Communication Leadership Partner Program

Communication Leadership at the University of Washington collaborates with organizations across sectors. From tech startups to Fortune 500 companies to small nonprofits and government agencies, our partners are vital to the educational experience of our students and the success of our graduate program.

We strive for mutually-beneficial partnerships: organizations benefit from the communication expertise of our community while simultaneously supporting the educational experience of students. In many cases, the needs of organizations provide an opportunity for graduate students to apply their new skills to real-world scenarios.

Our community is comprised of communications professionals with a variety of expertise, including:

  • Communication Strategy
  • Community Engagement
  • Crisis Communication
  • Marketing
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Graphic Design
  • Audience Research
  • Storytelling
  • UX Design
  • Video Production
  • Website Content Strategy
  • Project Management

Some of the most common ways organizations engage with us are:

Hiring a student or an alum

Our community is interested in full-time and part-time positions, paid internships, and project-based work. Because we are a professional degree, the skill levels of our students and alumni vary, so positions at all levels are welcome. If you are looking to hire someone, please complete the form below and we’ll include it in our weekly jobs digest sent to 600+ of our students and alumni every Monday.

Hosting a First Friday

Interested in getting to know our community? We invite you to host a “First Friday” — a monthly networking event for our students and alumni to learn about Seattle-area businesses and build relationships with potential employers. Partner organizations host us in their space, showcase their current work, and promote opportunities within their organization. These events typically draw 40-60 graduate students or alumni and take place October-May. To learn more and apply, please complete the form below.

Participating as a client in a class

Many of our classes require students to work in teams on a defined communication need. When possible, we partner with an organization whose needs align with the class teachings. The projects spans the length of the academic quarter (three months) and the specific deliverables vary depending on the class. Examples include content strategy proposals (recommendations for website improvements), audience or customer engagement strategies, and crafting an organizational narrative. Client fees begin at $1500 and nonprofit rates are available. To learn more and apply, please complete the form below.

Partner Program Consulting Projects

We provide communications support to mission-driven organizations, local government and small businesses in our community on a sliding scale..

Here is how it typically works:

  1. Comm Lead faculty and staff meet with a representative of your organization and discuss your communication needs. Examples of these communication needs include:
    • Developing new messages
    • Reaching new audiences
    • Educating clients or the public on a particular issue or campaign
    • Defining and telling you organization’s story
  2. Once the need is identified, we work together to define a deliverable that can (usually) be accomplished in one academic quarter (about 3 months). Examples of these deliverables include:
    • Short mission-driven videos
    • Public engagement strategies
    • Research and messaging guides
    • Content strategy proposals (recommendations for website improvements)
  3. Our team then recruits top students to execute these projects. These students act as independent consultants for the organization, and Comm Lead faculty and staff provide advising as needed. In exchange for participating in this program, students are rewarded with a scholarship to help with their tuition. 

In addition to offering broad communications support for nonprofits, each year we focus on a high-priority cause or issue in Seattle-area where we think our storytelling and communication expertise could have an especially positive impact:

2020-21: This year we’re working with Restart Partners on a number of public health awareness initiatives related to coronavirus, in partnership with Facebook, WA Labor & Industries and others.

2019-20: We partnered with the UW Center for an Informed Public, to produce public events, online resources and community partnerships to address misinformation and build public trust.

2018-19 We focused on housing security, affordability and homelessness in with clients including Real Change News, the City of Bellevue, Catholic Community Services, and the Tenants Union. Read more about those project here

2017-18: We focused on ocean health and sustainability, working in partnership with the Nereus Program. Check out that showcase site at

Interested in collaborating with us?

Click Here!

For Prospective Students

Questions? Contact Alex Stonehill at

adminCommunication Leadership Partner Program