For the twelfth consecutive year, the Arthur W. Page Society and the Institute for Public Relations have announced their collaborative partnership to sponsor student-written case studies in corporate communication.
Dozens of schools across the United States and Canada, along with a number of others from Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East, have encouraged undergraduates and graduate students to investigate and write about issues directly related to the practice of corporate communication.
Awards are given in two categories: Communication and Journalism Schools, and Business Schools. Additionally, the case judged to be “best in show” is awarded the competition’s Grand Prize. Cash prizes are funded by AWPS and IPR for the student authors and for their faculty sponsors.
Topics ranging from hormone replacement therapy at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals to contamination in Japanese milk products have captured the top prize. Much talked-about communication topics have included Coca-Cola India and their reputational image, the entry of Google into China, toy recalls at Mattel, sports-related injuries, and a communication defense of hydraulic fracturing.
This year’s competition, sure to draw hundreds of students from across the nation and around the globe, will encourage those studying both business and communication, to identify, think critically about, and research subjects that are of widespread public interest. For the students, it’s an opportunity to hone their public record research skills, interact with corporate executives, and tell an important story from a neutral, objective point-of-view. Scrupulous documentation of sources, careful cross-checking of facts, and the development of a captivating narrative all play into the decision to acknowledge one of the entries as particularly noteworthy.
The Page/IPR cases have been downloaded thousands of times and used in hundreds of classrooms around the world, all at no cost to the students or their educational institutions. Unlike case histories, of course, these case studies present students with a narrative and no solution. They have to think it through, talk about it, and devise their own solutions, just as communications professionals do each day.
Your support for the Institute helps fund this unique and rewarding challenge for college students who will someday (soon) be our colleagues and co-workers. Accept my thanks, if you will, for your support on behalf of all those who’ve been honored and those who’ve grown professionally through the competition process.
James S. O’Rourke, IV, is Professor of Management, Fanning Center for Business Communication at the University of Notre Dame.