Professor Crispin Thurlow and doctoral student Kristine Mroczek were in Switzerland again this summer with 16 students enrolled in their summer course Making Place: Tourism, Culture and Global Communication. Based in Interlaken, students visited Zurich, Basel, Lausanne and Lugano and undertook weekend field trips to Munich (Dachau), Paris and Florence. A packed program!
During this time students also followed a rigorous academic program of readings, quizzes, field reports and other in-depth writing exercises. Study abroad programs have become a big part of students' experiences at UW, and the Department of Communication offers popular programs in Italy, Switzerland and Argentina. Recent research shows how powerful even short-term study abroad programs can be for students' academic success and in preparing them for a life as global citizens.
The downside, and it's real, is that these opportunities are expensive. Without support, many of our students just can't afford to go. Many others, though, take on jobs and raise funds to make it possible because they've heard what an amazing experience it can be. Here's how one of Professor Thurlow's students, Andy Dean, put it: "I had no idea how much I would change and grow as a person. This trip, the class and the whole experience will stay with me the rest of my life. I know it's changed me."
Patricia Hooper, who recently earned her Ph.D. in Communication, spoke to students in Professor Kathleen Fearn-Banks’ Crisis Communications class in May. Having worked for 13 years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Hooper has found that vulnerable populations in the wake of disaster must be defined by their individual circumstances. Areas lacking access to essential needs or communication means are often a top priority. Read more about Dr. Hooper’s visit >>
The Department introduced a course this year called Entrepreneurial Journalism. The class partners with Next Door Media, an online news network of Seattle neighborhood blogs dedicated to reporting local community issues. The course is the testing ground for Journalism majors interested in experiencing what it is like to be a freelance journalist. Each student works in a team to pinpoint a local issue to focus their project around during the quarter. Students spend a significant amount of time reporting from the field. They utilize multimedia tools to aid in their projects. At the end of the class, students submit their work to local award-winning blogs who then determine whether they will publish the work. The class is taught by Sarah Stuteville, Jessica Partnow, and Alex Stonehill from the Common Language Project. The top team project from last winter’s course is a multimedia package on homelessness in Ballard, including a video segment with still photos. It was published on the award-winning neighborhood blog myballard.com where it inspired 32 reader comments. The project also received a Pioneer Newspaper Award, an annual award the Department gives to journalism students, funded by Pioneer Newspapers.
The MCDM is making its mark on the merging of technology, entertainment and design by launching a collaborative technology platform known as The Media Space. The Media Space is where MCDM students, faculty and partners collaborate on solutions for today’s highly digital world. Through this “community laboratory,” students learn to incubate new digital media communication strategies and platforms with local organizations. Working on a research project for class may mean aiding a local startup with its initial social strategies, or helping other UW institutions with storytelling solutions for their projects. In addition to its open-source platform, the Media Space is also an innovative physical location, housed within the Department of Communication. UWTV will premiere Media Space, a multiplatform collaboration with UW's Master of Communication in Digital Media, on Wednesday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m.