The Agency

In 2014, the School of Journalism created The Agency to give KU students the opportunity to create real ad campaigns and marketing solutions for professional clients. The Agency provides a range of marketing communications, brand messaging, and strategic insights to give students the opportunity to create real-world advertising and public relations campaigns for clients. Students meet with the clients, who benefit from a millennial-generation perspective on branding, advertising, video production, multimedia research, social media and more.

The Agency was created through generous donations from area and alumni stakeholders who wanted to offer students an outlet for putting into practice what they were learning in the classroom. The Agency is structured like a professional, full-service agency, with students assuming roles such as art director, project manager, account executive, etc. The Agency has a faculty director, but the students communicate and meet with the clients, make presentations and respond to the clients’ feedback.

In fall 2016, The Agency expanded by launching a creative arm, Steam Whistle Creative, which give clients another option when creative marketing and branding solutions for their company. 


Who can join The Agency?
Anyone! Although most of the students are from the J-School, The Agency wants to be a campus-wide learning opportunity for students from any school. In the real world, advertising agencies hire people from a wide range of disciplines. Depending on the needs of the client, The Agency might need students from business, music, design, film, communications or law schools. The Agency roles have included account leaders, brand and messaging strategists, creative teams, social media strategists, digital and mobile experts, videographers, photographers, designers, business managers, and website developers. Roles will be added or expanded based on client needs.
What kinds of clients and projects does The Agency work on?
Agency students have built websites, created marketing campaigns, put on social media workshops and created videos for clients such as McGrew Real Estate, Tomboy Designs, the KU School of Music, KU Human Resource Management, People's Bank, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the KU School of Engineering, Oread Hotel, City of Lawrence, Hollywood Arts Council and Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. See their work here.
Will working at The Agency take up a lot of my time?
That all depends on how much time you have to commit, but the more you put into it, the more experience you get out of it, and that experience is invaluable to help you get a job after college.
Do I get paid?
As of now, The Agency students work on a volunteer basis. But the connections students make at The Agency allow them to network with clients and with our founding agency partners, who have hired students from The Agency after graduation.
How do I find out more about The Agency?
If you are on campus, just stop by room 201 in Stauffer-Flint Hall where students are usually hard at work on a client project. They will be happy to tell you how you would fit in at The Agency. If you can't stop by, you can check out the Agency's website at or email the faculty director, Janet Rose, at
How do I hire The Agency to do work for my business?
Get the process started by going to The Agency website's Contact Us page.

Clients & projects

KU School of Music: Planned and produced a video for the opening of the school's new Swarthout Recital Hall. "They really went out of their way to get us what we needed. The dean was very pleased and ecstatic about how the video turned out." — Meghan Spreer, communications coordinator for the School of Music

McGrew Real Estate: Created a social media workshop for real estate agents.
• Client feedback: "We required talent from many fields, and The Agency is playing a major role in what we are doing. They are involved in web content development, social media refinement, and the overall strategies we are employing to make our vision a reality." — Dennis Snodgrass, president and managing broker at McGrew Real Estate

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences: Helped brand and create a website for College of Liberal Arts & Sciences online programs.
• Client feedback: "When we arrived at The Agency we had a big project and a short deadline. The Agency brought a fresh perspective, generous enthusiasm, and a willingness to work at our pace. The leadership of The Agency was fantastic and the student staff was a joy to work with." — Paul Atchley, associate dean and professor, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Faculty advisor

Janet Rose, Ph.D.Janet Rose, Ph.D., Director of The Agency and Professor of the Practice, brings a wealth of experience working with advertising agencies and as a consultant to brands and agencies in Los Angeles, Kansas City, New York, and Chicago on global and national brand and marketing strategies for clients such as P&G, Kohl's, VF Corporation, GSK and Coca-Cola. Her goal for The Agency is to give students valuable experience by allowing them to be immersed with the business strategically and creatively from pitch to client deliverable. 

Contact The Agency

Students: Stop by room 201 in Stauffer-Flint Hall or contact Director Janet Rose at or 785-864-8019.

Clients: Check out the website at or send email to

Social media:    


Student testimonials

“Probably the biggest thing that The Agency has given me is confidence. For one, in my own abilities in this industry that I can make it, that I can survive, that I can perform. And also that this is what I want and that I should be doing with my life.” — Mikey Shaw

"This is the best real-world experience we could have gotten outside of internships we had outside of the school." — Katherine Waechter

"It’s awesome to see the things we are learning in class be applied to real-world situations. But it is also so much more than what we are learning in class.” — Lauren Katz

Agency Donors

Founding investing partners supporting The Agency are:
• Donald Hunter, president/founder of ConferenceShow Inc.
• Jim Chastain, founding partner of RealityCheck
• Sullivan Higdon & Sink
• Muller Bressler & Brown
• Callahan Creek
• Bernstein-Rein
• Barkley
• Grapevine Designs

Fundraising efforts are continuing. You can support The Agency through KU Endowment.