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Crisis communication and management syllabus fall 2017

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Syllabus for crisis management and communication course, University of San Francisco, Fall 2017. Taught by Dr. Mitchell Friedman, www.mitchellfriedman.com.

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Crisis communication and management syllabus fall 2017

  1. 1. 1 University of San Francisco College of Arts and Sciences M.A. in Professional Communication Strategic Communication Concentration PC 624-01 Crisis Communication (3 units) Professor: Mitchell Friedman, Ed.D., APR Phone: 415-517-5756 (cell) Email: friedman@usfca.edu Office Hours: Thursdays 5:15-5:45 p.m. and by appointment Office Location: Downtown Campus (101 Howard Street), Room 208A Office: Downtown Campus (101 Howard Street), Room 157 Class Meetings: Thursdays, 6-8:45 p.m. Final Exam: None This syllabus is subject to change. The instructor will publish any changes to the syllabus on Canvas (e.g., guest speaker presentations) and notify the class should there be such changes. Course Description This course aims to provide you with an understanding of the framework and tools necessary to successfully address communications in a variety of crisis situations. Through discussion of theory, analysis of case studies, student presentations, role- playing exercises, and other activities, you’ll be asked to think strategically, make recommendations to address crisis-related challenges, and develop robust, proactive plans to assist organizations in this arena. In short, you’ll gain the skill set and confidence needed to maneuver through myriad potential crisis situations today’s organizations and individuals will encounter. Course Learning Outcomes Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: • Identify and apply crisis prevention strategies to different situations in various industries; • Isolate and describe crisis planning and preparation measures; • Differentiate between different crisis types; • Assess the appropriateness of a crisis response; • Assess the information needs and resources of a crisis situation;
  2. 2. 2 • Identify and assess the application of social media tools in different stages of crisis communications and reputation management; • Critically analyze previous crisis situations in established organizations; • Create a crisis communication plan for an organization; and • Act strategically in a simulated crisis situation by applying lessons learned throughout the course. MA in Professional Communication Program Learning Outcomes • Core Knowledge: graduate students will define, identify, and apply the rhetorical conventions and strategies appropriate to communicating effectively and ethically to varied audiences; • Scholarly Communication: graduate students will write and edit a substantial amount of revised prose, meeting standards and applying conventions defined by the field of communication; • Professionalism: graduate students will produce written, oral and digital communication of high quality consistent with their professional concentration and focus; and • Research: graduate students will conduct skilled and ethical research in the field of communication and contribute original knowledge in their chosen industry and profession. Required Texts We will read all of each book in this course, so you’re advised to purchase them. Please secure the editions indicated. Coombs, W. Timothy (2015). Ongoing crisis communication (4rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-4522-6136-2. Fearn-Banks, K. (2017). Crisis communications: A Casebook approach (5th ed.). New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 978-1-13892374-4. Ulmer, R. R., Sellnow, T. L., & Seeger, M. W. (2013). Effective crisis communication: Moving from crisis to opportunity. Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1-4522-5751-8. Other Course Readings Additional weekly readings may be assigned to complement the required textbooks. These will be made available on Canvas. The instructor also will announce their availability to students in advance of deadlines.
  3. 3. 3 Required Assignments, Due Dates, Value 1. Discussion Board Postings and Class Participation (75 points) a. Discussion Board Postings (40 points) You’ll compose a 250-word comment (i.e., questions, insights, observations) on the assigned readings for the week (plus any others you may choose to complete), posting it to the discussion area for 8 of the designated class sessions on Canvas (Session 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 12). The deadline for your original posting is 4 p.m. on the day of class). In your comment, answer one or more of the following questions: • What was helpful to you about the reading in understanding crisis communication and management? How did it help you? • How might the reading inform your efforts on upcoming projects (in this class or on the job)? • What confused you about this reading? What would have helped you avoid or manage that confusion? • What did you find dubious or disturbing about this reading? How does this challenge your thinking about the ethics of professional communication? • What would you have liked to find in this reading that was missing? How would this missing information advance your understanding of the subjects under consideration? Where might you look for this missing information? After you have posted your comment on the assigned reading, respond to at least two student postings by the time you arrive for class. In your responses to the comments of your colleagues in the course, try to answer their questions, challenge or reinforce their thinking, and identify possible resources to help them. b. Class Participation (35 points) You are expected to assignments; (1) come to class; (2) arrive on time; (3) stay through the end of class; and (4) contribute in the following ways: o Provide strong evidence of having read and thought about required reading o Advance the discussion by contributing insightful comments and questions o Listen attentively o Demonstrate interest in your classmates’ comments or questions o Share constructive feedback with your classmates when appropriate
  4. 4. 4 Students are responsible for all information covered in class, whether or not they are present, and should seek assistance from classmates to stay current on any missed material or assignments. In addition, students are expected to deliver assignments on due dates indicated in the syllabus even if they are physically absent. 2. Crisis Case Analysis (125 points) Each student will prepare a 1,500-2,000 word analytical essay on a crisis they choose. Please consult with the instructor about your selection before beginning to work on this assignment. Note that you may not select a crisis covered in any of the assigned readings to complete this essay. In analyzing this crisis, you’ll demonstrate an understanding of the key topics covered in this class specifically by responding to nine questions: 1. What happened that prompted the crisis you’ve selected? Provide a brief overview of the chain of events that precipitated the crisis, what happened during it, and how it concluded (which may consist of an update on most recent crisis- related developments). 2. How were the crisis communications theories covered in the readings reflected in the particular crisis? 3. Can you identify the five stages of a crisis outlined in the readings? Please describe each stage in relation to the crisis you have selected for analysis. 4. What issues, reputation, and/or risk management efforts, if any, did the organization(s) pursue by way of crisis prevention? How did the crisis itself highlight strengths or limitations of these efforts (or the absence of them)? 5. Assess the response of the organization to the specific crisis you’re considering. What tools (e.g., social media) and techniques were used? Which of these tools/techniques were effective in terms of the overall crisis communication and reputation management efforts? Why? 6. How did crisis response tools and techniques employed in your case study come up short? Why? What might the organization you studied have done instead? 7. In your opinion, what distinguishes this crisis from others we have discussed in class? What makes it like them? 8. What about this crisis in particular informs your overall understanding of crisis communication and reputation management?
  5. 5. 5 9. What did you learn from your work on this crisis that you anticipate will help you when preparing the crisis communications plan for your organization? You may choose to answer the nine questions individually or write an essay incorporating your responses. If you choose the latter approach, please indicate that you have answered the specific questions by using subheadings in your essay. You also should be prepared to informally discuss your case in class on its due date (see schedule provided below). 3. Crisis Management Plan (300 points) Students will divide themselves into groups to complete a crisis management plan for an organization they choose. This assignment consists of five smaller assignments (phases) completed throughout the semester as noted in the “Session Topics” below: organizational history, risk assessment, strategic communication action plan, and evaluation. Students will deliver a final report with their plan to their organization, and deliver a presentation on its highlights to the organization’s representative(s) in class on November 30. The framework for each section will be reviewed in class. The instructor has allocated time during class sessions to meet with each team to help them develop their plans. COURSE GRADING SCALE ASSIGNMENT POSSIBLE POINTS PERCENTAGE AND LETTER GRADE EQUIVALENTS POINTS RANGE Crisis Case Analysis 125 96.0-100% Superior (A) 90.0-95.9% Excellent (A-) 87.0-89.9% Good (B+) 83.0-86.9% Fair (B) Below 83% needs improvement (B-) 120-125 112-119 108-111 103-107 Crisis Management Plan and Presentation 300 96.0-100% 90.0-95.9% 87.0-89.9% 83.0-86.9% 288-300 270-287 261-276 249-260 Discussion Board Postings and Class Participation 75 96.0-100% 90.0-95.9% 87.0-89.9% 83.0-86.9% 72-75 67-71 65-66 62-64
  6. 6. 6 TOTAL 500 SCALE USED TO DETERMINE FINAL GRADES 480-500 A 450-479 A- 435-449 B+ 415-434 B Below 414 B- (needs improvement) About Your Assignments All work must be typed, in 12-point font, and double-spaced in Microsoft Word (no PDFs, please) unless otherwise stated. Be sure your name and date are included. You should name each of your submissions as follows: firstname_lastname_date. Specific requirements, expectations, and standards for evaluation will be provided as the due dates approach along with rubrics used for grading. You are encouraged to consult with the instructor throughout the semester to discuss assignments, grades, class content, or to receive additional guidance. Academic Honesty As a Jesuit institution committed to cura personalis—the care and education of the whole person—USF has an obligation to embody and foster the values of honesty and integrity. USF upholds the standards of honesty and integrity from all members of the academic community. All students are expected to know and adhere to the University's Honor Code. You can find the full text of the code online at https://myusf.usfca.edu/academic-integrity. The policy covers: • Plagiarism—intentionally or unintentionally representing the words or ideas of another person as your own; failure to properly cite references; manufacturing references. • Working with another person when independent work is required. • Submission of the same paper in more than one course without the specific permission of each instructor. • Submitting a paper written by another person or obtained from the internet. The penalties for violation of the policy may include a failing grade on the assignment, a failing grade in the course, and/or a referral to the Academic Integrity Committee. Policy on Late Assignments
  7. 7. 7 Assignments are to be submitted on their due date. A full letter grade will be deducted for each day an assignment is late. Should there be extenuating circumstances, talk with the professor as soon as possible—preferably in advance—to make special arrangements. Attendance Missing more than two classes may result in the lowering of your final grade by half grade, and that missing more than four classes will result in the lowering of your final grade by one full grade. Exceptions: University of San Francisco sponsored or sanctioned events (e.g., athletics, debate, religious holidays) shall be excused from classes on the hours or days such events takes them away from classes. However, such students shall be responsible for advising their professors regarding anticipated absences and completing course work for classes, laboratories, and/or examinations ahead of time. A limited number of documented medical or emergency absences may be allowed at the discretion of the instructor. It is also important that you come to class on time and stay for its duration. Each time you are significantly late or leave early will count as one third of an absence. Tardiness often disrupts class, so if you are tardy, do not enter the class if one of your peers is conducting a speech. In our class, three late appearances equates to one absence, so make sure you arrive on time. MAPC Probation and Disqualification Any graduate student whose cumulative grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. Students on academic probation who fail to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 by the time they have completed the next six (6) semester hours of graduate work are subject to disqualification from the MAPC program. Students whose cumulative average falls below 2.5 in any one semester are also subject to disqualification unless otherwise noted by the specific school or college. Students admitted on Academic Probation are subject to disqualification if they do not receive at least a grade of “B” (3.0) in their first four classes. Students with Disabilities If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Student Disability Services, (SDS) 422-6876 as early as possible in the semester. Confidentiality, Mandatory Reporting, and Sexual Assault As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment on our campus. I also have a mandatory reporting responsibility related to my role as a faculty member. I am required to share information regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred on USF’s campus with the University. Here are other resources:
  8. 8. 8 • To report any sexual misconduct, students may visit Anna Bartkowski (UC 5th floor) or see many other options by visiting our website: http://www.usfca.edu/student_life/safer • Students may speak to someone confidentially, or report a sexual assault confidentially by contacting Counseling and Psychological Services at 415- 422-6352. • To find out more about reporting a sexual assault at USF, visit USF’s Callisto website at www.usfca.callistocampus.org. • For an off-campus resource, contact San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) (415) 647-7273; (www.sfwar.org). Session Topics, Readings, and Assignments Due Note: You’re strongly advised to spend time reviewing Chapters 6-13 in Fearn-Banks, even though they are not assigned below. Session 1: August 24, 2017 Welcome, Introductions, Course Overview, and Syllabus Review; Formation of Groups for Crisis Management Plan Assignment Session 2: August 31, 2017 Approaching the Subject of Crisis Management Read: Ulmer, Sellnow, & Seeger: Chapters 1, 2 Coombs: Chapters 1, 7 Fearn-Banks: Chapter 1 Session 3: September 7, 2017 Crisis Communication Theory, Lessons, and Applications Read: Ulmer, Sellnow, & Seeger: Chapters 3, 4 Fearn-Banks: Chapter 2
  9. 9. 9 Session 4: September 14, 2017 Social Media for Crisis Communication (Part 1) Read: Fearn-Banks: Chapter 5 Coombs: Chapter 2 Session 5: September 21, 2017 Social Media for Crisis Communication (Part 2) Read: To be determined Session 6: September 28, 2017 Crisis Prevention Read: Ulmer, Sellnow, & Seeger: Chapters 5, 6, 10 Coombs: Chapters 3, 4 Fearn-Banks: Chapter 3 Session 7: October 5, 2017 Crisis Preparation Read: Coombs: Chapters 5, 6 Fearn-Banks: Chapter 6
  10. 10. 10 Session 8: October 12, 2017 Case Analysis written assignment due. Students to informally present cases in class. Session 9: October 19, 2017 Crisis Response Read: Ulmer, Sellnow, & Seeger: Chapters 7, 8 Coombs: Chapter 8 Fearn-Banks: Chapter 4 Session 10: October 26, 2017 Putting Together and Evaluating the Crisis Management Plan Read: Ulmer, Sellow, & Seeger: Chapter 9 Fearn-Banks: Chapter 14, Appendices A, B, C Session 11: November 2, 2017 Instructor Meetings with Student Teams to Review Crisis Management Plans and Presentations Session 12: November 9, 2017 Post-Crisis Considerations Read: Ulmer, Sellow, & Seeger: Chapter 11, 12 Coombs: Chapter 9
  11. 11. 11 Session 13: November 16, 2017 Crisis Simulation (details to be determined) No class on November 23, 2017 as it is Thanksgiving Day Session 14: November 30, 2017 Crisis Management Plans and Presentations; Final Thoughts and Class Wrap Up

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