UTAR don clinches first prize in US teaching contest

PETALING JAYA: For going beyond classroom education to ensure her lessons have a lasting impact on her students, Dr Sharon Wilson (pix) was awarded first prize in the prestigious International Communication Division (ICD) Teaching Contest 2020 – the first winner from outside the United States.

An assistant professor at the Faculty of Creative Industries at University Tunku Abdul Rahman, Wilson, 45, said the win came as a shock to her.

She said her project idea involved a cross-cultural course for students enrolled in her class.

The collaborative semester-long video conference course was facilitated by Prof Dr Patricia Sloane-White from University of Delaware United States and Wilson.

“I submitted my entry just to take part in the contest without thinking of winning the first prize. I just wanted to share my project idea with everyone because this was something extremely meaningful and exciting for the students and for Patricia and myself as academicians.

“The course was structured to engage two groups of students in shared cultural explorations concerning contemporary culture and social values. They examined the nature and meaning of each culture and became more empathetic towards each other.

“We also shared ideas and trends about global cultural influences, the role, persistence and transformation of culture, beliefs, ethics, tradition and identity in both settings.

Wilson added that even after the semester ended and many of the students had graduated, they continued to keep in touch, displaying a lasting impact beyond traditional classroom education.

She said two students from Delaware are furthering their postgraduate studies in Malaysia and the class had created added value to their understanding of the country and its people.

The ICD is one of Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications’ (AEJMC) largest divisions, with more than 250 members who are scholars and educators representing institutions of higher education from around the world.

AEJMC was set up in 1912 in the US as a non-profit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators and media professionals.

ICD was inaugurated in 1965 and its main focus is the study of processes and effects of mass communication in the international arena. ICD has expanded its interests to embrace international and global discourse pertaining to journalism and media.

Her winning submission will be featured on the ICD website and social media.

Additionally, she will be recognised at this year’s ICD Business Meeting during the 2020 AEJMC Annual Conference in San Francisco.

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