Sunday, January 26, 2014

I had the first department meeting at UKF today. I had my translator next to me allowing me to understand the salient points in the meeting.  She was also kind enough to share the names and research topics for each faculty members. The faculty is small-- about 20 members--and appears to have a level of respect for each other- and in fact, based on after meeting interactions—most appear to be friendly with each other.

The meeting itself was like any other; in that academics all have something to say about changes that have been mandated, and show resistance to change in general. The department is going through accreditation review- mandated by the Slovak Government.  They do this every 5 – 6 years, as we do.   They discussed the up-coming open house, a student with special needs, and how best to organize an upcoming conference they need to hold with their Polish colloquium.   They also had a brief discussion on grants that faculty need to apply for, and wondered if my presence may help them in getting some international grants. 

One of the faculty members had just been awarded Associate Professor, so we had champagne and cake to celebrate. After, he and I talked—he taught PR courses at UKF for a while, and just did a thesis on celebrity endorsement.  We hope to collaborate together in a few weeks.  The idea of having someone to collaborate with is the most exciting thing to me about this Fulbright.  It gives me an opportunity to work with in-discipline scholars that I do not have at RWU. 

It was funny, because the translator (my “handler”), a Ph.D. student, wondered if the discussion, where some people were belaboring the point, happened in my department or university meetings.  I laughed and told her she had no idea!  We determined that it is a universal academic phenomenon.  We also agreed that neither of us would ever want to be the one at the helm of a department!

Their projectile to full professor is a bit different here.  Here is what I understand:

  • If you are a internal Ph.D. candidate/student you may teach at a university, however, they do not hire any one with only a Masters (Mgr,).  You must have a Ph.D. to be hired.  When first starting, you will be  hired as a Ph.D.  That is your title.  Your contact lasts for year to year for three years (it was just changed from 5) before you need to go up for Associate Professor.  This is not tenure, instead it is another degree/accolade that you put next to your name. 
  • The process you must go through to get Associate Professor is similar to our process in the US, with a couple of key difference. Primarily, you must do another thesis, present it to a committee, and then give a separate research seminar that is attended by committee members and members of the scientific agency in Slovak Republic.
  • Additionally, as compared to RWU, the faculty members have  a specific prescribed list of activities they must have achieved, including how many publications, where they are published, proof of other “research activities” (grants etc) and must have worked with a number of thesis students.
  • Once you have the credential, the Associate Professor credential (DOC) is added before your name. To get Professor (PROF), you must  do all of that again, and have had Ph.D. students successfully complete their dissertation and have graduated.  It takes five more years to go up for Professor.

Apparently while some universities share the credentials once achieved, others want the academic to pay for the credential at their new or affiliated university.  The cost is $2500 Euros.  This is an important distinction because many academics here are affiliated with other institutions- 1) in part because there are many collaborations among institutions and 2) because the pay is low and they need to make additional money.

For example, the department of Mass Media Communication and Advertising at  UKF has  joint programs with universities in France, Czech Republic, and Poland.   They also have language courses set up weekly for faculty members in each of the se languages as part of the program. (They also have English- but no affiliation with a university—yet!)

Students must pass state exams to graduate with any degree in the Slovak Republic.  These are oral exams, graded by a committee from UKF, the Ministry of Education, and outside academics. However, students get a B.A or B.S in three years here, (they have three years to compete a Ph.D.) and undergraduate students must complete a prescribed list of courses.  This list includes few electives, and equals 180 credits to graduate.

Department Information

The department of Mass Media Communication and Advertising at UKF is 11 years old.  It is a mix of marketing, advertising, graphic design and psychology.

Students have two areas they can focus on: 1) Promotion and Advertising and 2) Mass Media & French Language Teaching (a program with a French University- through a grant)

There are approximately 60 spots available every year for students in Promotion and Advertising, and they have over 400 applicants.   To determine admittance, students get tested and must prove competence in cognitive skills (math. Verbal), creative skills  (artistic, portfolio), and spatial skills.

Overall, the department is located with in the Faculties of Arts.  There are four other faculties here: Natural Science, Social Sciences & Health, Pedagogies,  and Central Europe Studies.   There are about 14,ooo students  in total at UKF.

Journalism is in it’s own department, although the two departments share Ph.D. students. They have a media center that is an independent center, including a radio station and video editing equipment.  The focus is more on print than electronic or digital.  That department and program is smaller than MMCA.  


the old man in south texas said...

Well Big Bang, (had to say it)the real adventure begins.

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!