Communication is an essential function following a natural disaster or other major emergencies, and public information officers working for cities, counties, school districts and other organizations must provide both accurate and timely information to residents during times of crisis to ensure public safety.
With this in mind, TCU and the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers cofounded the Certified Public Communication Program at TCUTM in 2013, which, to date, has awarded 116 certifications to communications professionals hailing from organizations across 13 states.
“Most jobs in cities and counties have some professional development, and it made sense that the communication role should too,” said Jacque Lambiase, Ph.D., professor of strategic communication and co-director for the CPC program. “The idea to create a certificate program jump-started an 18-month-long discussion with TAMIO’s membership to determine what they needed to elevate themselves—and their role—within their professional space, with a goal of making their organization better.”
Lambiase, with help from her colleague and co-director for the CPC program, Laura Bright, Ph.D., combined their public relations, advertising and marketing expertise to launch the residential program, where professionals get to network, engage in a year-long process of professional growth and goal-setting, and learn from each other.
“The Bob Schieffer College of Communication teaches excellence in communication, and this program continues that mission in professional spaces,” said Lambiase. “We infuse communication with experiential learning and plan-building, as well as theoretical and interactive instruction.”
The CPC program is a 95-hour graduate-level leadership program that both trains and provides the practice skills communicators need to execute oral and written communications successfully, disseminate information, interact with the media and develop crisis communication plans.
Participants receive leadership training designed for the challenges facing public communicators, complete coursework in strategic communications theory and develop three-year comprehensive communication plans for their organizations. Instructors include experts in public relations, marketing, public administration, law and ethics, among others.
While the 2019 cohort is full, the program is accepting applications for the 2020 group, which encompasses two summers (one week each in 2020 and 2021), plus a two-day winter session.
The CPC program partnership includes TCU’s Department of Strategic Communication in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication, TCU Extended Education, the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers, the National Association of County Information Officers, the Texas School Public Relations Association and the City-County Communication and Marketing Association.