Dr. Tudor Vlad, director of the Cox International Center, presenting during the conference in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

Cox International Center Contributes To International Conference

“There is a huge variability in the communication skills and education among members of local governments in rural areas both in the United States and in Romania”, Dr. Tudor Vlad, director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, told participants in the Transylvanian International Conference in Public Relations in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, in October 2019.

“Our research in two counties in the United States has shown that, while some Commissioners use social media and contribute to web sites to stimulate citizen engagement, others have difficulties even in using the email for the same purpose,” Dr. Vlad said during his presentation titled Digital Communication in Small-Sized Communities. Case study: Public Administration Officials in USA & Romania.

These findings resulted from a pilot-project conducted by researchers of the Cox International Center and of the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia. The goal of the project, funded by the UGA Office of Research, is to use communication between local government and citizens to create stronger and more prosperous communities. Babes-Bolyai University faculty currently are using the same research design to replicate the study in two non-metropolitan areas in Romania.

Dr. Vlad was a member of the International Organizing Committee of the conference, whose topics were collaborative governance, trust building and community development. The event was hosted and coordinated by the College of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences at Babes-Bolyai University, Romania and had 150 public administration and communication scholars from all over the world in attendance.

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

“In recent years, Cluj-Napoca has been a positive example of how the academia and the city can and should work together,” Mayor Emil Boc said during the opening ceremony. “We have been using political science and public administration faculty to help the local government develop a plan for the city’s future and to strengthen our approach to modernize it.”

Dr. Calin Hintea, dean of the College of Political, Administrative and Communication Studies, told the participants that Cluj-Napoca is the IT capital of the country, with 15,000 professionals working for over 200 companies in this field, a majority of them having international clients.

During his stay in Cluj-Napoca, Dr. Vlad also had a series of meetings with Dr. Stefanie Lindquist, senior vice president of global academic initiatives at Arizona State University, Dr. Tom Reichert, dean of the College of Information and Communication at the University of South Carolina, Professor Randy Covington, Newsplex director at the University of South Carolina, and Dr. Calin Hintea, dean of the College of Political, Administrative and Communication Studies at BBU, to discuss a collaborative initiative aiming to create a summer program for students and faculty of the four universities.