University College offers new strategic communication program

Working professionals looking to develop their writing and communication skills can now earn a Certificate in Strategic Communication at University College, Washington University in St. Louis’ adult, continuing-education division of Arts & Sciences.

The new, 21-credit program features courses in writing and strategic communication taught by well-known communication professionals in the St. Louis area. The Certificate in Strategic Communications allows students to develop essential skills in creating, managing and implementing communications programs and includes courses that cover critical concepts in communications research, management, marketing, advertising, public relations, technology and media. An array of electives enables students to customize a program to fit the needs of their organization and career aspirations.

“Clear writing and effective communication are key factors for success in today’s dynamic professional environment,” said Robert Wiltenburg, Ph.D., dean of University College. “Businesses demand versatile, creative leaders who can communicate clearly in a variety of formats with their important communities. Our writing and communication courses — and, in particular, the new Certificate in Strategic Communication program — offer ways to build skills and train current and future leaders in strategic communication.”

Courses offered in the Fall 2008 semester include:

Introduction to Strategic Communication. This overview course covers strategic communication in corporate, agency, and nonprofit environments. It provides a foundation for busy executives and professional communicators who create and manage marketing and advertising, public relations and reputation management, social media, or other communications outreach efforts for their organizations. The professor will be Tom McDermott, a former Monsanto Co. vice president whose experience managing overall public affairs and public relations activities includes financial communications, media relations, employee communications and advertising.

Writing for Business Success. This course helps develop business writing and communication skills by teaching and practicing a wide variety of writing — from professional e-mails and memos to reports, presentations, web site content and proposals. The professor will be Paul Wagman, senior vice president and partner and writing coach at Fleishman-Hillard.

Public Relations. This course provides an overview of public relations and its role in today’s society, including theories, issues, trends and practical applications of communicating with various publics, including the news media, employees, consumers, the community, shareholders and government. The professor will be Mark Abels, former vice president, corporate communications, for TWA.

“I hope St. Louis professionals will take advantage of these courses to improve their ability to maintain strong relationships with the communities that are most important to their success,” Wiltenburg said. “We have information on how to obtain financial aid or work with employers to arrange for tuition reimbursement to make becoming a successful student even easier.”

Fall classes at University College begin Aug. 27.

University College will host a Fall Preview Night at 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 7, in Holmes Lounge on WUSTL’s campus for those interested in learning more about the Certificate in Strategic Communication or other University College programs.

For more information about University College, please contact Katina Truman, director of marketing and admissions, at 314-935-6777 or or visit