Crisis and Issue Management

I.     Course Prefix/Number: MKT 253

       Course Name: Crisis and Issue Management

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Recommended: MKT 240

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces crisis management from a public relations perspective.  Content includes examination of the types of crises encountered; potential impact on the organization and its stakeholders; and strategies for prevention, management and recovery.

IV.   Learning Objectives

On successful completion, students will be able to:

  1. identify the types of crises/disasters to which organizations can be exposed
  2. describe the potential impact of crises on businesses and stakeholders
  3. describe the stages of crisis
  4. form a crisis management team
  5. design and implement crisis communications
  6. know the steps in preparing and evaluating a crisis management and communications plan

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Introduction and review of key concepts and current issues in public relations
Key elements for designing a communications plan
Working with media
Rise of Public Opinion
Assessing Crisis Planning
Training for Crisis / Disaster Planning
Role of Federal Emergency Management
Working with the Office of Homeland Security

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, samples, case studies, in class activities, team assignments
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Reading Text and outside materials
Writing, extensive writing will be required   
Oral presentations
Computer use / Internet
Case Studies / Critical Analysis

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Public Relations Writing.  Thomas Bivins.  McGraw Hill, 2004
UPI Stylebook: A handbook for Writers, Editors and News Directors
Crisis Communications: A Casebook Approach, New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaun Associates, 2002
Crisis in organizations: Managing and Communicating in the Heat of Chaos, Laurence Barton, Southwestern Publishing

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

10% class participation/quiz
20% Exams
20% Case study written analysis
20% Public Relations writing assignment
30% Crisis Communications Plan

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.