Kent State Course to Focus on Communication Related to Pandemics and Global Crises

Communication — from the media and from state, local and federal governments — has shaped the way the world has reacted to the coronavirus pandemic.

In response, Kent State is offering a new course in fall 2020 that will examine risk communication through the lens of pandemics and other global crises. “Communicating Risk: Global Pandemics and Crises” will be offered through the College of Communication and Information. Associate Professor Stephanie Danes Smith, who served as a senior intelligence service executive in the CIA on Sept. 11, 2001, and during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, will teach the course.

Students will examine how public communication about the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic could have been more credible and effective. By studying this current pandemic, other pandemics, climate crises, terrorism and humanitarian disasters, students will explore the challenges of sharing science and fact-based communication in real-world contexts.

“Communicating Risk” will be open to any major. Students will be expected to apply skills in design, media, creative and persuasive communication, technology, information, public health, nursing, and allied physical and social sciences, all of which are essential in reaching and activating the public during times of crisis.

“The course integrates key skills that have real-world demand: the essential triad of risk communication, warning communication, crisis communication; strategic forecasting techniques; and multi-sector research and analysis,” Smith said. “We will examine and apply these skills in multiple high-risk, high-consequence situations.”

“Communicating Risk” (CCI 40095/50095) is a three-credit-hour course and will be offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. during fall 2020. Please contact Associate Professor Stephanie Smith at with any questions.

POSTED: Friday, April 3, 2020 08:44 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 11:14 AM