Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, President of Kutztown University
speaks about working with Communications Counsel...

“Mark’s Crisis Communications Workshop was entertaining, engaging and valuable.  He spent a day a with members of the President’s Cabinet and our Emergency Management Team.  His teaching style is effective, because he includes real-life examples and hands-on training.  He has a wonderful sense of humor.  He really did his research as he knew much about my background and current events at our university that touch on his workshop topic.  Mark’s credentials are impeccable and if you are seeking a highly experienced individual who can deliver the best education on crisis communications in a short-period of time, Mark Weaver is the choice.”


Communications Counsel regularly handles key areas of guidance for colleges and universities. They include:

1. Executive speech coaching. We work with high-ranking officials — often university presidents — on how to be more effective in public speaking. We also prepare officials for how to handle high-stakes news media interviews. Our work in this area is informed by our experience doing this type of counseling for CEOs, governors, members of Congress, and former President Ronald Reagan.

2. Crisis Communications consulting. We help public sector and private sector institutions — often colleges and universities — respond and communicate during times of crisis. This includes drafting messages and preparing spokespeople as they brief and update internal and external stakeholders and the news media.

3. Media Training. We present workshops (ranging from half day to two days) where we help participants learn the best practices of interacting with the news media. The advice ranges from how to earn positive news coverage to how to respond effectively and quickly in a crisis setting. We use true-to-life higher education scenarios and we maintain a lively mix of lecture, video examples, and hands-on practice. We cover advanced topics of message discipline, bridging, primacy, and cognitive dissonance in a way that participants will be able to utilize right away.

Our previous higher ed clients have included:

The Ohio State University
Penn State Abington
Penn State Brandywine
Kutztown University
University of Toledo
Bowling Green State University
University of Akron
Ohio University
Wright State University
University of Cincinnati
Columbus State Community College

Otterbein University
Ohio Wesleyan University
Harcum College
Central Penn College
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences
Columbus College of Art and Design
University of the Arts

In all we do, we are careful and intentional about reminding participants that we are just the outside resource experts and that we work hand in hand with the internal communications experts, who are the go-to people on a day to day basis. We also confer with internal staff ahead of the sessions, so local issues and particular areas of concern can be addressed.

Mark Weaver from our firm has been a speaker for the annual College & University Public Relations and Associated Personnel (CUPRAP) conference each year of the last four years and have also been the keynote presenter (covering crisis communications). He has also been a keynote speaker for the Public Relations Society of America Counselors to Higher Education (PRSA CHE).

Mr. Weaver’s work as an attorney representing colleges and universities informs all he does, which is particularly helpful during high-profile litigation that threatens the institution’s reputation. 

Mr. Weaver has served as an adjunct faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Law, University of Akron, and the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.