UA Journalism Professors Visit Turkey to Help Train Afghan Instructors
While some faculty members slow down over their summer break, two UA School of Journalism professors traveled across the globe to help train their international colleagues.
Journalism professors Maggy Zanger and Kim Newton, along with trainers from Ball State University and San Jose State University, traveled to Istanbul as part of a 12-day Afghan Education Enhancement Training Program for professors who teach journalism in Afghanistan. Thirty-nine professors from four Afghan university journalism departments participated in the session, designed to help them enhance their schools' journalism programs.
The program's training focused on developing assignments that use social media and the Web to teach journalism skills, as well as topics related to ethics, website design, student media and public relations – a new professional field in Afghanistan.
"These Afghan colleagues are working with such limited resources – no textbooks, no copiers, no libraries, sometimes not even electricity – and have such large numbers of students that it is really hard for them teach journalism skills in a meaningful way," said Zanger, who directs the UA partnership with the University of Nangarhar in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
The partnership was established in 2011 to help provide professionally oriented journalism curriculum for the University of Nangarhar, located in eastern Afghanistan. Since its establishment, the partnership has been supported with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
Earlier trainings were held in the United Arab Emirates and India to provide a safe place for both Americans and Afghans to work together and explore other cultures.
The most recent training session in Istanbul ended Tuesday, but two University of Nangarhar professors will be visiting the UA for eight weeks of continued training on campus. While in the U.S., they will observe UA classes, visit local news media outlets and other journalism programs in Arizona and California. They will also study English and work to develop their skills in photojournalism, multimedia production and advanced reporting.
"Too often the view of Afghanistan and their people is associated with war," Newton said. "This program has provided a cross-cultural exchange with colleagues dedicated to educating the next generation. The experience has exposed the resilience of our Afghan colleagues to move their universities forward, even through extreme adversity."