Students and faculty from the University of Louisiana's Mass Communication department recently participated in a research conference half way around the world in the middle-eastern nation of Qatar. The International Conference on the Trends of 21st Century Mass Communication (ICTMC) was a two day event that took place March 8-9th. The conference was attended by students from all over the world.

The purpose of the 2-day conference was to bring together mass communication academics and practitioners to dialogue on changing developments and opportunities and challenges facing the industry in the region world wide.

UL graduate students Lindsey Conlin and Dustin Domingue each presented research papers at the conference. UL faculty members Dr. Phil Auter and Dr. William Davie also attended.

UL was able to participate in the event because of a grant received by the University. According to Dr. Auter, “UL has been involved with USAID grant program for awhile. We wrote a USAID grant proposal and it was rewarded. The grant provided us funding and allowed us to partner more easily with the Qatar university”.

UL's participation in the conference has given the students and faculty involved the opportunity to experience new cultures and new worlds. The conference has also provided the opportunity for UL's communication department to build a working partnership with Qatar University. Starting in the fall semester of 2011, UL will be offering a Global Media communication course that will partner with a class at QU.

Dr. Auter comments, “We will be working directly with a class at Qatar University. We will meet live discussing news and media dealing with the west and the middle-east. The students will work together on group projects and will participate in group discussions together.”

Although a class featuring students from the other side of the world is a relatively new concept for the University of Louisiana, Dr. Auter feels that the experience gained from both students and faculty involved in the class will be invaluable for their growth and education in an ever shrinking and ever evolving world.  “This class will help the faculty and graduate students teaching them to stay informed and aware of things going on in the world. Its real important for the faculty in a program to be as hands on and involved in the current activity in their fields as possible,” he notes. “It helps students become aware of how small the world is becoming. With new free technologies like Skype, instant messaging, and social media, people all over the world can easily connect. For career reasons, students should be aware of the global landscapes, because when they graduate, the job competition and the jobs they will be competing for in the future will have a more interactive and global component to them”.

Although the Mass-Comm department at UL does not currently have plans to participate in another middle-eastern conference in the immediate future, Dr. Auter does say that the department is always looking to participate in conferences relevant to the students studies. “We get involved in a lot of conferences.  Most of them are not that far away because of the travel expenses. This particular conference had the expenses covered by the grant, but we are participating in conferences all the time.”

To read more about the conference, click here.

Sam Stokes is a senior in Media Advertising at UL. He plays guitar with T-Ray & Sam, and attends almost every Cajuns sporting event he can.  To read more of his writings, click on his name at the top of this article.

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