Experiential Learning in Communications: Information for Client Partners
What is EXPECT?
The communications department conducts an annual program called EXPECT, an experiential learning program. Through EXPECT, seniors majoring in advertising and public relations engage in supervised partnerships with non-profit organizations and entrepreneurs on Massachusetts’ North Shore.
When does EXPECT occur?
EXPECT is conducted during the university’s spring semester, beginning in mid-January and ending in late April or early May. Each spring, EXPECT generates success stories – clients using news releases, brochures, marketing surveys, social media, flyers, feature stories and other marketing-oriented tactics created and implemented by students, with partner participation. (In April 2010, a front-page business-section article in the Salem News featured the EXPECT program’s students who were adding value to local enterprises by implementing a variety of social media, and traditional PR, advertising and marketing techniques.)
What kinds of products do EXPECT students produce?
This varies depending on the prior coursework the EXPECT students have taken. Their skills generally include:
- generating creative strategies for reaching your target audience
- social networking skills (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
- public relations skills
- writing press releases
- designing newsletters
- creating media kits
- advertising skills
- designing print advertisements
- creating video advertisements (e.g., for YouTube)
- designing flyers, postcards, and other print materials
- event planning
- conducting market research--focus groups and surveys; collecting information about your industry/competitors
With rare exceptions, they are not web designers. Only occasionally do we have students who are illustrators or photographers, or who are experienced in creating radio programs or television content. However, many are excellent researchers. If you have a particular communications need they cannot themselves meet, you might let them help you research the best service(s) to meet your needs.
The more you share with us and your student team about your goals, and the more clearly you articulate your priorities, the better we can help them focus on a set of achievable tasks for their semester’s work.
Who participates in EXPECT?
Space is limited in the program. A typical EXPECT program features 8-10 student teams (each including three to four team members), partnering with the same number of client partners--one team per client. Each student is expected to dedicate a minimum of 6 hours each week working on communications- and marketing-related projects for their clients (18 to 24 team hours per week).
Who supervises EXPECT?
The program is under the supervision of Robert Brown, a professor of public relations with a corporate and agency background, and Rebecca Hains, an advertising professor with expertise in traditional and emerging communications tools and strategies. Rob and Rebecca meet with all students in a workshop setting twice a week throughout the semester.
What is asked of EXPECT client partners?
Collaboration with Students: Partnering with student learners in the EXPECT program entails a client partner’s commitment to set aside weekly or biweekly times to meet with student teams for feedback on plans, challenges and progress. It also involves communicating with students via email and/or telephone between meetings.
Partnering with student learners in the EXPECT program entails a client partner’s commitment to set aside or times to meet with student teams for feedback on plans, challenges and progress. It also involves communicating with students via email and/or telephone between meetings.
Successful client-team relationships typically include the active and patient engagement of clients.
End-of-Semester Presentations: During the last week of classes, our students present their work for their professors, peers, and client partners. Our students always appreciate it when their clients are available to attend their presentations.
End-of-Semester Evaluation: At semester’s end, we will ask you to submit an evaluation of your team members to Rob and Rebecca via email. The client partner’s evaluation of students comprises a major portion of each student’s grade. EXPECT is the kind of real-world experience that is not fully possible in a traditional teacher-student classroom environment.
HOW TO APPLY
If you would like to be a client partner in the EXPECT program, please contact the communications department at 978.542.6450.