Parsons is panelist at
Nashville ASJMC meeting

 

Dean Paul Parsons shared five ways to build a greater international dimension into communications programs when he appeared as a panelist during the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication mid-winter workshop in Nashville Feb. 4-5.

He recommended that ASJMC program administrators:

1. Tie strongly into the university infrastructure. "Get to know your university's dean of international programs," Parsons said. "Wonderful things can happen through that relationship. Examples at Elon include faculty members participating in a China exchange program, faculty members creating innovative Study Abroad courses, and other teachers joining Elon's London program for a semester."

2. Create special events on campus. Parsons said the School of Communications enthusiastically particupates in International Week on campus by inviting alumni back to campus who have an international dimension to their careers. "Our international office knows that we say 'yes' to almost all things international," Parsons told about 100 administrators attending the panel session. "With only a couple of days' notice, we hosted 15 Russian journalists last fall who were nearby at Duke." Elon also hosts an international film festival each year.

3. Be innovative in courses and curricula. At Elon, the opening course in the major was renamed Communications in a Global Society. "A name influences course content over time," Parsons said. "We want students to recognize and appreciate the international dimension of what they do." This opening course also has a common reading, which twice has had an international perspective (Thomas Friedman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree" and Susan Moeller's "Compassion Fatigue" - both authors also appeared on campus to discuss their work). In addition, the school offers an International Communications course and an elective titled African Film.

4. Build a faculty with international perspective. The School of Communications has added nine new faculty positions the past two years. "While we didn't intentionally set out on this course, six of the nine have lived abroad," Parsons said. "This is going to have a huge impact on the internationalization of our program. It's inevitable." Another faculty member is a Fulbright Professor in South Korea this year, and the school previously hosted a visiting professor, John Merrill, who is an eminent international scholar.

5. Seek out international students. Parsons called this the hardest recommendation to implement, since the student body is primarily the product of self-selection or the admissions process. "Work with the admissions and financial aid offices to pursue scholarships for international students," Parsons said. "Having international students in our classes is a powerful reminder of global communications. I taught Media Law & Ethics during our recent Winter Term and had a Jordanian student in class who added valuable perspective to issues such as free press, censorship and copyright law."

Others on the panel were Loren Ghiglione, dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University; Zeny Panel, a faculty member at Middle Tennessee State University; and moderator Robyn Goodman, a faculty member at Alfred University in New York.

The ASJMC conference was for program administrators such as deans, directors and department chairs. Associate Dean Brad Hamm joined Parsons at the conference.

 

 

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