Professor Tegest Heruy

Unity College Professor Gets Vision for Future From Visit to Educator Meeting and University of Georgia

Prof. Tegest Heruy, dean of the newly created School of Journalism and Communication at Unity College in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, told participants in a conference organized by the Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development (ALO) in Washington in August that her visit to the U.S. has given her "a vision for the future."

Prof. Heruy who last visited the United States more than 30 years ago, participated in a meeting of the Association for Education for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Miami Beach, Florida, and visited the campus of the University of Georgia before attending the three-day meeting in Washington.

While at the University of Georgia, she toured the facilities of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, giving particular attention to the broadcast facilities and the laboratories used by students in the journalism department.

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College, and the Unity School of Journalism and Mass Communication are participating in a development project as part of an ALO grant funded by United States Aid to International Development (USAID).

The goal of the project is to help Unity develop and expand its journalism and communication program.

Unity opened its journalism program in the spring of 2000, following a training session organized by the Cox Center on Unity's campus. The session focused on instructional techniques applicable to journalism, with particular emphasis on the principles of student-centered-instruction.

Unity was the first private institution of higher education to open in Ethiopia, and its journalism program remains the only university-level independent journalism program in the country.

Professors Heruy and Becker said they felt their collaborative program under the ALO grant, which began in September of 2001, has produced some significant, positive outcomes. The Cox Center has conducted two workshops for journalism professionals, one in January and the other in May of 2002. These were offered under the auspices of the outreach arm of Unity.

In addition, Cox Center team members Drs. Elizabeth Roushanzamir and Melinda Robins offered lectures for Unity students during their visit in May and consulted with the journalism and communication faculty on curricular development.

So far, the biggest obstacle to their collaboration has been the limited communication between them, Prof. Heruy and Prof. Becker said. Because of limitations of the communication infrastructure of Ethiopia and Unity, fax, telephone and e-mail communication is very difficult, they reported.

Both said problems of communication had made the visits by Cox Center team members to Unity and the visit by Prof. Heruy to the U.S. more difficult than was ideal. The pair said they are searching for ways to overcome the communication problems.

The ALO meeting was organized to allow recipients of grants from the organization to share their experiences. Representative of nearly 75 projects from all over the world attended.

Dr. Becker arranged for Prof. Heruy to attend the meeting of journalism educators before the ALO session in Washington so she could meet with some of the nearly 2,000 journalism faculty from around the country who were in attendance. Prof. Heruy attended sessions at the conference dealing with patterns in journalism education in the United States, on international media and on the effects of the media on the economy.

The stop-over at the University of Georgia was between the meetings in Miami and Washington.

While in Washington, Prof. Heruy and Dr. Becker met with representations of the International Center for Journalists to discuss a pending application by Unity to host a Knight International Press Fellow. ICFJ administers the Knight Fellowship programs.

Dr. Becker told the gathering in Washington that the Cox Center is committed to helping Unity as it expands its offerings from diploma to a degree programs. The department of journalism and communication was upgraded to a School in July of 2002. Drs. Becker and Roushanzamir will visit Addis Ababa again in January of 2003, and Drs. Roushanzamir and Robins plan to return to Unity in the summer of that year.

The ALO project ends in August of 2003 with another report about the project in Washington.