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.
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."
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.
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.
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.