Randall Iden received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in the Program in Rhetoric and Public Culture. Iden also holds an MSC from Northwestern and a JD from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Lecturer in the School of Communication and teaches Foundations of Strategic Communication and the Communication Skills Practicum. In addition, he is the supervisor of capstone projects. Iden previously taught courses in Crisis Communication and Corporate Citizenship in the MSC. His research interests include rhetoric in public deliberation, strategic communication and argumentation.
The MSC Capstone Project integrates all of the coursework and practical experience of the MSC program. Students will demonstrate that they have achieved all of the learning outcomes of the program through a three-part class that extends the entire duration of their program.
Communications Skills In-Residence
This course is designed to teach a background in rhetorical practice and to provide opportunities to develop and hone persuasive skills in a variety of situations that may present themselves to 21st century managers and leaders. Students will learn to deploy rhetorical agency, develop accurate and persuasive arguments, understand and interact with media representatives, identify and manage crisis, frame audiences and develop active listening skills. The focus is on getting students to practice communicating in situations demanding quick, efficient and authentic messages under conditions of uncertainty.
Foundations of Strategic Communication Management
Traditionally, the study of business communication has been divided into marketing communication (advertising, marketing and public relations) which is primarily addressed to outside audiences for purposes of selling, promoting or spinning; and organizational communication which is addressed to both inside and outside audiences for the purpose of defining the parameters of the company or business unit. Developments in Communication Studies over the past 20 years have shown this distinction to be spurious and, often, detrimental to the achievement of individual and group goals. In addition, the very parameters of the organization and who counts as its members have been called into question. Strategic communication is the study of the integrated messaging among stakeholders of an organization which acknowledges the contested boundaries of contemporary organizations. The course will explore the way language is used to construct meaning for an organization and how mission statements can be used to develop authentic, nuanced messages among stakeholders that will augur to the long-term benefit of the organization and its stakeholders in the broader sense. We will use business cases and other examples to explore the ways in which strategic communication can be purposefully and consistently implemented in a variety of organizations.
Communication, Management and Ethics
This course offers the opportunity to examine the ethical choices that people make and the repercussions and limitations of those choices. Most people deal with difficult questions in their professional lives in which they must act on behalf of an organization, usually without the agency to be fully free to choose how to respond. Good communicators must focus not just on thinking ethically, but also on how an ethical organization is able to communicate its engagement to its stakeholders in ways that support and enhance the purposes to which the organization is dedicated. Using case studies, practical situations and a bit of philosophical perspective, the course examines the costs and benefits of thinking and acting with concern for others and the desire to behave consistently across organizational contexts. The goal of the course is to help students build virtuous organizations with the structures and habits that encourage consideration of multiple perspectives, which in turn leads to the practice of ethical behavior.