Valenti Students Lay Foundation for Student-Run Firm

Students at the Valenti School of Communication are discovering what it takes to launch an integrated communication firm, firsthand.

In a special interest class led by Professor Priscilla Tinsley, the semester began with a Powerhouse-sized goal: laying the groundwork for the first student-run communication firm at the University of Houston. In its infancy stage, the firm is called Cougar Communications, but the team is working on a permanent name and logo.

The school has produced a video describing the firm’s goals and purpose which is available for viewing here:

“The idea for Cougar Communications started a few years ago. A few of the different faculty members here at the Valenti School had seen it at other universities around the country, so we thought its a really great way for students to gain valuable, real life experience,” says Dr. Temple Northup, director of the Valenti School of Communication.  

Professor Tinsley, a veteran public relations expert who has managed her own firm for almost a decade, screened the candidates to understand their interests and strengths beforehand.

“They weren’t selected based on top grades, and their collective experience ranges from ‘much’ to ‘none,’” said Professor Tinsley.  “But I want to approach this as a learning tool. I want to give students with varying strengths and levels of experience an opportunity to work in areas they are both familiar and unfamiliar with so they can learn all aspects of the process.”

This learning focus is underscored by the class’ flexible structure, which exposes students to the different components of putting together a business.

Since the semester began, the students have formed project teams to tackle various aspects of the firm – including policies and procedures, brand identity the business plan and special projects. Each group is responsible for conducting in-depth research on their respective topic. As a class, they then build off of their research to develop the foundation for the firm.

“What I love so far is their enthusiasm,” said Professor Tinsley. “They are so excited to have this opportunity. They are all such bright students with amazing ideas and high levels of creativity. They are so eager to get started.”

As the groundwork for Cougar Communications continues, one focus is to create a firm that reflects the Valenti School of Communication’s uniquely diversified curriculum.

“The firm will ideally attract all of our majors – from media production to advertising to public relations – and provide an opportunity for them to bring their unique skillsets to the table,” said Temple Northup, director of the Valenti School of Communication. “Because we are making this opportunity available to all of our majors, this firm will truly be integrated.”

Through their hard work, these Valenti students are bringing to fruition this important addition to the University of Houston community. 

- LaRahia Smith,
Communications Manager,
Valenti School of Communication