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University of Iowa News Release


June 8, 2011

UI to offer graduate-level strategic communication courses in Des Moines, online

This fall, the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) will offer two new, graduate-level strategic communication courses online and at the UI's John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center, 1200 Grand Ave., Des Moines. Geared toward professionals in marketing, public relations, public communication, and other careers requiring strong communication skills, the courses are prototypes for a Master of Arts in strategic communication degree program the SJMC will propose to launch in fall 2012.

The initial courses include a workshop on writing and editing for public communication and a seminar on strategic communication leadership. The interactive workshop will teach students to target their market, sharpen their message, and shape communications for maximum impact. Students will be encouraged to bring projects and challenges from the workplace into the classroom. The leadership seminar will focus on collaboration, teamwork and self-management in the modern workplace.

"The curriculum ultimately will cover a wide range of areas including social networking, budget fundamentals, multimedia and convergence, and interpersonal and customer communications," said David Perlmutter, director of the SJMC, a unit within the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "Our plan is to create an instructional dynamic to 'learn it tonight and apply it tomorrow.'"

Admission requirements for the fall 2011 courses include a four-year degree from a college or university, an official transcript, and writing or other professional work samples. The deadline to register is Aug. 15. Tuition is $1,269 per course, with a $110 technology fee. The courses are offered through the UI Division of Continuing Education. Registration is available online at

In fall 2011, the SJMC plans to propose to establish the master's degree in strategic communication, based in Des Moines but also offered online. Specializations in the proposed master's degree would include health and medicine, political communication, public communication and other fields. Nationally recognized UI professors and professional communication experts would teach the courses.

Courses would be held in the evenings and on weekends. The program would be designed for working professionals, allowing students to complete 30 credit hours of coursework at their own pace by taking a class or two each semester. Students could take single courses without applying for university admission, or they could formally enroll in the program. Pending approval of the master's degree, students could apply to credit the prototype courses toward the degree.

"In the competitive communication field, it will benefit young professionals to sharpen their skills and keep pace with technology without putting their careers on hold," said Don McLeese, the SJMC's associate director for Des Moines and online programs. He will teach the writing and editing workshop. "So many of our journalism students already pursue careers in strategic communication; we wanted to tailor a program specifically to that field, with flexibility for the working professional."

For more information, contact Don McLeese at, or Amy Jo Reimer-Myers, associate director, outreach programs, 515-235-4618, The SJMC also established a website,, Facebook page (University of Iowa Strategic Communication-SJMC), and Twitter account, @UIowaStratComm.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,