CURRENT UNDERGRADUATE, GRADUATE, AND EXECUTIVE COURSES (scroll down for a sample of course descriptions)
Communication in Public Settings / Managerial Communication
Communication Strategy / Public Campaigns and Advocacy
Media, Politics, and Public Culture / Media and Democracy
Public Communication and Organizations
Improv and Leadership
The Art and Science of Communication: Theories for Leadership and Life
How to Give a TED Talk
Public Speaking / Speech Fundamentals
Communication as a Liberal Art
Independent Studies / Capstone Projects (e.g. Communication for Press Secretaries; Religious and Political Communication)
Communication in Public Settings (PAF 9103, offered every Winter [XMPA]/Summer [NUF]) and Managerial Communication (BUS 9555, offered every Fall [EMBA])
Communication is the one of the most complex, pervasive, and consequential subjects on our planet (National Communication Association credo). With a concentrated focus upon the needs of MPA students, this course will train public leaders to both understand and skillfully apply effective and ethical communication in their respective spheres of influence. In doing so, it will attend to the broad possibilities and constraints that individuals and groups face within local, national, and global contexts. The class covers advanced, cutting-edge knowledge for translating complex material in oral and written communication, techniques to increase comfort, confidence, and influence across a variety of public settings, and best practices in deliberative communication, group styles, and audience interaction. This course employs a problem-based focus, stepping back from and analyzing ours and others’ communication habits, and then stepping back into the action to experiment with alternative practices. No matter what communication training you have received, this class will go a long way toward your ongoing development as an excellent speaker, writer, and organizational advocate—following a workshop/lab format with assignments that build upon one another for the application of theory and refinement of skills.
Communication Strategy (PAF 9139, offered every Winter [MPA]/Spring [XMPA])
This seminar builds upon PAF 9103, focusing on persuasive organizational communication strategies and campaigns. The course takes an “attention economy” approach to developing strategy, assuming that attention is now one of the scarcest resources of our age. Readings, lessons, and discussions will cover credible, social scientific influence strategies (and the many obstacles and ethical issues related to such practices), which advance us beyond merely “intuitive” or “tradition-bound” approaches to this subject. In so doing, this class will provide students with cutting-edge techniques from a variety of academic and professional fields working at the forefront of public change, including: communication, marketing for social impact (“social marketing”), behavioral economics, public sector relations and advertising, and online and social media advocacy. Students will learn how to coordinate messages across a diverse array of programs and media, and conduct communication audits to keep an institution focused on essential internal and external communication practices. By the end, you will walk away from this course with a toolkit of practical communication strategies/plans that can be applied immediately in your everyday work.
Media, Politics, and Public Culture (PAF 9699/9104, offered every Winter/Summer [MPA])
Our media environment affects every issue in public affairs, from education to healthcare. This online class examines how the media either advance or limit the potential for democratic values to take hold in public life. Through a survey of some of the most pressing questions about the media, the course will cover how elites work with media systems to manufacture consent and ideology among citizens, the domestic and global forces working for and against media diversity, and the possibilities for individuals or groups to monitor, preserve, or challenge the power resulting from such practices. Studying the messages that shape and express our political choices, the audiences and technologies that carry those messages, and the media institutions and policies that have guided their creation provides us with better insights into the very aspirations of a society. The use of new and social media for participation in the political process, the crossings of civic and popular culture, and trends in media convergence and spreadable content will all be emphasized. Students will work to form and articulate a vision for how we might best move forward among the thicket of concerns and uncertainties raised by readings, online discussions, guided lessons, and numerous film/documentary viewings.
Humor Matters (PAF 4199 [BSPA])
From The Daily Show to presidents telling jokes, humor is now a significant part of public affairs. In this course, students will explore and learn to apply more humor and creativity in their lives. The class covers types of humor and comedy—including satire, parody, irony, and more—and theories of why we laugh, why humor is a learnable skill, and how the art and science of humor benefits the body and soul. The course will use New York City as a laboratory for exploring the comic side of life, including outings to watch comedy performances. Students will learn about the surprising applications of humor across many areas of public affairs, such as the therapeutic uses of humor in healthcare and social service settings. The course will also focus on the use of humor in political and cross-cultural communication, especially in creating space for dissent, breaking down taboos, and raising issues related to race, ethnicity, and religion. Course materials will include academic and professional works on humor, clips from a variety of media, and collaborative, practical assignments. Whether you want to add humor to your professional toolkit or simply bring more joy to your career, this class will connect participants with many new perspectives and skills.
The Art & Science of Communication: Theories for Leadership and Life (Macaulay Honors Program)
This course examines some of the most significant ideas about communication to emerge in the past century, focusing on their relevance and meaning for everyday life—and their potential to point us toward more resilient, informed, and innovative practices in professional settings. Starting with vexing interpersonal problems and ending with critical global issues, students will learn and discuss how many practical theories of communication can illuminate and challenge our notions of how humankind might best proceed into the future. The class aims to provide a behavioral blueprint for aspiring leaders needing to understand and negotiate the increasingly complex dimensions of messages, meanings, and cultures in their public work.