Communicating strategically for success — learning on demand

To survive in a rapidly-evolving digital environment, organizations must, according to researchers at the global consulting firm McKinsey, “infuse their cultures with velocity, flexibility, an external orientation, and the ability to learn” (Catlin, et al., 2015, p. 4). For professionals in a wide range of functional areas, strategic communication skills are vital in helping their organizations adapt to this challenging environment.

Continue reading “Communicating strategically for success — learning on demand”

We are building a global university system!

Northeastern flipped the script on its annual State of the University celebration, presenting an engaging new format in which President Joseph E. Aoun and other university leaders and students delivered remarks from locations across the country and abroad while underscoring Northeastern’s foundational strengths: global, diverse, innovative, entrepreneurial, and experiential.

Continue reading “We are building a global university system!”

Congratulations, Class of 2017

91 Corporate and Organizational Communication graduates were recognized at the College of Professional Studies graduation ceremony on May 12th. 

The ceremony was held at Matthews Arena on campus with all the requisite pomp and circumstance. I’m always inspired by the sense of achievement exhibited by the graduates — and the enthusiastic pride of their families and friends in the stands.

Our global network of alumni continues to expand, and in an upcoming post my colleague Patty Goodman will share her experiences at recent Northeastern alumni events in Singapre and Beijing.

 

 

Posted by Carl Zangerl, Ph.D., Faculty

What does it take to be a Chief Communication Officer?

The role of the Chief Communication Officer (CCO) is evolving rapidly in this era of digital disruption. Communication leaders and their teams are uniquely positioned to help nurture the kind of high-velocity cultures that will help organizations thrive, according to research by McKinsey & Company.  Not surprisingly, this also means that communication leaders are increasingly expected to actively participate in the formulation and implementation of business strategy.

What, then, are the skills, competencies, and attributes that organizations are looking for in their communication leaders? Continue reading “What does it take to be a Chief Communication Officer?”

Strengthening our program — underscoring the value of your degree

We’re kicking off 2017 with several initiatives. The first involves adding more concentrations to our master’s program to meet the needs of our students – we’ll soon have eight concentrations! And the second is designed to create additional pathways to a graduate education by offering transfer credit for demonstrated competencies.

New Concentrations
We are introducing two new concentrations. The first is essentially a ‘management track’ for communication professionals who have at least 5 years of experience and are managing a communication team or aspire to. The concentration has a rather long-winded title – Leading Communication Strategy and Talent Development. It will be an interdisciplinary program with three new courses that will be based on research that Zorana Mihic, a current student in our program, and I are conducting. We plan to share our research findings with you in the coming weeks.

The second new concentration, Cross-Cultural Communication, is being designed by my colleague Patty Goodman. It too is interdisciplinary and drills much deeper into the skills and knowledge required to communicate effectively to diverse audiences. A unique feature with this concentration is an option of selecting an international path or social justice path. Both paths include two new courses focused on cultural awareness employing a Cultural Intelligence (CQ) assessment and developing strategic action plans.

Multiple Pathways to a Graduate Education at Northeastern
Northeastern is actively promoting ways to recognize the competencies potential students have demonstrated by granting advanced standing transfer credit where these competencies map to specific course learning outcomes in our program. The accreditation examinations of several professional associations have met that standard of academic rigor. We therefore will grant transfer credit (representing a tuition discount of from 7% to 20%) for the following certifications: PRSA’s Accreditation in Public Relations, the Society of Human Resource Management’s SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications, and IABC’s Communication Management Professional certification. If you have colleagues or friends with these certifications, please encourage them to consider an accelerated graduate degree in our program!

Posted by Carl Zangerl, Ph.D., Faculty

New capstone courses in the curriculum

logo ms coc

Beginning this fall, new students in our program will select one of two 12-week experiential learning opportunities for their capstone course.

1. An online “co-op at work” experience in which a student can design a project initiative in her/his own workplace.

2. A virtual short-term consulting project with a sponsor in the private or nonprofit sectors within Northeastern’s Experiential Network.

These new capstone courses are designed to enable our students to apply the knowledge, skills, and best practices they’ve learned in their core, concentration, and elective courses. We believe this change in the curriculum leverages Northeastern’s reputation as a leader in experiential learning!

Posted by Carl Zangerl, Ph.D., Faculty

Bring the Experiential Network to your organization  

Experiential learning is a hallmark of a Northeastern education, and we’re delighted to offer students an expanding range of opportunities to apply what they’ve learned to real-world projects. In addition to the ‘traditional’ Northeastern co-op placement for full-time students, a new International field study course involving interdisciplinary teams, and a virtual ‘co-op at work’ experience, we will be offering a new course in the fall — an opportunity to engage in a short-term online consulting project with a sponsor in the private or nonprofit sectors.

Over the past few months, CPS has been piloting a non-credit version of what we’re calling the Experiential Network (XN). More than 100 master’s students from a range of disciplines have worked on short-term projects for scores of businesses and nonprofits. The results have been overwhelmingly positive, both for the students and the sponsoring organizations.

Sonja Pankow, a recent graduate of our program completed a project for a Boston-based marketing agency that helps corporate clients develop social media strategies. Her sponsor tasked her with producing a white paper overview of so-called’ micro-influencers,’ or non-celebrity specialists on particular topics whose expertise makes them ideal online brand ambassadors. “I learned a tremendous amount,” Sonja noted, “from the opportunity to produce a deliverable marketing piece for a real-world company. I was able to directly apply knowledge and skills I had learned in my Interactive Marketing Fundamentals and Intercultural Communications classes. It was also very useful to learn how to write in a non-academic style for a corporate audience. I think this experience will really enhance future professional prospects.” This is the kind of learning experience we want to replicate on a larger, credit-bearing scale!

In the fall, we will begin to offer the XN course as a 3 Quarter Hour elective. Students will apply to participate in the course, with requirements that include a B+ GPA and completion of our core required courses. They will develop a project plan, conduct research, develop and deliver recommendations to sponsoring organizations, and reflect on ‘lessons learned’ under the direction of an instructor in our program.

If your organization has a short-term communication-related project that could be completed during the fall 2016 term, please contact Carl Zangerl at c.zangerl @neu.edu. This is a wonderful opportunity, as well, for you to mentor one of our current students.

Posted by Carl Zangerl, Ph.D., Faculty

‘People Don’t Care’ – a communications story  

Patty Bianca
Dr. Patty Goodman at right, with Bianca Gasser, CPS ’16

Communications? How did I end up in Communications? This is a question I have asked and have been asked. I find the study of communications fascinating from an interpersonal perspective, intercultural point of view, anthropological, business management, economics, political science, the list could continue.  Not a simple answer for what seemingly should be a simple response. Let me share with you a defining moment in my past that secured the value of communication studies for my professional career.

We must go back to 1997 when I was the Community Support Services Director for a Central Florida mental health center covering two counties.  What inspired me most about this leadership role was the opportunity to change the face of mental illness. The stigma facing the mentally ill was associated with negativity. There was discomfort and fear in the thought of working with or even being near someone diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Literally, I was told, I can’t trust someone who is crazy. In an effort to increase mental health awareness, I collaborated with a local group from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to create a community event.  Having experience with project management, I thought this would be a simple project while being beneficial for the community.

To my surprise, we had doors close on us left and right when seeking sponsorship, venue location, and media interest. How is this not an important topic? Why won’t people want to learn about mental illness? People just don’t care, was what I was told. I was shocked and more determined then ever. We need people to make a connection as they would with heart disease or cancer issues. We need to bring schizophrenia alive.

About that time, we learned of a one woman traveling show. This actress had a sister with schizophrenia and wrote a short drama about her experience.  We were able to gain support for this theatrical production within a community church. Next step was to gain sponsorship for media. Being a member of the Ocala Jaycees, I was able to secure backing from numerous rising business leaders interested in hearing about this woman’s story.

The public relations plan started to fall into place, imagine your sister, your mother, or your daughter struggling with illness, an illness of the mind…come and join us to experience the emotional roller coaster ride of a lifetime.  People were interested. We had a diverse group of audience members who may have come to see a show, but left with insights into schizophrenia.  Our event was awarded community recognition, but more importantly the event set into motion greater discussions on the topic of mental illness. People did care. It was all in listening and getting the words out in a meaningful way.

Patty Goodman, Ed.D., recently joined the faculty of the MS in Corporate and Organizational Communication program as an Assistant Teaching Professor.