Bjarke Kamstrup, Nicoleta Corbu and Dr. Ainars Dimants

Two Fulbright Scholars, Georgia Rotary International Student Join Grady College for 2008-2009 Academic Year

Dr. Ainars Dimants of Latvia and Nicoleta Corbu of Romania jointed the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia as Fulbright scholars as the 2008-2009 academic year began. They were joined by Bjarke Kamstrup, a student from Denmark, attending through the Georgia Rotary Student Exchange Program.

All three of the international visitors are being hosted by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, the international outreach unit of the Grady College.

Dr. Dimants is an associate professor and the head of the Department of Communication Sciences at the School of Business Administration in Riga. His faculty advisor in the Grady College is Dr. Hugh Martin, associate professor in the Journalism Department.

During his 6 months at the University of Georgia, Dr. Dimants’ main research focus will be been corporate social responsibility in media enterprises. He will meet with Grady faculty teaching print and broadcast journalism and media management and visit media outlets in Athens and Atlanta.

“In addition to studying and evaluating the U.S. experience of corporate social responsible media enterprises, my second main goal is to have conversations and to work together in the Cox Center with the professors of Grady College,” Dr. Dimants said.

“I want to learn more about mass communication research, as in this area we have to move things forward in Latvia. Therefore, for me, as a head of the Department of Communication Sciences and director of the doctoral study program in communication management at the private School of Business Administration Turiba in Riga, this is a great experience.”

Corbu is an assistant professor at the National College for Political Studies and Public Administration in Bucharest. The main goal of her program in the Grady College is to finalize her doctoral thesis on the semiotics of advertising messages.

Corbu also planned to study the principles of journalism and mass communication empirical research and participate in Dr. Lee Becker’s Media Research class. Dr. Becker is the director of the Cox Center.

“I have been surprised to see how open the Americans are to ‘the other,’ when ‘the other’ comes from a different culture,” Ms. Corbu said. “In the U.S. academic world, I have been impressed by the modern relationship between professor and student, which is very far from an authoritarian, distant model that still exists in some Romanian universities.”

“But the most striking shock has been the extraordinary access to information provided here by the libraries, the huge data bases, the online publications,” she added. Corbu will be at the Grady College for the full academic year.

Bjarke Kamstrup, who studies journalism at the Danish School of Journalism, planned to telecommunication classes in the Grady College. His year at the University of Georgia is sponsored by the Athens Rotary Club.

Kamstrup was born in Lemvig, Denmark, a town with a population of 7,500, where his father is the editor of the local newspaper. His hope is to become a broadcast foreign correspondent.

“The grade system at the University of Georgia has been unexpected to me,” Bjarke said. It is very mathematical and very detailed, he explained.

“In Denmark you get an overall grade and you don’t know exactly what counts for what. What I also like here is that students have to do a lot of self study, it’s not only learning based on lectures.”

The Cox Center frequently hosts international visitors to the Grady College.

“We feel that each of these three individuals will help students and faculty in the Grady College learn more about the world outside our borders,” Dr. Becker said. “We are very pleased to the chance to participate in the Fulbright and Rotary programs and to have these three be a part of our academic year.”