Launched in 2017, Agency is a senior-level, capstone course that provides public relations and communications support to area organizations. Through an online application process, any organization may apply to be an Agency client.
Once selected, students work together over a 16-week semester to create communication plans and campaigns based on the individual needs of the client. The fast-paced nature of the course and the demands of working with clients encourages the highest level of professionalism, performance and strategic thinking.
Each course is supervised by an account director who serves as both an instructor of record and client liaison. Account directors guide student work, while monitoring progress and deliverables. Agency concludes with a formal student presentation (pitch) to the client, with all materials and rights to work passed to the client for use.
Clients range from small start-ups to well-established organizations. The criteria for being an Agency client are based on need and prioritized through an online application process. Each semester, clients are selected and matched with a 20-student Agency class.
At the start of the semester, clients and students meet to discuss the needs and goals of the organization and keep in regular communication throughout the process. At the end of the semester, clients are given a final communication plan or campaign presented by students. During the presentations, clients can ask questions and offer feedback.
Clients are given copies of all materials, plans, prototypes, etc. The rights to all work are also given to the client for immediate use. Clients may select students from Agency for internships or to hire to help implement the strategies and tactics presented at the end of the semester.
Upon completion of this class, the majority of students will graduate with a bachelor's of science in mass communications and are seen as independent contractors unaffiliated with Agency, the Robertson School and Virginia Commonwealth University.