Dr. Rade Veljanoski and Lila Radonjic, journalism instructors from the University of Belgrade, visited Grady College as part of a faculty exchange in September and October.

Serbian Professors Observe High Level of Faculty Interaction with Journalism Students During Visit

Among the many things the Serbian journalism educators visiting the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in September and October noticed was the amount of student contact with the faculty.

“Your professors are in permanent contact with students,” Lila Radojkovic, an instructor in the Department of Journalism at the University of Belgrade, said. “Students have exams and exercises every day, not just at the end of a semester, as ours do.”

But there were similarities as well that stood out, such as the struggle to balance professional journalism instruction with instruction about the basic issues in society.

“Students here must know work skills, but they must know what are the topics for society, for minorities, for cultural differences,” Dr. Rade Veljanoski, who teaches radio journalism at the University of Belgrade, added. At his university, he said, there is less focus on work skills but more focus on communication and political theory.

Journalism instructors Veljanovski and Radonjic were part of a four-person team that visited the Grady College in September and October in a faculty exchange that is a part of a three-year project funded by a $195,000 grant to the University of Georgia from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. Total cost of the project, including the contributions of the three universities, is more than $300,000.

Accompanying the two were Drs. Snjezana Milivojevic, project leader at the University of Belgrade, and Vukasin Pavlovic, vice dean of the College of Political Science, in which the Department of Journalism is housed.

The James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research has designed and coordinated this project. The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

The Department of Mass Media Arts at Clark Atlanta University is a partner in the project, which involves faculty exchanges in each of the three years of the project as well as a workshop in Serbia on journalism education or media practice each year.

Dr. Milivojevic and Dr. Pavlovic were in the Grady College for a planning trip. They had meetings with Drs. Lee B. Becker and Tudor Vlad, director and assistant director of the Cox Center, to discuss the topic of the 2006 workshop in Belgrade and to identify areas of interest for joint research projects in the future.

The team agreed that the workshop in 2006 will focus on media management and that the members of the team will launch a research project evaluating different approaches to journalism education in Serbia and Montenegro.

Dr. Milivojevic and Dr. Pavlovic also met with administrators in the Grady College to discuss the curriculum of journalism and mass communication programs and the implementation on a public relations and advertising module in the structure of the Department of Journalism in Serbia. Dr. Milivojevic was at the University of Georgia for a week, while Dr. Pavlovic was in Georgia only two days.

“This partnership with the University of Georgia and with Clark Atlanta University is a real opportunity for us,” said Dr. Pavlovic. “After 10 years of isolation, our country is trying to build new bridges toward the world, and academic collaboration is an important component of this approach.”

The vice dean said he hoped to be able to find additional funding and to expand the exchange to graduate students, “because many Serbian young people have not had the opportunity to travel and study abroad.”

Instructors Radonjic and Veljanovski spent one month at the University of Georgia. Their program included meetings with University of Georgia and Clark Atlanta faculty and students, lectures and informal presentations. They talked about their experience in Georgia with the University of North Carolina Professor Robert Stevenson, the evaluator of the three-year program. The pair also visited CNN, the University of Georgia student newspaper, The Red & Black, and the university student radio station, WUOG.

Both Radonjic and Veljanoski worked as broadcast journalists for many years. They shared their expertise with American students in telecommunication classes.

“The best classes for me were when we had an active role,” Radonjic said. “In the telecommunications class we analyzed the television program of the students together with the professors. We spent all the day there. It was really exciting.”

Radonjic and Veljianovki met with Clark Atlanta University faculty and compared the curricula of the Grady College, of the Clark Atlanta media unit and of their journalism program in Belgrade.

The Serbian visitors also met with students in the radio production classes of the Department of Mass Media Arts at Clark Atlanta and answered questions about the role of radio in Central Europe.

In the last meeting with Drs. Becker and Vlad before the return to Belgrade, Dr. Veljianovski said: “If our faculty [department] want to change our studies seriously, we must make use of the experiences from the Grady College.”

As a result of the program in the Grady College, “Mreza” a Serbian broadcast production company where Lila Radonjic holds a leading position, submitted a package of documentaries for the Peabody Awards

The Pearbody Award Program is housed in the Grady College.