Strategic Communications Academy

Learn how the power of social science can help you design a communications strategy that works.

The frank team offers customized communications training that’s rooted in what social science teaches us about how people learn, think and form opinions. Our lively, fun and hands-on communications workshops are led by coaches with deep expertise and experience and our sessions are driven by recent insights from psychology, sociology, neuroscience, public relations and political science scholarship.

Skills development sessions emphasize:

  • Storytelling
  • Effective Science Communications
  • Visual Communication
  • Working Effectively with Policy Makers and the News Media
  • Making Compelling Presentations
  • Strategic Communications Planning
  • Message Development
  • Theatrical Improv
  • Using Social Media Effectively
  • Writing with clarity

Training and workshops

We offer the following trainings and workshops. Please contact us to see which one is right for your organization. Seminars are normally 1.5 days, but can be adjusted to accommodate your organization’s needs.

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Meet the faculty

  • Ann Christiano, MPAP

    Ann Christiano, MPAP

    Frank Karel Chair in Public Interest Communications

    Ann Christiano was most recently named UF Teacher of the Year. Her role within the College is to develop a curriculum in the newly-emerging discipline of public interest communications, which uses the tools of public relations and journalism to create positive social change. Christiano teaches courses in public relations and public interest communications (PIC) at UF and in the spring, will direct the first online PIC graduate program. As a lead organizer of the frank gathering , Christiano is bringing together a growing community of people who use and study strategic communications to drive social change. In 2016, she launched frank scholar, a conference designed to unite researchers from various academic disciplines to collaboratively cultivate research that ignites lasting behavioral, institutional and social change.

    Prior to her appointment at UF, she directed communications for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Vulnerable Populations portfolio. This portfolio creates new opportunities for better health by investing in health where it starts and grows–in our homes, schools and jobs. The social innovations the portfolio supports work in the domains of education, housing or corrections, but always address health needs of people who are vulnerable. As part of her work, Christiano oversaw communications strategies for programs like the Greenhouse project, which is a radical reinvention of the traditional long term care model, and CeaseFire, which uses a public health approach to reduce gun violence in America’s most violent neighborhoods. Earlier in her career at RWJF she developed a robust government relations program that helped Foundation grantees build productive relationships with their elected officials and significantly increased the Foundation’s profile among Washington policy-makers. She has also worked with the Washington Business Group on Health, now named the National Business group on Health

  • Claire Baralt, M. S.

    Claire Baralt, M. S.

    UF Clinical and Translational Science, UF

    Claire Baralt is a communications strategist with more than 15 years of experience spanning the nonprofit, philanthropic and academic sectors. She is passionate about inspiring action, expanding collaboration and engaging stakeholders to enhance community health and quality of life. Claire joined the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute and UF Health Communications teams in 2011. As the CTSI’s director of strategy and communications, she helps facilitate the institute’s work to speed the translation of scientific discoveries into better health. Prior to returning to her alma mater, Claire served for 11 years as the communications officer and an elected officer of the board for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, a $1.8 billion national foundation in New York City with five grant programs supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, child well-being, and understanding of Muslim arts and cultures, as well as three properties open to the public in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Hawaii. Prior to that, Claire worked in the White House Social Office, where she provided writing, editing and logistical support for events that included the America’s Millennium celebration. Baralt holds a master’s degree in strategic communications from Columbia University and bachelor’s degrees from UF in magazine journalism and advertising.

  • Annie Neiman, Ph.D. candidate

    Annie Neiman, Ph.D. candidate

    Communication Manager
    UF College of Journalism and Communications

    Annie Neimand is the Communications Manager at the College of Journalism and Communications, where she works closely with the communications team to raise the research profile of the college through creative projects. A doctoral candidate, she also teaches sociology at the University of Florida and is the research director for the growing frank community of public interest communicators housed in UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. Through her award winning dissertation research and her work with frank, Neimand works to provide evidence-based insight on the effective use of strategic communications to drive social change. She is the creator of the podcast Seven Minutes in Heaven with a Scientist.

  • Ellen Nodine, MAE

    Ellen Nodine, MAE

    Special Project Coordinator
    UF College of Journalism and Communications

    Ellen Nodine received her Masters in Education from UF, with a specialization in Education Technology. Her master’s thesis researched the ability to establish social presence in an online community through the use of Twitter. She works as the College of Journalism and Communication’s Special Project Coordinator and is the event director for frank, the annual gathering for social change communicators. Her instructional You Tube video “How to Embed a You Tube video into PowerPoint 2013” has received more than 1 million views.

  • Matt Sheehan, MBA

    Matt Sheehan, MBA

    Director of Stories and Emerging Platforms
    UF College of Journalism and Communications

    Matt Sheehan is a journalist who has spent his career working in established and emerging media. As the director of the Hatch, he leads a content and product incubator that uses the principles of human-centered design to conceptualize, test and launch projects for the future of media and information. He formerly worked in the College’s newly established Innovation News Center, to serve as the news director and executive editor for the University’s seven media properties, including the NPR, PBS and ESPN affiliates. He is a former assistant news editor at The Washington Post, was COO of a digital media startup in D.C. and previously worked in administration at University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.