Overcoming barriers of distance, time, culture, and technology, Dr. Kate Dunsmore has been offering her Intercultural Communication course on-line to students in residence at the Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad, in Sichuan, China. The course covers issues related to cross-cultural interaction in which students are able to learn about nonverbal and verbal symbolism, cultures within cultures, and the cultural influence on perception
“I had adjusted the assignments in Intercultural Communication, which I have regularly taught as an online course in Summer session, to utilize experiences the students were having in Chengdu. This proved a good plan especially since Internet access, which is required by the regular assignments, proved to be spotty much of the time,” said Dunsmore
Faculty members and staff bid farewell to Dr. Katherine Dunsmore during their last lunch.
Taking advantage of Fall break at FDU, Dr. Dunsmore visited Chengdu and the Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad during the week of October 13th – 17th, 2014. Her main purpose was to teach three sections of the course face-to-face while also interacting with her students on a one-on-one basis by holding office hours throughout the week. Dr. Dunsmore also led a brief session for all the Center’s students on the study abroad experience as it relates to intercultural communication. She listened to examples of students’ experiences in daily life and their internships, and then helped analyze the situations by describing, interpreting, and evaluating their observations.
“I met with my class at its three regularly scheduled times. In addition I met for an hour with each of my students individually. Center staff asked me to moderate a discussion on adjusting to life abroad. This discussion was with all the students and led to many conversations with students in the remaining days of my visit. In these conversations I learned much about the strategies students were using to manage day-to-day concerns,” said Dunsmore.
Dr. Dunsmore sits down with Morgan Maurer to discuss classwork and other topics related to Intercultural Communication.
The blended format of the course has been very well-received by the students. “What I’ve learned in the Intercultural Communication course is how to be objective and avoid resorting to prejudices and preconceived notions of things before I gave new things and people a chance to get to know them. Being in China, this skill comes in very handy when learning to adjust to the food, language, and general atmosphere of the city. Having the professor physically be here to teach as opposed to doing everything online was helpful in that we could get immediate feedback from the professor and she could explain all the concepts she was trying to teach us in a way we could understand,” said FDU student Javier Munoz, who is attending the Chengdu Center during the Fall 2014 semester.
Kate Dunsmore is Associate Professor in Communication Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus. Her areas of research include political communication, international communication, and public discourse. She has published in the areas of discourse analysis, political communication and pedagogical research. Her dissertation (2008, University of Washington), titled “Mediating alliance: The role of the press in sustaining reciprocity in the US-Canada relationship”, won the 2009 ACSUS Distinguished Dissertation Award. She is currently exploring the role of the press in North America in the late 1700s and early 1800s. She is also the recipient of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Educational Opportunity Fund 2010 Outstanding Faculty Award, recognizing her work with disadvantaged students.
Dr. Dunsmore and her students.
Fairleigh Dickinson University, partnering with Merrimack College, Concordia University, Norwich University, and Sichuan University, opened the Chengdu American Center for Study Abroad in 2012. The center is managed by G-MEO (http://www.gmeochina.com/programs-and-services/american-centers/chengdu-center/) an innovator in study abroad programs in China. Courses are offered in business, communication, science, humanities, social science, criminal justice, Chinese language and culture, and other fields. Fairleigh Dickinson University is responsible for offering the courses in business and communication, while partner institutions will take responsibility for other disciplines. Sichuan University faculty will offer the Chinese language and culture courses. All courses are taught in English.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014