Fort Ticonderoga, Champlain College Collaborate

Fort Ticonderoga and Champlain College are entering the second year of a growing collaboration, utilizing the needs of a non-profit institution while providing students at the Vermont institution with real-world experience as they prepare to enter the workforce.

“Talk about an effective engagement for student success! By employing a real-world competitive agency model, students are truly motivated to succeed,” said Nancy Kerr, Media Communication Program Director at Champlain College. Kerr’s senior-level students are currently working on a public relations project for Fort Ticonderoga.

The students are working with Lauren Grimaldi, from Brawn Media, on developing a viral social media campaign for the Fort. “With the increasing use of online campaigns as an effective marketing strategy,” Grimaldi said, “we gave them the challenge to create a viral campaign for the Fort. Working with the students at Champlain College has been a great learning experience on both ends.”

Champlain College senior Alisha Durgin, speaking of the project this semester, said “Overall, the research we did was very informative and even surprising. Just actually doing the research and collecting the results on our own was a great learning experience.” A final product from the group of students is due in December.

During the Spring 2011 Semester, students from one of Elaine Young’s marketing courses worked with Fort Ticonderoga and staff from Brawn Media developing potential marketing efforts for the Fort’s temporary exhibition “The Art of War: Ticonderoga as Experience through the Eyes of America’s Great Artists.”

Dr. Young, Assistant Dean in Champlain College’s Division of Business, noted that “The opportunity to have students work with an organization provides enhanced learning outcomes through real world application. It’s a hallmark of a Champlain education and wouldn’t be successful without true partnerships with mission-driven organizations such as Fort Ticonderoga.”

Young continued, “Senior marketing majors were able to work closely with Fort Ti to help them plan for a major event. They learned the intricacies of working with a client with specific needs and had the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way to the success of the event for Fort Ti. You can’t get this kind of experience and learning in a classroom setting by itself. It is an excellent way for students to fully link theory to practice and they were able to make meaningful connections which will stay with them as they enter their careers.”

Nancy Kerr concurs, relating that students “come away with valuable skills and knowledge to make the transition to a work environment. Working with Fort Ticonderoga this semester, the Champlain College students in the Public Relations Campaign Development class are enthusiastically working to help promote Fort Ticonderoga to the public, while gaining valuable professional skills. What could be better?”

The Champlain College collaboration is just an example of a growing role Fort Ticonderoga envisions for college and university partnerships that utilize Fort Ticonderoga as a “learning campus” for both undergraduate and graduate students in multiple disciplines, not just history and historic site administration.

Photo: Nancy Kerr, Media Communications Program Director at Champlain College, has students working the Fort Ticonderoga this semester.

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