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COJO 370, UMAIE: Hawai'i: Multi-Cultural Communication in Diverse Organizations

January Term, 2020

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

  • COJO majors and minors: This class can fulfill a 300 level course in a major or can be your COJO elective. Fulfills the Human Diversity requirement, Communication & Journalism requirement for certain Business concentrations. It also meets the requirments for and American Culture & Difference, Sustainability and Service-Learning.

See the International Education webpage for application materials.

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, 
Bernard Armada, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas,  

Description of Faculty Directors

Dr. Petersen is an associate professor in the Communication and Journalism Department.  In her 25 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 six 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, the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Outstanding Service Award in 2010 and the Curricular Innovation in Sustainability Award in 2015. 

Dr. Armada is a professor in the Communication and Journalism Department. Professor Armada's research areas are in the rhetoric of race and the rhetorical construction of culture and public memory.  He has won local and national awards (for his teaching and research, respectively), including UST’s Distinguished Educator Award and the Gerald R. Miller Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation award from the National Communication Association.  He has published in such journals as the Southern Communication Journal, the Review of Communication, and theReview of Cultural Studies.  His latest article (co-authored with Sonja K. Foss and William J.C. Waters) is "Toward a Theory of Agentic Orientation: Rhetoric and Agency in 'Run Lola Run'" published in the August 2007 issue of the journal Communication Theory.  The article uses "the film Run Lola Run to explicate three agentic orientations—victim, supplicant, and director—each with a different interpretation of structure, a different response to that interpretation, and a different outcome.