• The Communication Leadership curriculum includes core courses and a variety of electives. Use the search widget below to sort classes by degree track (MCDM, MCCN, track neutral) and by other attributes (credits, core requirements, etc.).

    Please view the University of Washington Academic Calendar for important dates, including quarter start and end dates, registration dates and deadlines, and campus holidays. Registration SLNs can be located on the Time Schedule. Please read the Department’s statement on internet resource requirements for access to courses.

Clear all

COMMLD 535: Foundations of Audio Storytelling (Partnow) - 2021-2022 Summer

Track Neutral Elective | 5 Credits
Tuesdays 6/22-8/17, 6:00PM PDT – 9:50PM PDT | Online

Course Description

Whether gathered around a radio in a living room or walking plugged in with headphones, the medium of audio storytelling has always offered the opportunity to build a mindset-shifting community around content. This course traces the evolution of audio storytelling from radio to podcasting that links to communities for various purposes: to educate, to entertain, and to inspire action — and the new golden age of podcasting that we find ourselves in means that audio storytelling has the potential for broad reach and powerful impact. Consideration is given to the core characteristics of strong storytelling, observed through an auditory filter. Class materials are twinned with a selection of cross-sector guest speakers who bring their own craft perspective. Students will experiment with designing their own short audio pieces.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 536: Intensive Video Storytelling: Conceptualizing, Shooting, and Editing (Keller) - 2021-2022 Summer

Track Neutral | 3 Credits
Wednesday – Sunday 6/23 – 6/27, 9:00AM PDT – 5:00PM PDT | Online

Course Description:

This skills-based course explores how engaging online video relies on effective storytelling. It is designed to familiarize you with video tools associated with storytelling: specifically, how to develop, shoot, and edit video.

Storytelling has been part of the human experience since the formation of language. Today, the technology that surrounds the “tell” of a story (the modes and channels of communication) directly shapes a viewer’s experience. This course focuses on the practical decisions you make as you craft a narrative. How do the choices you make in the creation and delivery of your story affect the reception of your message?

Given the compressed five-day timeline of this course, we will emphasize skill building using devices you currently have available. The class will also include practice with the tools that have emerged during the pandemic for remote video production. Remote production will continue to be a part of the fabric of media creation even after the restrictions from the pandemic have been lifted. It is cost-effective and creates the opportunity to eliminate geography as a barrier to access.

*This is an intensive course taking place on five consecutive days, starting Wednesday June 23 – Sunday June 27. 

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 541: Crisis Communication (Schwartz) - 2021-2022 Summer

Track Neutral | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 6/23 – 8/18, 5:00PM PDT – 8:50PM PDT | Online

Course Description

The 24-hour news cycle, social media, and online reporting fundamentally changed how institutional leaders, executives, celebrities, politicians, and organizations address crises big and small; internal and external; local, national, and international. Effectively managing a crisis means not just employing PR strategies, but developing a comprehensive communications plan that disseminates actionable content and engages all stakeholders with equal focus across multiple and diverse networks. This course will address how the tools of communication influence crisis communication strategies. In addition, it will identify the key issues that must be addressed during an organizational crisis (real or imagined) from a communications perspective. It will examine implementation strategies to engage traditional and social media; digital networks; federal, state and local lawmakers; external and internal stakeholders; and consumers or constituents. As important, it will deconstruct and reinforce the personal ethics and behavior required by professionals in a crisis situation. This class uses current events, interactive discussions, real-time exercises, and engaging guest lectures to provide practical insight about effective techniques and lessons learned.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 543: Leadership Approaches to Equity Initiatives in Organizations (Ross) - 2021-2022 Summer

MCCN Elective | 5 Credits
Wednesdays 6/23-8/18, 6:00PM PDT – 9:50PM PDT | Online

Course Description

This course challenges and supports students to develop deeper self-awareness, hone stronger skills for learning across difference, and prepare themselves as organizational change-makers for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For better or worse, organizational change initiatives impact individuals, groups, organizations, and ultimately societies. Thus, courageous leaders throughout organizations must learn how to improve their relevant knowledge, skills, and awareness iteratively, in order to contribute effectively to genuine change-making. The course is designed to meet students where they are and coach them toward significant growth in self-awareness, skills, and understanding. Students learn collaboratively together in order to explore interconnections among the dimensions of our intersectional identities. Those who complete this course gain confidence in their ability to learn about uncomfortable topics and expand their understanding of the roles of individuals, groups, organizations, and societal structures in making real system change.

[Course Description +]

COMMLD 540: Crisis and Risk Communication in Public Health Contexts (Wang) - 2021-2022 Summer

MCCN Elective | Meets Law & Ethics Requirement | 5 Credits
Thursdays 6/24-8/19, 6:00PM – 9:50PM PDT | Online

Course Description:

 More than any other public health crises in recent memory, the COVID-19 pandemic emphasizes the necessity of effective health, risk and crisis communication. With the pandemic reaching all corners of the globe, no population or industry has been untouched, resulting in many swift and powerful narratives about the consequences of COVID-19. Whether in the midst of a global crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic or enduring more localized health impacts, every day public health information is generated and made available to the public about diseases, public policies, new products, and corporate behavior. People are accessing this information in real time by means of traditional news, online media, social media and word of mouth. The public’s near-instant access to this unfiltered information presents significant new risks, particularly surrounding misinformation, drawing conclusions from wrong or impartial information, and disinformation, deliberately spreading falsehoods to further an agenda. Additional risks include reputation damage for organizations and leaders that are not responding effectively to COVID-19, have negative impacts on health or the environment, or ineffective policy outcomes when health-related guidance is misunderstood or ignored. During times of crisis messaging can be lost in the noise, resulting in unintended consequences, rejected messages, or public fear and confusion.

In this course students will learn about risk communication in public health. Risk communication, a field that emerged in the 1980’s, has been used for both strategic and unplanned communications linked to the introduction of new technologies and products, environmental contamination, disease outbreaks, disasters, consumer products, drug and food safety, safety measures and devices, and new breakthroughs. Events linked to terrorism as well as a number of major natural disasters over the past few years have increased attention to this area. While during non-crisis periods, ineffective risk communication can result in low-impact, wasted resources, and other undesirable outcomes. When deployed effectively, risk communication is an invaluable tool for engendering trust, protecting organizational value, and helping the public make informed decisions. Emphasis in the course is on research and professional practices especially in regards to how to communicate with the general public, special populations, and the news media. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a variety of knowledge and skills they need to interpret risk and crisis communication in public health contexts, develop critical and rigorous thinking capabilities, and design productive and effective risk communication messages that improve communication outcomes, reduce public anxiety, increase trust in organizations and leadership, and help key stakeholders make better decisions.

Meets Law & Ethics requirement.

[Course Description +]