Evening view of the central building of Tbilisi State University.

Cox Center Director Teaches Doctoral Students In Tbilisi, Georgia

University of Georgia Professor Dr. Lee B. Becker taught a short-course on mass communication research methods to 12 doctoral students in the Journalism and Mass Communications Division of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at Tbilisi State University in early December.

The students, most of them in the doctoral program of the Journalism and Mass Communication Division at TSU, joined the seminar for 90 minutes each weekday evening from Dec. 3 to Dec. 13, discussing such issues as scientific sampling, questionnaire construction, and experimental and non-experimental design.

Dr. Becker had just finished teaching the same subject matter to graduate students in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, and he said the biggest challenge was fitting 15 weeks of class work into the nine short sessions.

“Preparing for the short course made me focus on the essentials,” Dr. Becker said. “It was a challenging and interesting experience.”

The Cox Center is the international outreach unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The students came to the seminar after a day of work. Many of them held jobs in the media and related organizations and brought those insights to the class.

At Dr. Becker’s invitation, Tatia Khaindrava, project manager at IPM Research in Tbilisi, visited the class to give concrete and site-specific examples of probability area sampling and survey fieldwork supervision to the class.

IPM does the fieldwork for the Gallup World Poll. Dr. Becker is on the advisory board for that international survey project.

The Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University is the largest university in Georgia and the oldest in the Caucuses. It enrolls about 21,000 active students.

The Division of Journalism and Mass Communications has about 500 students in its undergraduate program, about 60 students in its master’s program, and 11 students in its doctoral program. The doctoral program was launched only two years ago.

Dr. Mariam Gersamia, professor and head of the Journalism and Mass Communications Division, invited Dr. Becker to teach the seminar and hosted him during the visit.

During the visit to Tbilisi, Dr. Becker met with Sophia Chakvetadze, who was a Muskie Fellow in the Cox International Center and the Grady College from 2009 to 2011. She is currently working in public relations in Tbilisi.

In addition, Dr. Becker met with faculty at TSU with representatives of media organizations, and with governmental leaders involved in media issues in the country.

Dr. Lee Becker and the students who attended his seminar at Tbilisi State University.

“It was an honor to have been asked to teach the seminar,” Dr. Becker said on his return. “I thoroughly enjoyed the students, professionals and others I met in the lovely country of Georgia.”