Leadership Certificate: Course Descriptions


Communication Planning and content creation for Public Organizations

Course goals:

  •   Understand the importance of communication planning and pitfalls of not planning
  •   Identify key audiences; develop key messages
  •   Understand when and how to use social media, news releases, email and other tactics.
  •   Working in teams, complete an actual communication plan for a participant’s organization or municipal initiative.

Course description: Communication is essential to nearly everything your municipality or nonprofit organization undertakes. This hands-on workshop takes participants through the steps of developing a communication plan for any type of activity, from setting goals and identifying key audiences and messages, to selecting tactics and establishing timelines and budgets. Working in teams, participants will develop communication plans for real initiatives.


Course Goals:

  •   Explore how to integrate social media into existing communication efforts
  •   Discuss time saving strategies for content creation
  •   Discuss how to manage a municipality or organization's social media efforts
  •   Discuss strategies for addressing social media trolls and other pests
  •   Explore effective public sector social media efforts



Course Goals:

  • Understand different media types (mainstream, print, trade, professional, community vs. daily papers, periodicals, online publications) and how their differences determine your approach
  • Learn tactics for being quoted accurately; getting good news reported.
  • Develop organizational policies and procedures for communicating with the media
  • Examine recent examples of good and mediocre media coverage
  • Learn components of a news release or announcement (who, what, where, when, how).

Course Description: The news media can be a valuable conduit of important information to your key audiences. But working with the media can be challenging, as any public official knows. This workshop will discuss strategies for promoting “good” news and dealing with “bad” news; using social media vs. traditional media; developing productive relationships with reporters; the difference between hype and news; and the pros and cons of press conferences. 


Emergency Communications Planning for PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS

Course Goals:

  • Review the facets of an effective municipal emergency communications plan
  • Identify key decision makers and players in the process
  • Learn approaches for using social and traditional media in crisis situations
  • Explore case studies of effective and ineffective emergency communications plans
  • Discuss strategies for ongoing management and review of the emergency communications plan

Course description: Getting key messages and critical information out before, during, and after an emergency presents many challenges. To be prepared for such challenges, public organizations need to prepare an Emergency Communications Plan (ECP) that describes how the organization will respond to an incident and how information is shared with constituents. This course will walk through the steps of establishing a communications protocol, prepare a written plan, strategies for using traditional and digital media, and review processes  





Other Classes - To be offered in separate Certificate programs:

Advanced Techniques in Social Media Management

Course Goals:

  • Apply strategies for content creation using Social Media Planning Sheets
  • Learn how to use Hootsuite to manage social media content
  • Practice developing, scheduling, and uploading content to platforms

Course Description: In this hands-on session, participants will apply concepts learned in Day 1 of the series focusing on content creation and short-term planning. Participants will also be introduced to Hootsuite, as social media management system. Participants must bring a laptop or tablet computer to this session and have access to organizational social media platforms.

Application of Emergency Communication Tools

Course Goals:

  • Apply strategies for emergency communication planning
  • Practice using Incident Command System (ICS) forms via a Case Study
  • Identify potential areas of concern for participants’ organizations in the emergency communication planning process

Course Description: In this intense hands-on session, participants will apply concepts learned in Day 2 of the seminar. Using a case study, participants will deploy emergency communication strategies including the use of Incident Command System (ICS) planning and reporting forms.


Chris E. Aldrich

Chris Aldrich has had an extensive career in emergency management in New Jersey. He is currently a deputy fire coordinator with the Ocean County Fire Coordinators and has been a firefighter and fire commissioner with the Whitesville Fire Department, Jackson Township Fire District 1, since 2008. From 1994 to 2011, Chris served with the Toms River Office of Emergency Management holding the positions of unit operator and deputy coordinator.   From 2005 to 2007, he was the chief of the fire department in Pleasant Plains. Chris was the task force leader during the Warren Grove Wildfire of 2007 and was in charge of the incident command post during the Seaside boardwalk fire in 2013. His expertise was called upon during Super Storm Sandy when he was responsible for ordering various fire departments throughout the state to provide support, along with coordinating logistical and communication meetings with state, county, and local officials.

Laura Lee Harding

Steven Neale

Dr. Tricia Nolfi

Dr. Nolfi has spent more than 20 years working in higher education in the areas of student affairs, continuing education, and human resources. She has managed employee communications and continuing education marketing efforts with an expertise in digital communications. As a consultant, she has guided nonprofit and educational organizations through assessment and planning efforts and coordinated custom training programs. Nolfi has taught undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses on communication, leadership, and human resources, and currently serves as an instructor in the Rutgers-Camden Executive MPA Program. She holds a bachelor’s in communication and master’s in educational leadership, both from The Ohio University, and a doctorate in education from Rutgers University.