UMAIE: Hawai'i: Multi-Cultural Communication in Diverse Organizations

Program Highlights
  • This course examines the concepts, theories and realities of the way individuals and groups work and communicate in organizations in Hawaii, where culture and multiculturalism plays a primary or prominent role.
  • Students will visit sites in Oahu and Kaua’i
  • Prerequisites: Completion of 100-level Communication & Journalism course or permission of program director
  • Fulfills: Communication & Journalism major/minor, COJO370 (must email Debra Petersen), Human Diversity core, Communication & Journalism requirement for certain Business concentrations, American Culture & Difference minor elective
Academic Overview

Course Description
In Hawai‘i: Multi-cultural Communication in Diverse Organizations, we examine the concepts, theories, and realities of the way individuals and groups work and communicate  in organizations  where culture and multiculturalism plays a primary or prominent role.  We do so in Hawai‘i because  our  fiftieth state is a microcosm of multi-ethnic cultures and co-cultures, all interacting in a business, retail, nonprofit and arts environment.  Hawai‘i provides us with a living laboratory in which we can study and experience multicultural communication and organizations.   As we examine multi-cultural and organizational communication, we will be challenged to examine our own cultural identities and assumptions, asking ourselves not only about the role that culture plays in the experiences and observations we will make as part of the class, but as they translate to our daily lives and experiences back on the mainland in our careers and personal life.

We will spend  December 31- January 13  on Oahu and January 14- 23 on Kaua‘i,  including three partial travel days.   Course activities include:  classroom sessions, guest presenters, guided tours,  a panel discussion on multi-cultural communication led by UST alumni, and, a service-learning project at a bi-lingual Hawaiian school. 

Faculty Directors
Debra Petersen, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas  (651) 962-5828
Tim Scully, M.A., University of St. Thomas  (651) 962-5824

Description of Faculty Directors
Prof. Petersen is an associate professor in the Communication and Journalism Department.  In her 23 years at the University of St. Thomas, she has been a full-time faculty member in the Communication and Journalism Department, director of the Luann Dummer Center for Women, and, a member of the Women’s Studies Committee.  She has successfully taught abroad, as the sole instructor of COMM 322 Intercultural Communication in Copenhagen (4 credits) and COMM 296 Advanced Readings in Intercultural Listening (2 credits) during the extended summer sessions in 2003 and 2005 for the University of St. Thomas. She has successfully taught Hawai’i: Multi-Cultural Communication in Diverse Organizations, for UMAIE five times.  She co-authored a scholarly article, “Service-Learning in the “Away-From-Campus” Context: Lessons, Experiences, and Practical Wisdom from the Hawaiian Ke Kula Ni’ihau O Kekaha School Projects,” based on her Hawai’i experiences. Prof. Petersen received the UST Global Citizenship Faculty award in 2012 and the UST Faculty Service-Learning award in 2010.

Prof. Scully is an Associate Professor in the Communication and Journalism Department. Since 1990 when he joined the newly formed Communication Department, his background as an award-winning television producer has enhanced his teaching of several courses in video production and new technologies. For 14 years he advised the award-winning student-produced video magazine, “Campus Scope" and is now an adviser of Tommie Media, an award-winning student-produced website ( Documentaries he produces with students often are broadcast on Twin Cities Public Television. In 2003 his class went to Nairobi, Kenya to shoot a mission with Children’s HeartLink. The program earned an Emmy Award nomination. In 2006 his students produced a documentary comparing Somali immigrants in Perth, Western Australia with those back home in the Twin Cities.  A member of the Service-Learning Advisory Board since 2002, he is a recipient of the UST Service-Learning Award for Faculty and Faculty Global Citizenship Award. Prof. Scully has explored intercultural issues and involved his students with service-learning projects during each of his 23 years at the University of St. Thomas. He co-authored “From Australia to Africa to the Islands: Service-Learning Projects Far Away from Campus,” a monograph for the Vatican Conference, Power to Transform the World at Marquette University in July 2010. In the spring of 2011 he received UST’s Multicultural Student Services Outstanding Commitment Award. In 2009 and 2012 he was the secondary instructor for Hawaii: Multi-Cultural Communication in Diverse Organizations and he will again be the secondary instructor in 2014.   


UMAIE: Gender, Race, Class and Mass Media: London

Program Highlights
  • Use London, England, as a “living laboratory” to explore the crucial roles that journalistic, advertising and entertainment media play in creating, reinforcing and disseminating cultural values about gender, class, race and ethnicity.
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Fulfills: COJO328, Communications & Journalism major/minor, Human Diversity core
Academic Overview

Course Description

This course explores the crucial roles that journalistic, advertising and entertainment media play in creating, reinforcing and disseminating cultural values about gender, race and ethnicity, and class.  We consider such questions as how media depictions may symbolically annihilate, stereotype and trivialize women and people of color, and how the decision-making status of women and people of color in media organizations may be connected to those depictions.  We also explore these issues in relation to class, which is often connected to race and ethnicity.  We question the ability of media organizations to recognize and reflect the changing nature of the populations they have a social responsibility to serve.  We also consider how international conglomerates use media messages to perpetuate a kind of one-size-fits-all global culture of commodification and materialism that may influence local cultural standards about identity.

Specifically, in this offering of the course, we will use the city of London as a kind of living laboratory to examine how the tensions of heritage and diversity are exacerbated or addressed by mass media content and public expressions of culture in an increasingly multicultural city.  We will systematically compare our own experiences with US media content and public culture to our newfound observations of media content and public culture in London.

Note for St. Thomas students: This course satisfies the diversity requirement of the core curriculum and is cross-listed with the Women’s Studies program. It also serves as a course in the theory/analysis category of the COJO major.

Faculty Directors
Bernard Armada, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas  (651) 962-5825
Mark Neuzil, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas  (651) 962-5267

Description of Faculty Directors
Dr. Armada is a Professor at the University of St.Thomas in St. Paul, MN, in the Department of Communication and Journalism and holds a Ph.D. in Speech Communication with an emphasis in the rhetoric of race and public memory.  He has taught courses such as Modern American Rhetoric, The Rhetoric of Public Memory, and Landscapes of Public Memory in Athens, Greece, all of which focus on how culture is constructed through communication practices.  Dr. Armada taught in Athens, Greece during January 2004 and 2005 (Landscapes of Public Memory).  In January of 2006, he taught the UMAIE course Multi-Cultural Communication in Organizational Contexts in Hawaii.  He team-taught Gender, Race and Class in Media with Dr. Wendy Wyatt in January of 2010.

Dr. Neuzil is a Professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, in the Department of Communication and Journalism and Director of the Office for Mission. He received his Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Minnesota, his master’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota and his bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in political science and journalism.  He teaches courses in reporting, environmental communication, media ethics and communication history.  His latest book is The Environment and the Press: From Adventure Writing to Advocacy (Northwestern University Press, 2008), which was the winner of the James A. Tankard Book Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.  Neuzil is a regular contributor to Minnpost, an on-line newspaper in Minneapolis. A former summer park ranger, Neuzil has worked as a reporter and editor with the Associated Press, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the Quad-City Times, the Ames Daily Tribune and the New Ulm (Minn.) Journal. Dr. Neuzil team-taught this course with Dr. Wendy Wyatt in January of 2009.