Communication and Media Studies 430

COMS 430: Crisis Management and Communication

Prerequisite: COMS 130 and COMS 230 and COMS 225 or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

Public relations theory, management concepts, information management, problem solving and communication management that are central to individuals in organizations succeeding in the management of crisis situation.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The content may include:
I. Crisis Preparation

  • Diagnosing vulnerabilities
  • Establishing crisis management teams
  • Developing a crisis management plan

II. Handling Crisis Situations

  • Initial response to crisis
  • Assessing information needs and spokespersons             
  • Communicating contingency plans
  • Reputational Management

III. Postcrisis Concerns

  • Crisis evaluation
  • Image reparation
  • Postcrisis action plans


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course is designed primarily as a lecture/discussion course.  Other instructional strategies may include, but not be limited to, student presentations, case studies, analytical papers, and guest speakers


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Professor Timothy Coombs, one of the premier scholars of crisis communication in our discipline, suggests the following objectives for a crisis communication course, and we concur:

  • To develop an appreciation of the ongoing approach to crisis management
  • To understand the core elements for the crisis preparation
  • To understand the guidelines for selecting crisis team members
  • To develop the ability to diagnose crisis vulnerabilities and suggest ways to prevent crises
  • To develop the ability to diagnose to differentiate between different crisis types
  • To understand the communication skills necessary to function as an effective spokesperson
  • To understand the components of a crisis vulnerability assessment and a crisis management plan and to develop the ability to evaluate crisis management plans
  • To demonstrate the ability to assess appropriateness of a crisis response; and
  • To demonstrate the ability to assess the information needs and resources of a crisis situation*

*Coombs, W. Timothy. (Spring 2001)Teaching the crisis management/communication course.(Public Relations Education).  In Public Relations Review, 27, p89. Retrieved September 10, 2006.


Assessment Measures

Appropriate assessment strategies may include examinations, analytical papers, and presentations.


Other Course Information


Review and Approval

September, 2007 Reviewed Dr. Gwen Brown