Saturday, January 12, 2008

Campaigns client: Partners for a Prosperous Athens

This semester marks the fifth time I've taught PR Campaigns, and I've gone and made it the most challenging yet. I have 20 students (not including the 5 working on the Bateman competition team) all working on a single project, Partners for a Prosperous Athens/OneAthens. The client is an ambitious, grassroots attempt to solve the horrendous poverty problem here in the home of the state's flagship university.

The class met with representatives of the client, which is a coalition convened by local government, business, school system, university, and other officials. Thousands of volunteers have contributed in one way or another over the past two years. They've conducted research on the issues, identified problem areas, and made 155 recommendations, which were combined into 10 initiatives, for which implementation plans have been made. Now it's time to stop talking and start doing. The client wants our class to help publicize and explain the implementation strategies and to build public support for the intiatives. The plan pushes hot buttons in just about every area you can think of, but I think there is general support for the idea that something must be done.

On Tuesday the class is going to divide into 4-5 teams to do a couple of weeks' research on the initiatives and implementation plan so we can figure out how to explain and build support for the complicated plan in our very diverse community. I have confidence that my students are up to the challenge, which is good because failure is not an option!

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"More important than the curriculum is the question of the methods of teaching and the spirit in which the teaching is given" --Bertrand Russell

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