Starting from February 2014, Fulbright scholar from USA, Minessota, Barbara Ruth Burke is joining Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences teaching staff. Her courses this semester include Mass Communication, Multimedia Journalism, Social Media and Tourism, and other courses where prof. Burke will work together with local lecturers. She also will support the programme directors in study programme development and carry out research activities.
Barbara Burke holds a PhD from Purdue University, USA, and her academic fields include Communications, American Studies and Journalism. She is also an experienced program coordinator and curriculum designer which will be a great support to the further development of study programmes in ViA. Her interest in visiting Latvia is both related to teaching in the field, working together with colleagues who research and teach related subjects, and also learning and investigating the complexities of culture and media interactions in Latvia.
Barbara Burke states: “Because my educational background is in American Studies, and I have devoted my professional careers to teaching and media production in a department of Humanities within a discipline in Communication, Media & Rhetoric, I now have several years of experience teaching about these interconnections between media, culture, and society. An opportunity to be a visiting teacher would provide me with a much-hoped-for experience in blending my Liberal Arts-focused sensibility to teaching to Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences in Latvia.”
Burke is interested in addressing two primary research questions during her tenure abroad. She believes “entertainment and news media work together to tell stories about the people who live [in a region],” so she will explore ways in which 21st century Latvian media stories contribute to the creation of a national identity. She will also examine media consumed by the country’s Russian-speaking population and the ways in which it parallels Spanish-language media in the United States.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.
Prof. Barbara Ruth Burke and Gatis Krumins, rector of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences