COMMLD 503 B: Communication and Leadership Practicum: Scenario Planning

Course Description

Scenario Planning is a methodology that organizations use to plan for unexpected risks and opportunities by creating multiple stories about possible futures. The construction of these stories follows a very carefully defined structure and process, starting with the identification of uncertainties that can impact future operations, then building narratives that reflect different possible permutations and outcomes. With these scenarios in mind, we can provide a range of rich “What if” examples to help guide strategies in the face of evolving conditions. In this class, we will undertake an abbreviated version of the scenario planning process to examine a core question: the shape of the Comm Lead Program in the 2030s.

Students will participate in a community scenario planning workshop conducted by industry expert and scenario planning consultant Daniel W. Rasmus (who is serving as guest speaker for the class). They will then work in teams to construct stories around different futures, developing narratives that reflect the experiences of students, faculty members, staff, partners and the broader community. Ahead of the first class session following the workshop, students will work individually to gather further resources to inform the scenario planning process, conducting interviews, doing secondary research, compiling questions, and filling out the research agenda. In the first session, we will use these resources to construct the narrative frameworks and provide professional-level guidance on refining the scenarios into planning tools. In the second session, we will share and discuss the scenarios and apply them to the specific issues related to the future of the CommLead program. Student teams will present and discuss their finding with members of the Comm Lead leadership.

About 503 Communication and Leadership Practicum

Communication and Leadership Practicum courses give students an opportunity to engage with and understand the uses of course concepts in contemporary professional practice by addressing the challenges of real-life organizations.

Each section of the Comm Lead Practicum focuses on a distinct professional skill or practice that is deemed essential across a variety of professional fields. Students can choose their section based on their interests and needs. Each section is matched with a client organization or group of client organizations who are interested in partnering with Communication Leadership students.

In the span of a quarter, students analyze the issues faced by the client organization(s), collaborate and brainstorm collectively in small teams, and with the support of their faculty mentor create a deliverable for the client organization(s) that relates to the specific practice. Students may also create creative samples as part of the project. In doing so, students can develop and enhance skills, build foundations of practice, and produce work that they can include in their own professional portfolios.