Online ‘Crisis Communications’ course to be offered in spring

A “Crisis Communications” course that will be offered online by Western Carolina University this coming spring semester will provide an opportunity for business owners and individuals involved in emergency-related fields to learn how to produce a crisis communication plan.

The highly interactive course, with content presented in streaming audio and video, will be offered through WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach. It should be especially useful for emergency managers, fire and police staff, health care workers and business professionals, said course instructor Michael Caudill of WCU’s department of communication, theatre and dance.

During the course, students will learn how to assemble a crisis communication team, design a “war room,” hold a news conference to address a crisis, manage key information and maintain effective media relations. Students also will create a crisis communication plan for a local business or organization, Caudill said.

Caudill is a partner with the InterCultural Advantage consulting firm and previously held positions in public affairs and disaster services at the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. He also has been involved in emergency relief assignments in Latin America and the Caribbean for the Pan American Health Organization, and in 1993 led the logistical support team of the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Haiti.

For more information about the “Crisis Communications” course, contact Caudill at (828) 227-2468 or by e-mail at mcaudill@email.wcu.edu.