SU’s Newhouse Research Class Helps MHR Develop Communications Strategies

| February 13, 2017


By Caroline K. Reff

Most Holy Rosary School in Syracuse has partnered with students from the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University on a research project aimed at increasing effective communication.

Under the direction of Assistant Professor Chris­tal Johnson, Ph.D., four groups of students taking Public Relations Research began working with Rosary Principal Jennifer Petosa in August 2016 on a project designed to provide real data that the school can use to develop feasible and concrete communication strategies. According to Johnson, many organizations aim for goals and objectives based only on ideas or assumptions that are not based on actual research, often wasting valuable time and dollars on projects that can miss the target.

The college students, all public relations majors at the nationally renowned communications school, have access to complex research applications like Sysomos, a social media, analytics and monitoring tool that allows for the creation of a research report for Rosary based on its individual needs. Students have visited the school on various occasions, conducting focus groups and surveys with parents and faculty, as well as observing the students and the school environment first hand. As part of the project, the students also examined trends in both Catholic and public education, both locally and on a national level; created target audience profiles, and looked at new ways for Rosary to improve its communications methods with both existing and prospective families.

The project is mutually beneficial to both Rosary and the Newhouse students. “It’s so much easier to learn about PR concepts when working with real life clients with actual needs,” said Taylor Sheehan, a junior majoring in public relations.

Added Rosary Principal Jennifer Petosa, “We are eager to tap into the resources of the Newhouse school and the talents of these future PR professionals in order to use real data analysis and create new channels of communication. The information we are receiving is so valuable, and Most Holy Rosary is thrilled to participate.”

The Public Relations Research class wrapped-up in December with students presenting Most Holy Rosary with research-based data and information, as well as recommendations for moving forward in the school’s public relations and marketing initiatives. According to Petosa, Rosary hopes to use this information to pinpoint its communication efforts and continue to look for creative ways to attract new students and boost enrollment. ”

Caroline K. Reff is a freelance writer in Syracuse, New York, and a special projects consultant for the Catholic Schools Office.

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Category: Bold Initiatives, Community, Quality

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