Looking for an extra class? Crisis Communication may be the perfect fit 

Austin Reimann, Writer, Co-Editor

As class registration is upon us, it is important to highlight some of the classes that may be worth signing up for. Crisis Communications, or COM 416, is a class that not only teaches you about public relations, but also prepares you for tasks that may accompany a job in the field.  


Traditionally taught by Tracy Qualmann, the class is a deep dive into the life of a public relations professional and what it may look like on a daily basis in the event of a crisis. Throughout the class, students work in small groups to craft a “Crisis Plan” for their specified industry. These industries can range from agriculture to education. Students are given possible crises that they have to prepare for and have action plans in place for.  


As groups create their crisis management plan and mitigate realistic crises, they are exposed to the volatility of the industry and the reality that crisis is unavoidable and unpredictable. They must plan for the unexpected and account for all potential angles. Students must also craft media messages and comments for each potential crisis assigned to their industry.  


One of the highlights of the class is the midterm where the small groups are each given a specific position in a large corporation. Throughout the class period, the groups must work with each other to minimize the fallout of a crisis. This cooperation is necessary to succeed and ranges from the finance department to the public relations department.  


Arguably one of the most important aspects of the class is that you will leave with an example of what a true crisis management plan should look like. It is a resource that you can look back on when applying for jobs in the field, or when you potentially start your own business. This is a class that forces you to critically think, evaluate real-life situations, and formulate realistic solutions. It also enhances your writing and communication skills.  


Even if COM 416 is not a required course for your major, I would highly recommend taking the class from a practicality standpoint. Regardless of whether you see yourself working in a public relations firm, understanding how to navigate a crisis in a business setting can be invaluable if you have any interest in starting your own business. So, when you go to register, give COM 416 a look!