The Gazette Company 500 Third Avenue SE P.O. Box 511 Cedar Rapids, IA (319)

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1 The Gazette Company 500 Third Avenue SE P.O. Box 511 Cedar Rapids, IA (319) December 22, 2011 To Whom It May Concern: I have had the opportunity to review the plans of the University of Iowa s School of Journalism and Mass Communication for an online Masters in Strategic Communication program. As someone who has been leading a local media company for over 13 years, I think such a program is critical. Today, we awake to find ourselves in a world that has fundamentally changed. We are awash in data, in a global networked economy. Who would have imagined the changes we have seen in technology, tools, applications and devices in only the past five years? The means to create and distribute information are available to anyone with some device and an Internet connection, thus radically altering the media environment. The explosion of tools for communication has outpaced our capability to make good use of them to strengthen our communities. A focused effort on the best practices, ever evolving, would be extremely beneficial. We would support many of our employees, and potential employees, taking advantage of such a program if it were available. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this further. Sincerely, Chuck Peters President and CEO

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3 SUSAN SHULLAW & ASSOCIATES Strategic, creative, results-driven communications 718 North Johnson Street Iowa City, Iowa I January 2,2012 David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D. Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication The University of Iowa E305B Adler Journalism Building Iowa City, Iowa Dear Professor Perlmutter: I am writing to express my support for the proposed Master of Strategic Communication degree program at the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC). I bring three perspectives to my endorsement of this proposal: as a former employer of journalism/communication graduates, as a current practitioner in the field, and as an alumna of The University of Iowa. As you know, I've worked in marketing, PR, and strategic communications for three decades, including 22 years at The University of Iowa Foundation-most recently as the Foundation's senior vice president for strategic communication. In that capacity, I hired and supervised a staff that included writers, editors, graphic designers, videographers, photographers, and web developers. These various roles once had very definitive boundaries and skill sets. In recent years, however, it's become clear that the most valuable communications professionals are the boundary-crossers: individuals who understand markets as well as messaging, are adept in a wide variety of communications tools and tactics, and embrace their role as strategic decision-makers. Speaking from experience, I can say that Iowa companies, nonprofits, and other organizations need more of these 21st-century communicators in their applicant pools. The proposed and highly flexible Master of Strategic Communication program is ideally suited to fill such a need. Since leaving the UI Foundation to start my own communications consulting firm in 2010, I've become even more convinced that the education received by many of today' s journalism and communication students doesn't reflect the reality I see on the ground. Many of my clients are nonprofit organizations-a common starting point for new communications graduates. All too often, I see those employees (frequently hired as PR or marketing directors) focusing their efforts on the tactical rather than the strategic aspects of their jobs. They've not been trained to ask larger questions, to apply critical thinking skills, or to provide guidance in the strategic use of new tools such as social networking. As noted above, this is a critical shortcoming, jeopardizing the career success of these employees and the organizations they serve. A post-graduate degree program specifically targeting

4 David D. Perlmutter, Ph.D. January 2,2012 Page Two working professionals (with course offerings in nonprofit fields such as health care) could make a tremendous difference in supplying organizations within and outside Iowa with communicators who have a much deeper, broader, and thus more valuable understanding of the field. Finally, I believe the proposed Master of Strategic Communication would be a boon for The University of Iowa. The program would enhance the UI's international reputation for innovative excellence in writing and other communications-related disciplines, attract new students and faculty, and bolster the bottom line. As a UI graduate, I'm very much in favor of initiatives that build the UI's well-earned reputation and increase the institution's value to society. I am hopeful that your proposal will be approved and the Master of Strategic Communication program can move forward without delay. If I can be of further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me. Cordially, Susan M. Shullaw Principal Susan Shullaw & Associates

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6 Letters of Support from Students in Prototype Classes Heidi Thomas Buccaneer, A General Dynamics Co. Kate Milligan FBL Financial Group, Inc. Amanda Norby Marketing coordinator St. Luke s Health System Nicole M. Riehl University Communication and Marketing, News Services

7 From: Thomas, Heidi Sent: Tuesday, October 04, :07 PM To: Perlmutter, David D Subject: Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication Professor Perlmutter, Thank you for visiting our class, Strategic Communication Leadership Seminar, on 9/29. The proposed program as you described is perfect for me. I m a graduate of The University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and History (2007). I ve lived in Des Moines for 4 years now. I ve always dreamed about attending the U once more, but I did not think it was possible due to the distance. I received a general from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in July informing me of the pilot classes. I immediately gravitated towards the Strategic Communication course because it is applicable to my current career. I am currently a Program Manager Associate on a Federal Government contract held with our company, General Dynamics Information Technology. My writing and editing background from the U has propelled me into every single position I ve held. I know that a masters will further my career and more importantly give me regained confidence in my writing skills. I m very pleased to hear that all of the proposed classes will be available on line. I am currently an online student and it is working out fabulously. I have a 1 year old, and it is so great that I do not have to be away from her more than I already have to with a full time job. I appreciate all the effort you are making to launch this masters program. I also wanted to let you know how fantastic Jann Freed is as an instructor. She s passionate, engaging and helpful. I ve really enjoyed learning from her. Sincerely, Heidi Thomas Buccaneer, A General Dynamics Co. Office Ph: Fax:

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9 Amanda Norby Marketing Coordinator St. Luke s Health System 2720 Stone Park Blvd Sioux City, IA September 29, 2011 David Perlmutter Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication The University of Iowa 100 Adler Journalism Bldg. Iowa City, IA Dear Mr. Perlmutter: I am extremely pleased with the current courses The University of Iowa has offered to pilot the Strategic Communication program. Furthermore, I strongly believe that professionals throughout the state of Iowa will greatly benefit from the opportunity to pursue a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication through a mixed in-class/online format. For professionals looking to pursue a degree, the flexibility of this degree format allows people to balance both work and school in a location that is most logical and feasible for their personal needs. Plus, the technology used for the online students is innovative; it allows the classroom experience to remain a vital part of the program from hundreds of miles away. I know the initial course content has been very beneficial to my work at St. Luke's Health System and I have confidence that the courses proposed for upcoming semesters will be equally beneficial. Strategic Communication is pivotal in my career field and of the utmost importance for my personal career aspirations. The University of Iowa is fulfilling a great academic need by making this new MA program available. I am eager to see this MA degree earn approval from all appropriate parties so the program can continue to evolve and meet the needs of student professionals like myself. Respectfully submitted, Amanda Norby

10 Oct. 3, 2011 David Perlmutter University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication 100 Adler Journalism Building Iowa City, IA, Dear Dr. Perlmutter: I am writing to express my support for a master s degree program in strategic communication. I graduated with honors from the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) in 2003, and the bachelor s degree and related work experience prepared me well for a successful career. I worked as a journalist for seven years during and after college, winning awards from the state newspaper association and the state Associated Press. Four years ago, I transitioned to public relations, and I am currently employed as a writer/editor in University Communication and Marketing. I am committed to continuing my education, and as I seek career-advancement opportunities, most positions that interest me prefer or require a master s degree. What held me back from pursuing graduate education was the fact that no program seemed to be the right fit. I wasn t looking for another degree in journalism, now that I had moved into a public relations/marketing role. An MBA was another possibility, but it seems that so many people I know have an MBA, and I wanted something more unique. When I heard that the SJMC planned to offer prototype courses in strategic communication with the goal of establishing an MA, I was ecstatic. This is exactly the kind of program I had hoped for, and I immediately applied for a staff grant and enrolled in the Strategic Communication Leadership course. I m impressed with the course, and I plan to take the Writing and Editing for Public Communication workshop next spring. A master s program in strategic communication is a perfect option for a professional communicator. The kinds of courses that would be offered budget fundamentals, multimedia and social media, health or political communication are exactly what I need to advance my career. I frequently write about political and health research, I d love to enhance my video production skills and receive formal training on social media usage, and learning to read and create financial reports would be quite helpful. I can assure you that many of my communication colleagues on campus and beyond are also interested in the program, and the fact that the courses are offered online is even more appealing. I work full-time and have two young children, and the convenience of the virtual classroom is a huge selling point for me. The master s degree in strategic communication is a program I back without reservation. I m very hopeful that the degree program will be approved by UI and state officials so I can formally enroll soon. Most sincerely, Nicole M. Riehl

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