Prof. Tegest Heruy of Unity College in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Dean Travels to Washington To Provide Retrospective on Collaboration

Tegest Heruy, dean of the School of Journalism and Communication at Unity University College in Ethiopia rattled off a list of recent accomplishments of her small program at the private college in Addis Ababa during a meeting in Washington in early August.

Unity has created broadcast studios, hosted an international journalism instructor for a year, been assigned a Fulbright scholar for the coming year, and developed its curriculum to the point when it is seeking accreditation from the national government.

These accomplishments, and others, are attributable at least in part to the collaboration between Unity and the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2002 and 2003, Prof. Heruy said.

The Ethiopian professor was participating in a three-day reunion of partners in international development programs hosted by Higher Education for Development (HED) at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington. The predecessor of HED, Association Liaison Office for University Cooperation in Development (ALO), funded the two-year project, which ended in 2003.

“The School of Journalism and Communication at Unity University College was the first at a private university (in Ethiopia) to teach journalism,” Heruy told the 170 delegates at the conference.

“We started our teaching journalism from the scratch,” she continued. “For this reason, we needed to have some kind of help from those that had the experience. So the program was started in capacity building. We really did manage to build out capacity to teach journalism in the country.”

Prof. Heruy, Dr. Becker, and Marilyn Crane.

Heruy listed eight different accomplishments: developing guidelines for the program, creation of a curriculum, the construction of radio and television facilities, the awarding of a Knight International Press Fellow to help with teaching, the Fulbright award, workshops conducted for journalists and public relationships practitioners, attending international journalism education conferences, and the addition of books and literature to Unity’s library.

“An important decision is where journalism education can be housed in a country with a troubled relationship between the press and its government,” Dr. Lee B. Becker from the University of Georgia told the group. Dr. Becker said the University of Georgia decided to help Unity with its journalism program even before receiving the ALO grant in 2001 because it was independent of government.

Dr. Becker is director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research. The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College.

Dr. Becker and a team of U.S. experts traveled to Addis in February of 2000 to advise the faculty beginning the journalism curriculum on how to create a syllabus, how to incorporate practical assignments into a course, and how to conduct both student and faculty evaluations. Unity and the University of Georgia applied for the ALO grant based on that existing collaborative relationship.

The two-year project involved faculty exchanges and visits by the U.S. team to Addis to conduct classes for students and assist in development of an outreach program for local faculty and other communication professionals. The team also advised the Unity professors on how to apply for additional outside assistance.

Dr. Becker and Prof. Tegest Heruy.

The presentation by Professors Heruy and Becker was part of a roundtable discussion on projects in Sub-Saharan Africa on the first day of the reunion, August 8. The two were selected from the representatives of the various projects funded by HED or ALO from 1998 to the present to share their experiences now several years after the formal collaboration had ended.

More than 40 countries were represented at the workshop. The program ended with a wrap-up session on August 10.

Following the HED meeting, Prof. Heruy spent a day at the meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, where she was able to visit the book exhibits and meet with colleagues at other universities.