by Jack Atkinson, Nikki Francisco, Megan McCall, and Easton Miller

When the world is watching

Risk and Crisis Communication is a course offered at Chapman University that focuses on teaching students about potential crises or unexpected events that may threaten a company’s reputation or performance. We were fortunate enough to be taught by a professor with an extensive background in public relations; whom often deals with crisis situations. One of the most memorable concepts from this course was its application to any future career setting. We were able to examine a wide variety of crisis scenarios and learn specific skill sets for crisis management and prevention in any environment. For all four of us, it was exciting to take this course because it was practical and taught the importance of clarity and preparedness inside a corporation.

Always be sure to consult with your PR team before jumping in front of the camera!

Real dilemmas— strategic solutions

First off, this course was taught from a hands-on viewpoint rather than just theory. We analyzed real life case studies involving companies that Americans interact with on a daily basis. By doing so, we were able to see how common crisis can be and the importance of handling situations honestly and quickly. Secondly, this course allowed students to stay in touch with current events. Students are asked to find news articles that are related to course content and post them to an online discussion board each week. This method created class engagement and education outside of the classroom. Finally, Risk and Crisis Communication requires students to create their own crisis plan for a company. This assignment encourages critical thinking by analyzing all possible crises, understanding how to prepare for them, knowing how to handle the situation, being aware of reliable first-response contacts and the best ways for updating the public through the media. Each of us found it extremely helpful to be given real life scenarios and told to handle them as if we were in the shoes of the president or founder.

Risk and Crisis Communication is an important course for more than just Strategic and Corporate Communication majors because crises can happen to any company in any field of study. Dominique Francisco, a Strategic and Corporate Communication major stated that, “I knew about the professor beforehand but had little knowledge of what the class entailed. After the semester finished, I felt confident in my ability to effectively prepare and handle a crisis, which is important for me since plan to run my own business in the future.”

If you’re looking for a course that applies real world skills to the curriculum and adds credibility to your resume, then you may benefit from taking Risk and Crisis Communication; as our knowledge and confidence in handling sensitive situations has grown exponentially since the start of the semester. We hope that you can either take this course or take the time to learn about crisis communication, in the event that you may come face to face with one of your own.


See us in action!

Ever wondered what it would be like to put yourself in the shoes of a corporation president? Check out how we would have addressed stakeholders, victims and the general public in time of crisis.


Should you have any questions or would like to know more about our experience in the class, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! 

Jack Atkinson:

Megan McCall:

Easton Miller:

Nikki Francisco: