On the Crisis Management Frontline: Recognize. Prepare. React.

“My theory on an existing crisis is that you have to be very strategic about each case’s unique elements.” — Judy A. Smith

Judy Smith
 

Explore the mechanics of complex crisis situations and how the law, politics, and policy impact response strategy with our newest online certificate offering: On the Crisis Management Frontline, taught by Judy A. Smith, WCL/JD '86. Designed for business, legal, and communications professionals, this six-week certificate course offered online through American University Washington College of Law is essential in today's world of social media and news cycles.

This course will provide students with a deep understanding of the mechanics of crisis response and how the law, politics and policy contribute to managing a crisis. We will explore techniques to manage simultaneously across the regulatory/legal environment and public perception of crisis situations. In particular, we will look at cases involving public health issues, dangerous products, mass transit tragedies, non-profit organizations, professional athletes, business fraud, corporate wrongdoing and sexual harassment, using both case studies and interviews with media experts.

The course syllabus will focus on a new topic of crisis management each week including: 

  • Crisis Preparedness: Mitigating Impact through Strategic Planning

    • Establishing an adaptable strategy to manage before, during and after a crisis situation.

  • The Blurry Lines of Media: The 24-Hour News-Cycle

    • Information without boundaries:  social, broadcast, print, radio, digital and the consumer newsmaker.

  • Media Relations Management

    • Establishing strong relationships, communication strategies and smart decision making across audiences both internal and external.

  • Managing the Message: Developing and Protecting the Master Narrative

    • Mastering communication to all stakeholders and maintaining control of the message in complex crisis situations.

  • Business Culture and Crisis: Keeping Your Eye on the Ball.

    • Maintaining poise under pressure, fielding difficult questions, identifying and adapting to non-verbal queues and presenting complex information.

  • Legal Implications of a Crisis

    • Recognizing legal ramifications of crisis situations as they arise and adapting communication plans and responses to minimize risk.

Course Details

  • Led by Judy A. Smith

  • 6-Week Course, ~4 hours of learning each week

  • American University, College of Law:  Certificate of Completion

  • Cost per Student: $1125

 Course Schedule  

  • Crisis Preparedness: Mitigating Impact Through Strategic Planning
  • The Blurry Lines of Media: The 24-Hour News-Cycle
  • Media Relations Management
  • Managing the Message: Developing and Protecting the Master Narrative
  • Business Culture and Crisis: Keeping Your Eye on The Ball
  • Legal Implications of a Crisis

Special Course Acknowledgements

  • Adjunct Professor Diane A. Seltzer Torre, Esquire, WCL ’91, contributed to the research, development and preparation of the case-studies used in this course.
  • Dean’s Fellow Ayan Islam, WCL ‘17, led the research of the case-studies used in this course.

registration coming soon

read more about Judy Smith