Events & Media

New Curricular Focus Expands Communication Skills
In spring quarter 2013, the Bren School will launch the Strategic Environmental Communication & Media focus, a collaboration with the Carsey-Wolf Center that will teach students communication concepts and technical skills, which they will then use to create outreach messages for specific audiences and actual clients.

The new Strategic Environmental Communication & Media focus extends the school's emphasis on the importance of communicating science-based environmental knowledge. Students are taught communication theory and technical skills associated with a variety of media platforms — from brochures to websites and films. Real-world application is provided when students complete a capstone project that involves using one or more forms of media to create a real-world strategic media outreach campaign enabling an actual client to reach a specific target audience.

The new focus is a joint initiative that taps into the abundant media expertise at UCSB's leading-edge Carsey-Wolf Center. Center executive director, Richard Hutton, worked closely with Bren School professor Hunter Lenihan, who led a Bren School faculty committee; Bren School assistant dean for academics, Satie Airamé; Bren alumna and Carsey-Wolf associate director, LeeAnne French; and others to develop the new focus, which reflects a high level of interest and demand for communication-related courses. Occasional one-day workshops and short course on various aspects of communication and media have been heavily attended while generating many student requests for a substantive strategic communication curricular element.

Students will be required to complete 12 units of coursework, including two required 4-unit primary courses and two 2-unit electives. Students pursuing any of the seven MESM specializations or a PhD at the Bren School may add the communication focus to supplement their training.

Those who choose to pursue the communication focus will learn to use media to communicate effectively and strategically around environmental issues. They will acquire indispensable verbal and written communication skills and develop competence with web, video, and/or social media tools. They will learn to develop compelling environmental narratives, target appropriate audiences, and monitor and manage environmental messages. 

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