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Public Communications Certificate 

Next Cohort Beginning September 13, 2023

Email us at for more information

  • About the Certificate

    • The Public Sector Communications Certificate is designed for any public sector or nonprofit sector employees looking to gain the skills needed to effectively communicate with the public. In an increasingly digital world, communication in the public sector has become more complex than ever. How well you communicate with your audience can define the reputation of your organization, or even the success of delivering a program or service. Students completing the certificate will take away the skills and strategies needed to be more effective communicators.​ This is an 8-week, non-credit certificate that is offered online. Students should expect to spend 2-4 hours per week between homework assignments and attending the weekly class. The course will cover the following topics:

      • Introduction to Public Communications

      • Strategic Communications

      • Crisis Communications

      • Media relations

      • Technology and Tools of the Trade

      • Public Engagement

      • Ethics, Compliance, and First Amendment Issues

      • Public Information Campaigns

  • Certificate Goals

    • The certificate aims to help public sector communicators increase their skills and broaden their impact through practical educational sessions, real world examples and interactive assignments.  

  • Who Should Participate?

    • Employees at all levels of government or nonprofit organizations who are looking to improve their internal and external communications skills and better connect with their audiences. Beneficial to anyone looking to improve communication for their organization, from directors and managers to administrative professionals.

  • Course Pricing

    • $1,250 per Student

    • $1,100 for Government/Non-Profit employees

    • Register 3 or more students from the same organization and receive 20% off! Please contact for more information. 

About the Instructors:

  • The course will be co-taught by two seasoned public sector communicators with years of experience in the field. Learn more:

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Brianna Sunyrd

Director of Communications and Civic Innovation - Town of Amherst, MA

  • Brianna Sunryd serves as the Director of Communications and Civic Innovation, as well as the Community Participation Officer for the Town of Amherst, MA. She is a 2008 graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst concentrating on Communications and International Relations. She recently completed a Master of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy at UMass Amherst focusing on digital governance. Brianna has worked in municipal government communications and technology for 10 years and previously worked for the City of Worcester. She is the co-chair of the ICMA Digital Strategies Committee, Founding President of the ICMA UMass Student Chapter highlighting local government as a career option for students and a recent graduate of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact.In 2020 she received an Excellence in Technology award from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for business process improvements in the Town of Amherst and a MIIA Innovation Award for improving employees' access to wellness programs through digitization. Recently featured in the Mass Town Careers campaign, she is also a frequent presenter on topics of civic technology to academic groups and professional organizations. In 2022, she was named a top local government influencer, receiving the Trager Award from ELGL and named one of five Women to Know in Local Government by the ICMA.  Brianna serves on the Massachusetts Municipal Association’ Women Leading Government Committee and is the chair of their Program & Development Committee. 

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Sean Dugan 

Director of Communications  - Town of Lexington, MA

  • Sean Dugan has a decade’s-worth of experience in local government in Massachusetts, both in a professional capacity, as well as an elected official. His background has focused on community engagement, social media management, website management, communication planning, media relations, and crisis communication. He currently serves as the Town of Lexington’s first Director of Communications, where he has developed and implemented the Town’s first communications strategy. Sean previously served in similar roles in the City of Framingham’s Department of Public Works managing communications for the City’s multi-million dollar infrastructure projects, as well as serving as the Town of Concord’s first-ever Public Information Officer. He also served a three-year term as an elected school committee member in Uxbridge, where he spent time as the committee’s vice-chair, as well as the chair of their budget subcommittee and policy subcommittee. Additionally, he is a member of the National Association of Government Communicators. Sean holds a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Missouri,  MS in Organizational Communication from Northeastern University, and BA in History from Worcester State University.

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