements: Taking this class requires using the Moodle Learning Management System. Access the system at For you to be able to use Moodle for this class, your computer must have these minimum technical specifications: For a PC: 56.6 Kbps Modem (or Cable Modem / DSL if available) Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, ME, XP or Vista operating system Internet Explorer 5.5 or later, Firefox web browser For a Mac: 56.6 K Modem (or Cable Modem / DSL if available) Macintosh OS 9 or OS X operating system Firefox web browser (free download) Moodle Learning Management System help: You can get help with Moodle in the following ways: For general information and FAQs, access the help page on the Queens website For training, contact Jada Williams for orientation and instruction in Moodle at Scheduled orientations will be announced on RexText and on the help page. For login, Qmail, or online registration problems, contact the QUEST help desk at 704-337-2323.

Course Description: The term best practice in strategic communication describes a method of solving a communication problem that experience has shown to be an effective way to meet strategic goals. For practical purposes, assigning the term acknowledges that a particular practice has worked. But heres the issue: As we scan the world around us, we can see that the communication practices that worked during the course of the entire twentieth century probably are rarely, if ever, the best practices of today to perform the functions of institutional communication. The fall of the assumption of information push and the rise of the wild frontier of information pull are determining new best practices. In this course, we will explore what works to persuade audience members to behave according to the strategic goals of social, commercial, political or altruistic campaigns in the media and interpersonal communication environments of the twenty-first century.

3 Course Objectives: After successfully completing this class, you will be able to: 1. Explain the concept of best practices 2. Identify major strategic communication functions 3. Identify best practices for major strategic communication functions. 4. Participate in a process for identifying evaluation criteria. 5. Describe an exemplary strategic communication practice. 6. Demonstrate how you can apply criteria to evaluate strategic communication practices by reviewing a case study 7. Analyze aspects of the nature and employment of best practices in the realm of strategic communication in a series of reflections. Course Responsibilities: READING: This course requires reading about 50 pages a week in books and online. Please prepare yourself for online and on-campus participation by completing the reading. ATTENDING: Please attend on-campus meetings and participate in synchronous and asynchronous online activities according to the schedule below. CONFORMING TO PROFESSIONAL WRITING STANDARDS: To meet my expectations for the style of your formal written work (e.g. Case Study), please ensure you: 1. Review and follow the Honor Code. Cutting and pasting anything from the web without attribution is plagiarizing, even if you mix up the order of the words or change them to synonyms. (You can always go to the Center for Academic Success in the basement of Sykes if you want to improve your prose.) 2. Submit documents electronically through Moodle. 3. Conform to a standard academic reference and citation style in formal papers. In the M.A. program, we prefer American Psychological Association (APA) style. The library has quick reference guides, as do many websites. 4. Use standard print fonts (Arial, Times Roman, Helvetica). 5. Number each page of your documents in the upper right-hand corner. 6. Attach a cover page that notes the title of your document, your name, course number, and e-mail address; insert a header that notes your last name and the course number (COMM 626.)

COMM 626 COMPLETING ASSIGNMENTS: Submit all assignments by 6 p.m. on the due date. 1) Lead chapter discussion: Value: 10% You (and perhaps a partner) will lead a class discussion about an A&B text chapter. Most discussions will take place online and asynchronously. One will take place on campus. 2) Develop Best Practices Criteria I: Value: 10% Due: One week after you lead discussion. Develop a best practices set of criteria for the communication function you/your chapter covered. 3) Evaluate Best practices category in IABC text: Value: 20% Due: June 16 Analyze an assigned category of IABC examples according to your set of class best practices criteria, yours and someone elses. How do your criteria compare to the IABC judging criteria?

4) Case Study: Value: 30% Due: July 12 Report on one practice (approved by Dr. Pupchek) implemented by a U.S, company. For help on how to write a case study, visit the internet. For example, see Gather your information by examining published reports, interviewing practitioners involved, interviewing the executive(s) in charge. Complete all research before June 30 to help avoid missing executives on holiday. 5) Case study analysis/review: Value: 10% Due: July 28 Evaluate an assigned case report according to Criteria II. 6) Reflection journal: Value: 20% Due: Aug. 11 Demonstrate your engagement with the readings and course concepts by writing weekly (at least) page-long (at least) reflections. Use Microsoft word or a compatible program. Compile your reflections to submit. (I will not grade for spelling and grammar. These reflections are informal.)

Grading scale: A B C F

Superior work Good work. Could improve one of these areas: ideas, argument or grammar. Acceptable work. Needs to improve two of these areas: ideas, argument or grammar. Unacceptable work. Reflects unacceptable level of commitment or skill. Or plagiarism.

Students with disabilities: If you are a student with a verified disability and you require accommodations, please provide me with the memorandum from Student Disability Services. If you have questions or need such verification, contact: Sandy Rogelberg, MA, LPC, NCC Phone: 704-337-2508 Email: Queens Honor Code The Honor Code that permeates all phases of university life is based on three fundamental Principles: that Queens students: a) are truthful at all times, b) respect the property of others, and c) are honest in tests, examinations, term papers, reason for a class absence and all other academic assignments. Please contact me if you believe a violation of the Honor Code has occurred. Cancelled Classes In the rare event that it is necessary to cancel classes, announcements will be made on TV and radio, and will be posted on To receive the earliest possible notification, Commuter students should register for QAlert. You may also check television, radio or website, or call the Queens Information Hotline (704-337-2567). NOTE: If classes are meeting but you feel that you cannot find a safe way to get to campus, please call (704) 941-9883 as soon as possible. Intellectual Property Policy Queens University of Charlotte faculty and students adhere to the Queens Intellectual Property Policy. See and Notes:

COMM 626

May 19 On campus: Defining terms: Strategic Communication, Best Practices and ... Introductions. Online environment. Course and technology expectations. Assignments. Last day to add Last day to drop Online: Environment, interaction, online platforms, media relations Reading: Ch. 1-4 Online asynchronous activities that take place May 26-June 1. Chapter Leads 1. 2. 3. 4. Online: Internal, Investor, Social and Government relations Reading: Ch. 5-8 Online asynchronous activities that take place June 2-June 8. Chapter Leads 5. 6. 7. 8. On campus: Crisis communication Reading: Ch. 9 Chapter Lead(s): Invited guest: Dianne Chase, C4cs Discussion: British Petroleum and the Deepwater Horizon Online: IABC Best Practices Evaluation Due: Assignment #3 Best practices for 1 category Discussion: Evaluation criteria Online synchronous activity that takes place 6-9 p.m.

May 21 May 24 May 26

June 2

June 9

June 16

June 23

On campus: Case Study meetings Online asynchronous activity: Discuss/compile case study questions for practitioners and executives Online: Case Study research: problems, pitfalls, progress Online asynchronous activity: Revisit A&B Ch. 1-4 in context of new case-related research Online: Case Study writing: problems, pitfalls, progress Online asynchronous activity: Revisit A&B Ch. 5-8 in context of new case-related research Last day to withdraw Online: Discuss Case Studies Due: Case Studies. Please post by July 12. Online synchronous activity that takes place 6-9 p.m. July 14 Online: Best Practices Criteria II Develop class Best practices criteria sets for different categories of functions Online synchronous activity that takes place 6-9 p.m. July 21 Reflect on process and post reflections. On campus: Present Case Study reviews Due: Case study reviews. What are we missing? Invited Guests: Representatives from Maersk Inc. On campus: Identify and outline A&Bs missing chapter(s) Course evaluations and Best practices. Due online: Reflection journals.

June 30

July 7

July 9 July 14

July 21

July 28

Aug. 4

Aug. 11

COMM 626

Writing a reflections journal

The primary purpose for requiring you to write short reflections is to get you to digest your reading and the class discussions by applying the new concepts or perspectives to your personal experience and observations. The reflections give you material to contribute to class discussions or to apply to research projects by either serving as the basis for your contributions, or prompting you to continue thinking and formulating a further response. Writing reflections over the course of the whole semester allows you to reveal your growth as a scholar, critic and practitioner. In about two pages: 1. Summarize the weeks reading and/or activity. Make sure you describe how you felt about your activities. (Remember, I am familiar with the content. I want to know what you think and feel about it. 2. Describe insights, observations, concepts that resonated particularly with you and how they apply to a practice you have seen or experienced. 3. If appropriate, describe insights, observations, and concepts that you struggled with, and explore possible reasons or resolutions.

Evaluation: +

Excellent: Demonstrates insight into some of the material Features one concept Explores concept deeply rather than covering everything you read. Good: Connects ideas from other courses, work, current events etc. Provides acceptable application of the material

Incomplete Needs application Needs organization Needs vocabulary/spelling/grammar review

Name: _____________________________

COMM 626

Contact information and Honor Code Pledge

Address: ________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ Phone number: _________________________________________________ E-mail: _________________________________________________________ Honor Code: As a member of the Queens Community, I will endeavor to create a spirit of integrity and honor for its own sake at Queens University of Charlotte. I pledge truthfulness and absolute honesty in the performance of all academic work. I pledge to be truthful at all times, to treat others with respect, to respect the property of others and to adhere to University policies. Accepting both the privileges and responsibilities of living by this code of honor, I resolve to uphold this code and not to tolerate any violations of its spirit or principles. Signed: