OHIO UNIVERSITY / NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF KYIV MOHYLA ACADEMY
2004 – 2007
AN INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT
GENERAL MANAGER, WHUT-TV
In fall 2004, faculty from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio and the Journalism School of the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy (KMA), Kiev, Ukraine, began an academic collaboration and exchange program to help develop and support a free press in Ukraine. The three-year project was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, under the Freedom Educational Partnerships Program. The reference number for the grant is ECA/A/S/U-04-01
The focus of this OU/KMA Linkage Project was the graduate-level Journalism School at KMA. The Journalism School is a relatively young institution, founded in 2001 by Sergiy Kvit, a Ukrainian literary critic and scholar, recently elected president of the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Students receive a master’s degree in journalism after completing a two-year curriculum over six trimesters.
The Journalism School was established to address the need for media reform and to support a free press in Ukraine. It is one of only three graduate level programs in Ukraine and the only one to offer practical training in audio, video and new media production. At the initiation of this project in September 2004, the curriculum was oriented towards theory with a few practical courses being taught by a small number of professional journalists. These practical courses and the School’s admissions policy of accepting students with undergraduate degrees in other fields of study made the Journalism School at KMA a unique institution in Ukraine.
The Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University is known internationally through the work of its five schools, which include a joint program in Communication and Development with the Center for International Studies. The Scripps College routinely hosts and participates in international events, and students from a range of countries attend its colleges. Among its 18,000 alumni worldwide are professional journalists in many countries, including South Africa, Ukraine, Georgia, Nigeria, and India.
This Project emerged from discussions between a former KMA lecturer, Dmytro Kolchynskyy, an alumnus of the graduate program at Ohio U, and one of his professors there, Dr. Don Flournoy. Dr. Flournoy is an internationally known scholar and author with special interests in broadband communication, international development and advanced technologies.
Ukraine, with a population of over 46 million, has a profusion of print and broadcast media but after decades under the Soviet system, which used media as an arm of the state, Ukrainian media is in a precarious state. From independence in 1991 to 2004 it is estimated that approximately 40 journalists were killed.
Journalism education in Ukraine was also dominated by the Soviet model and stressed propaganda and philology, or communications theory. There are over 30 accredited schools of journalism in Ukraine, the majority offering undergraduate programs. Most do not have experienced professionals on their faculty nor do they have any equipment for teaching practical courses. A need was felt for a new approach to journalism education, an approach that would leave a legacy in supporting an independent media in Ukraine. The School of Journalism, or J-School as it is affectionately called by its faculty, students and alumni, was founded to address this need. The School faced a myriad of challenges with little appropriate equipment, textbooks or trained faculty. A faculty member who had studied at Ohio University contacted Dr. Don Flournoy to explore a potential collaboration.
Professor Flournoy, with considerable experience with international projects, worked with administrators at KMA to craft this Ohio University/National University of Kyiv Mohyla Linkage Project.
The goals of the project were to:
Upgrade the KMA Journalism curriculum to include documentary and multimedia courses well grounded in the technologies and techniques of digital audio and video production;
Develop and teach a course in International Media Systems as a collaborative Distance Education project between the two schools; and
Create an outreach initiative in which documentary and multimedia production workshops are targeted to media professionals from throughout Ukraine.
In summer 2007, Jennifer Lawson, a Washington, DC broadcaster and producer, was commissioned by Ohio University to provide an independent evaluation of the Project. This evaluator was a visiting professor at Ohio University in 2003 and taught a graduate level seminar there that included two students from Ukraine, one being Dmytro Kolchynskyy, one of the first directors of this Project, prior to its establishment. The evaluator has no formal connections beyond that with any of the participants or institutions under review and submits this report as a fully independent assessment of the three-year program and its impact.
This 2007 evaluation was conducted using the following methodology:
A review of relevant documents including the original project proposal, past and present curricula, and all available reports from participants and previous evaluators;
Interviews conducted in Kyiv in June 2007 with over twenty participants including faculty, students and administrators from Ukraine and Ohio, U.S. Embassy in Ukraine staff, and Ukrainian journalists;
On site observations of courses in session and a tour of the facilities at the Journalism School at KMA; and
Screening of KMA student work on site in Ukraine and online.
Ocker Van Tets, a Dutch media specialist and Ohio University alumnus, (Class of 1987) conducted an interim independent evaluation in August 2005, included here as an appendix. Evaluations were conducted at various milestones including 30 days, one year, two years and this final report. These earlier reviews were used to make improvements in the program. Participants from Ohio and Ukraine also provided written reports documenting their work and findings. Students in Ukraine evaluated their courses and this material was made available to evaluators. Copies of other project reports and related documents can also be found as appendices to this report.
The Ohio University/National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy Linkage Project has far surpassed the goals outlined in the 2004 proposal, and as revised following interim evaluations. The primary goals were to assist in curriculum development, conduct a collaborative class in international media systems and provide professional development workshops for working journalists in Ukraine.
The curriculum development goals were met and extended to professional development for KMA faculty. This resulted, in a short period of time, in a hands-on, production oriented culture at the School, an increased output of distributed student work, heightened national and regional prestige, professional respect for the Journalism School and its administrators, and an air of confidence among its students, faculty and alumni. The Ministry of Education in Ukraine has consulted the KMA faculty regarding the Journalism School’s curriculum and the U.S. Embassy frequently showcases the Project and the School to others in the region. Other schools are beginning to change their curriculums based on KMA’s ability to show tangible evidence of its students’ productivity on the airwaves, the screen and online through YouTube and the School’s website.
The curriculum for this two-year graduate program was transformed from one emphasizing theory to one that now emphasizes practical courses in news gathering, radio production, television production and new media. This was done through the successful development and inclusion of the five new courses within the curriculum as well as others such as radio production. All five courses were successfully integrated and effectively sequenced within the new curriculum. The Project provided brief residencies in Ohio for several KMA faculty who were mentored by Ohio faculty in teaching methodologies and afforded the opportunity to conduct research and purchase books and materials for their new courses. A media resource center has also been established.
While the present KMA technical facility is sub par by American standards, professional journalists interviewed in Kyiv say that the Journalism School has the best-equipped facility of its kind in Ukraine. Plans are underway to upgrade the technical facilities and to extend the curriculum to a doctoral level program by 2010 using methodologies employed in this Project.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SYSTEMS COURSE
A course in International Media Systems was collaboratively developed and taught in two successive years, spring 2006 and spring 2007, using satellite and Internet technology to bring students in Ukraine and Ohio together, live, within a common virtual classroom. A faculty member in Ukraine and in Ohio co-taught the course, which also included the participation of a faculty member from another Ukrainian university for several sessions in spring 2007. Technology problems such as insufficient bandwidth for transmission and uneven sound quality coupled with a pacing slowed by translation impeded the course both years but the majority of participants in Ukraine valued the exchange and hope the project will continue with modifications. There were marked improvements between the first and second year because of the evolution in available broadband technology. This course was a critical element of the Project since there was no student exchange component. Ukrainian students learned about national broadcast policies in other countries and built up a valuable database of information. Students in Ohio gained useful insights into international media systems and learned that freedoms taken for granted in the U.S. are not assured in other countries. Technology improvements are needed at KMA to allow the students greater one-on-one access to reliable computer workstations, greater bandwidth for more reliable transmission and class exercises that engage the students more.
WORKSHOPS FOR PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS
Workshops in Ukraine for professional journalists from various regions were held annually, in summers 2005, 2006 and 2007. Ohio University faculty with professional experience and Ukrainian professional journalists led sessions in news gathering, journalism ethics, documentary production and design. Courses taught by OU assistant professors Mary Rogus in 2005, Casey Hayward in 2006 and Julie Elman in 2007 all received high marks from the Ukrainian journalists who attended. Rogus’ course had the largest number of professional journalists from other regions, with 26 from over 24 cities in Ukraine. Hayward’s 2006 workshop had 35 participants, a mix of professional journalists including anchors, foreign correspondents, and several free lance journalists and filmmakers. A change in management remedied this situation and in 2007, the third workshop, featuring design, went smoothly for all involved. Technology issues remained a problem with unstable, slow, outdated computers and obsolete software. Nevertheless, the participants were fully engaged and eager to learn.
Over 60 professional journalists from throughout Ukraine have participated in this program and an outreach initiative remains active at KMA. Inspired by the work of KMA, a Ukrainian soft-drink firm is supporting free media in Ukraine by contributing the equivalent of $500,000 USD for refresher courses for Ukrainian media professionals.
Journalism School founder and now president of KMA, Sergiy Kvit is a frequent speaker on journalism education and media reform. In 2006-2007, Dr. Kvit traveled in the US as a Fulbright Scholar. Journalism School director, Dr. Yevhen Fedchenko is frequently invited to describe the Project in major conferences in the region and attended the Broadcast Education Association conference in Las Vegas in 2007. Joe Richie, at the time an OU assistant professor, participated in a conference in Kyiv on media reform in 2005. The Journalism School at KMA’s website has links to its media reform project, describes its approach to journalism education, and showcases student work. Presentations about the School have been held at important regional centers in Ukraine including Cherkasy, Lviv and Zaporizhzhya.
Three OU students traveled to Ukraine at their own expense and participated in the exchange program. Ukrainian students praised their inclusion and found them very helpful for peer-to-peer learning in the classroom, particularly in managing equipment, with which the Ukrainian students were less familiar. In their interviews, several students asked that future exchanges be designed to include student exchanges.
OU Assistant Professor Eric Williams participated in a meeting of the Ukrainian Media Club in Kyiv, spoke at three Odessa universities in 2006, and was interviewed on Channel 1 TV, Odessa. Williams is producing a one-hour documentary on the role of media in emerging democracies. This documentary is likely to be quite useful as an additional resource in telling the story of the OU/KMA Linkage Project.
Video conferencing – KMA plans to develop guidelines for teaching these courses effectively. KMA is now equipped to conduct interactive videoconference sessions in its own facility and plans to do so.
Continued cooperation with specific faculty. Close ties have been built between several key individuals including KMA president Sergiy Kvit, Journalism School director Yevhen Fedchenko, instructors Yuri Panin and Ruslan Deynychenko in Kyiv and Professor Don Flournoy, and assistant professor Eric Williams and associate professor Mary Rogus in Ohio. These personal ties have been sustained in some cases over several years now.
Other exchange programs. The institutional and personal ties established by the 3-year OU/KMA program should facilitate both institutions taking advantage of such opportunities for the benefit of their faculty and students. In Ukraine, this might include faculty and student exchange opportunities such as Muskie and Fulbright grants.
The development of an interdisciplinary PhD program at KMA, which will need assistance from OU in similar fashion to that provided through this program. Don Flournoy has already agreed to be on the board and assist in the development of the new doctoral program. The School has been exploring the US, British and Ukrainian models of doctoral studies in journalism. The program will have a two year curriculum development period and expected implementation in 2010.
The Project’s success is due in large part to the quality and commitment of the participating faculty at both institutions; the clarity of mission and dynamic pace of change at the Journalism School at KMA; and the willingness of all to adjust the Project as circumstances warranted. The OU/KMA Project was evaluated each year, and administrators at KMA and Ohio took feedback from those reports, coupled with student evaluations and their own observations, and made modifications in the program. This ongoing reassessment and change have been strengths of the Project and led to it exceeding the goals proposed in 2004.
The major challenges facing KMA are succession management, faculty development and retention and a need for technology improvements. With respect to succession and faculty development, the Journalism School faculty is very small with several responsibilities resting on the shoulders of a single individual. Director Yevhen Fedchenko is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Journalism School, also teaches several courses, and is a frequent speaker and advocate on behalf of the Journalism School’s program and its primary fundraising. Yuriy Panin teaches several courses and is the IT professional for the school, assisting both faculty and students with troubleshooting the equipment, software and assisting in the oversight for construction of a new facility. The absence of either person for even a short period of time is disruptive to the School’s operations.
KMA has done a remarkable job of addressing the technology challenges. Earlier evaluations identified specific needs such as lack of dedicated broadband, an Internet platform for student work, lack of sufficient cameras and each succeeding year the Project has risen to meet the challenge. The planned studio facility should address remaining issues which include secure storage and access management for equipment as well as additional work stations with up-to-date computers and software for all programs.
It can be anticipated that the OU/KMA Project will have a lasting impact in Ukraine, influencing methodologies for journalism education and providing forums for the discussion of media reform, thereby strengthening press freedoms. As information about the Project is disseminated, it is also to be expected that this Project will be used as a model in other places seeking to improve journalism ethics and strengthen a free press.
Ukraine, with its population of over 46 million, has a profusion of media with over 30 cable channels, 15 national television channels, 500 radio stations, 600 television stations, countless newspapers and over 8,000 registered periodicals. There are fourteen local commercial television stations in the city of Odessa alone. The Internet has taken root with over 3 million regular users in 2006 and a number of new online publications have arisen. This surfeit of media has caused a high demand for media professionals.
Many of these media outlets are politically connected and often dormant, coming back to life when there are elections as they are supported financially by political advertising. So along with the demand for more media professionals, there is a need for improved education and media literacy to invigorate and maintain a free and independent media.
Decades of the Soviet system, which used media as an arm of the state, has left independent Ukrainian media in a precarious state. From independence in 1991 to 2004 it is estimated that over 40 journalists were killed because of their work. Selective tax measures have been imposed in other cases, allegedly to silence journalists. News outlets have been closed and there is a widespread belief that the majority of the media are being politically manipulated.
Journalism education in Ukraine was also dominated by the Soviet model and stressed propaganda and philology, or communications theory. There are over 30 accredited schools of journalism in Ukraine, the majority offering undergraduate programs. Most do not have experienced professionals on their faculty nor do they have any equipment for teaching practical courses. This shortage of trained professionals leads to unethical, near absurd circumstances. Andriy Kulykov, media expert and director of the EU-TACIS-BBC Project for the Development of Media Skills, described a situation where a student who worked for a newspaper went to cover a rally and on returning was asked to write three different reports under three different names with three different points of view. In his view, aside from KMA, Ukraine lacks journalism education that emphasizes that news should be objective and unbiased
At both the undergraduate and graduate level, journalism courses in Ukraine consist mostly of lectures with little emphasis on practical experience. Most professors are scholars with few ever having been practitioners. A need was felt for a new approach to journalism education, an approach that would leave a legacy in supporting an independent media in Ukraine.
JOURNALISM SCHOOL AT KYIV MOHYLA ACADEMY
The Journalism School at the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy was founded in 2001. Sergiy Kvit, formerly Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Social Technology was a founder of the School. Kvit, a literary critic, educator and expert in Ukrainian literature, felt that quality journalism and press freedoms were essential to Ukrainian independence. The school states its mission as follows.
The mission of our School is to serve Ukrainian society:
Academically – by raising the standards of journalism education in Ukraine and by creating new approaches for the teaching of journalism;
Publicly – by influencing the media industry through critique, training programs, professional discussions, and through the raising of the level of public media literacy.
The Journalism School was established to address the need for media reform and to support a free press in Ukraine. It is one of only three graduate level programs in Ukraine and the only one to offer practical training in audio, video and new media production. The School has a two-year, six trimester program. Students are awarded a masters degree in journalism upon successful completion of its program.
The School is located in Kyiv on the grounds of the historic National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy. The Academy is a prestigious school, founded in 1615 by the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church and modeled on rival Jesuit institutions. The Academy was closed by the communists and reopened following independence in 1991. The University of KMA has been closely associated with Ukrainian independence and was the gathering place for the winter 2004 – spring 2005 protests for openness and press freedoms that became known as the Orange Revolution. Ukraine president Viktor Yevtushenko is an alumnus of KMA.
SCRIPPS COLLEGE AT OHIO UNIVERSITY
The Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University is known internationally through the work of its five schools, which includes a joint program in Communication and Development with the Center for International Studies. The E. W. Scripps School of Journalism is ranked among the top 5 nationally by Writer’s Digest and among the top 10 nationally by the Associated Press Managing Editors Association. It operates five public radio stations, two public television stations and a cable channel. It has a respected faculty with many outstanding scholars and award-winning professionals. Many have been involved in international exchange or development projects. Ohio University routinely hosts and participates in international events and students from a wide range of countries attend its colleges.
Scripps College of Communication boasts of its 18,000 alumni worldwide, which includes “Today” show host Matt Lauer, Emmy winners Paul Miller and Terrence McDonnell, Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, CEOs Roger Ailes, Matt Rubel and Richard Brown, Sports Illustrated columnist Peter King, and Wall Street Journal senior editor Laura Landro. Its alumni are well represented as professional journalists in many countries, including South Africa, Ukraine, Georgia, Nigeria, and India.
OU/KMA LINKAGE PROJECT
This Project emerged from discussions between a former KMA lecturer, Dmytro Kolchynskyy, an alumnus of the graduate program at the School of Telecommunications, and one of his Ohio University professors, Dr. Don Flournoy. Dr. Flournoy is an internationally known scholar and author with special interests in broadband communication, international development and advanced technologies. He has authored several works and participated in numerous international programs.
Through his work and through discussions with Kolchynskyy, Dr. Flournoy was well aware of the situation in Ukraine and pledged a willingness to collaborate to support media reform and improved journalism education in Ukraine, specifically supporting curriculum redesign at KMA. With this mission in mind, Dr. Flournoy worked with administrators at KMA to craft this Ohio University/National University of Kyiv Mohyla Linkage Project.
The goals of the project were to:
Upgrade the KMA Journalism curriculum to include documentary and multimedia courses well grounded in the technologies and techniques of digital audio and video production;
Develop and teach a course in International Media Systems as a collaborative Distance Education project between the two schools; and
Create an outreach initiative in which documentary and multimedia production workshops are targeted to media professionals from throughout Ukraine.
Representatives from each institution have collaboratively managed the Project since its inception. Dymytro Kolchynskyy was initial project manager in Kyiv until he left in 2005 to work with a television station in Kyiv.
Yevhen Fedchenko, Director of the J-School at KMA took up the post in 2005 and remained the project director in Kyiv through its duration. Prior to his post as Director of the Journalism School, Dr. Fedchenko, a political scientist and professional journalist, worked at Telechannel STB, one of the leading commercial broadcasters in Ukraine.
In Ohio, the Project Director is Eric Williams, Assistant Professor, School of Telecommunications. Williams, a screenwriter and producer, was recently honored with the prestigious title of University Professor, an award honoring the five most outstanding Ohio University faculty, as selected by students. He assumed management of the Project from Dr. Flournoy in 2006.
The most visible result of this collaboration and exchange project is the restructuring of the KMA Journalism School’s curriculum. As noted earlier, Ukraine inherited its system of journalism education from its years in the Soviet system and today the majority of journalism programs there adhere to curriculum models dominated by lectures emphasizing communications theory. The Journalism School, or J-School, as students and alumni affectionately call it, offers a radical alternative based on work done through the OU/KMA Project. The J-School curriculum maximizes opportunities for student participation and includes regular interaction between its student body and professional journalists.
The 2004 proposal outlined a plan to develop five new courses involving four KMA faculty and directly benefiting forty-four Ukrainian students over a two-year span. The program was extended to three years and over seventy Ukrainian students have been direct beneficiaries. The proposed courses were:
1: Pre-production Planning, Writing and Budgeting
2: Production, Post-production and Editing
3: Documentary Production
4: Multimedia Production
5: International Media Systems
All five courses have been developed and incorporated into the curriculum. Each year, the KMA administration and students evaluated the courses and used the feedback to effect improvements. The curriculum development began first with the arrival in Ohio of KMA faculty members, Oleksiy Mykhalyuk and Ruslan Petrychka in October 2004. In fall 2005, Dmytro Kolchynskyy returned to Ohio to work with Dr. Flournoy on the World Media Systems course.
This was followed by the residencies in Ukraine of Ohio assistant professor Joe Richie in January 2005 and Frederick Lewis in April 2005. A technology specialist from Ohio University, Ben Schneider, went to Kyiv and worked with the KMA technicians and U.S. Embassy technical experts to establish a means by which the World Media Systems class could be taught as a live, interactive forum.
The KMA curriculum is dynamic, with regular assessments, updates and changes brought about by the Project’s director, Yevhen Fedchenko, Director of the J-School. The curriculum has evolved significantly from its earlier incarnation of lectures to a dynamic mix of hands-on seminars and workshops. KMA classrooms, labs and studios have transformed to a place where the J-School students take responsibility for a daily radio broadcast via the Internet, weekly television reports distributed via YouTube and the University’s website, and produce documentaries, blogs, podcasts, magazine and website designs, when courses are in session.
The hands-on method clearly appeals to the students. One student said, “I learned more here in two weeks than I learned in my four (undergraduate) years.” The students are engaged and visibly excited about their work. Students and alumni interviewed have an awareness of the uniqueness of the KMA program and express pride and great loyalty to the program. They readily place the program’s value within the larger context of press freedoms, a break with Soviet-style pedagogy in journalism education, and a national climate of compromised journalism ethics. There is a cohesive, collegial culture, owed in part to the fact that many faculty members are recent alumni.
Professional development and mentoring for the KMA faculty has been an essential element of the curriculum development project as the Journalism School is faced with the option of either using professional journalists who may or may not have solid pedagogical skills or recent alumni who can be observed in a classroom setting. The hands-on strategies of the Journalism School program have also been a useful means of identifying future faculty from among the students themselves. It is easier to identify those with leadership abilities and teaching skills in the highly interactive, production-oriented setting of the new courses, where students rotate through various roles such as writing, producing, directing, anchoring and editing. Faculty members who have emerged through the curriculum development program under the OU/KMA Project have also had the benefit of the mentoring of Ohio faculty.
The Journalism School is to be commended for taking discarded set pieces, loans and gifts of used and new equipment and fashioning a rudimentary studio, where students produced weekly news reports in 2006. Ocker van Tets had noted in his 2005 report the need for an outlet for student work. In less than a year’s time, student work was being shown and critiqued by faculty from throughout KMA and was available for viewing online.
Judging from KMA student evaluations and interview comments with KMA faculty and students, the most effective courses were those taught in the final year of the program by Ohio University professor Eric Williams. These courses in documentary production and postproduction captivated and engaged students and inspired KMA faculty members, Yuriy Panin and Ruslan Deynychenko, to learn from Williams’ methods of encouraging students to problem solve and experiment. William’s work was particularly helpful in demonstrating the effectiveness of hands-on, participatory training in a culture dominated by an educational system reliant on passive students in lecture forums. Williams’ interest in Ukrainian culture and language and his easy camaraderie led to very high marks on students’ evaluations of his courses and many positive comments about his participation from students, faculty and administrators.
Equally high marks were given to the opportunity for KMA faculty to spend time in the US observing classes at Ohio University and attending professional meetings such as the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Conference, held in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Las Vegas, April 2007. These were opportunities to research curricular materials, course syllabi and program structures that have resulted in a more effectively sequenced curriculum at the J-School. The KMA faculty also purchased books, tapes, and DVDs for the small but growing resource library used by KMA faculty and students.
Additionally, three Ohio University students visited Kyiv at their own expense and participated in the OU/KMA Linkage Project. The KMA students spoke very favorably of the US students and found their presence in the classroom particularly beneficial. Several of the KMA students interviewed suggested that student exchanges should be considered as an element in future projects of this nature, promoting peer-to-peer learning. They underscored the fact that sometimes a student who is reluctant to ask a professor a question will ask a fellow student and since the American students were quite accustomed to using the equipment, they became a useful resource.
Fedchenko is very pleased with the status of the curriculum revision. This final year was most critical, in his view, in adjusting the sequencing of the courses. With experimentation, they discovered that student work in television production was stronger if those students had prior exposure to radio production. The order in which the courses are taught is just as critical. Eric Williams alluded to this in his winter 2006 report where he notes that the skills needed for successful completion of a course on studio news production require basics of camera operation, sound, lighting, etc. that must be mastered in prior course work.
The greatest evidence of the Project’s success is in the work of the students. All students are required to complete a number of assignments in each course, demonstrating their abilities to perform the necessary work of journalists in the field, in the studio and in the press room. Student documentaries, news reports and magazine stories (in the design course) reveal a clear understanding of the importance of storytelling.
The curriculum and the sequencing of the curriculum has worked as a means of taking individuals with undergraduate degrees in a range of subject areas and transforming them into skilled workers with an understanding of the importance of the ethics of the profession of journalism and its relationship to Ukraine’s future. The students have learned to think on their own, approaching their work with an ethical standard. Now, as Eric Williams puts it, “Not only is it hands-on, but it is creating life-long learners. Before there was hesitancy on the students’ part to problem solve. Now the students are able to teach themselves.”
The curriculum development that KMA has done is also having an impact on other campuses in Ukraine. Andriy Kulykov, media expert and director of the EU-TACIS-BBC Project for the Development of Media Skills spoke at length about the importance of the Journalism School at KMA and the Ohio Linkage Project. He has had an association with the School since 2006 and has lectured on the topics of radio, news production and has critiqued student work. Kulykov has analyzed the journalism programs throughout Ukraine and in other countries as a part of his work and he praises KMA for its focus in shifting the curriculum from theory to practical experience that can prepare them to be journalists. He sees the impact that KMA is having on the other universities, where their curriculums remain, at best, 70% theory and 30% practice. He noted that other Ukrainian educators, such as Dr.Volodymyr Rizun, Director of the Institute of Journalism, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, are taking note of the curriculum changes and faculty development at KMA.
Every September there is a conference of all the accredited Ukrainian journalism schools and Kulykov has noted the way in which other schools are coming to the realization that a practical approach is needed. In a short period of time, the KMA program has become highly respected nationally and quite influential. Its director, Yevhen Fedchenko is a member of the Committee on Journalism Education.
Fedchenko is now planning to extend the curriculum development project by structuring a program for a PhD in journalism at the J-School at KMA. He anticipates using the lessons learned from the OU/KMA Linkage Project as the basis for the design of this new program.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SYSTEMS COURSE
An experimental course taught during the Winter Quarter 2006 by Ohio Professor Don Flournoy in Ohio and Dmytro Kolchynskyy at KMA was hailed for its innovation in using a two-way satellite and Internet connection to have students in Ukraine in direct dialogue with Ohio students on a regular basis. The course was a for-credit curriculum offering at both universities. The course was TCOM 367: Global Media Systems at Ohio University. At KMA it was listed as International Media Systems. Twenty-two Ohio students and twenty-two KMA students met twice a week and were connected live, first by satellite and later by Internet. The course was scheduled for 9-11 am Athens, which is 4-6 pm local time in Kyiv. It examined the nature of broadcast media in various countries and contrasted commercial, public and state sponsored media. In both years, the project was plagued by technology challenges, most notably uneven audio, interruptions and delays caused by insufficient bandwidth, and a lack of common understanding of the subject matter among students. The American students seemed to take for granted the coexistence of public and commercial broadcasting while the Ukrainian students lacked exposure to a public broadcasting service.
In the Winter Quarter 2007 the course was offered a second time. World Broadcasting Systems was co-taught by Dr. Flournoy in Ohio and at KMA by visiting professor Borys Potyatynyk, a respected Ukrainian media critic and author. He is a member of the faculty of Lviv Franko National University and during visits to Kyiv, he taught the course for six sessions. Ohio University professor Eric Williams, who was also in Kyiv at the time, facilitated the remaining sessions. The central question of the course was what form of public broadcasting might work best in Ukraine. Students conducted research on public broadcast systems in other countries and built up a useful database. They also reviewed the law, adopted ten years ago in Ukraine that would support the establishment of public broadcasting, although it was recognized that there is little official interest in introducing public broadcasting, given the uncertain political and economic climate.
Ukrainian students who took this latter session of the course were less than enthusiastic about its value, particularly in this form. They reported some confusion about its focus; for them the lines blurred between this course and Professor Potyatynyk’s lectures on Media Ecology. They also felt that neither they nor the OU students seems terribly engaged in the course, given the difficulty of the pace of the sessions, slowed by translation and delays caused by technology. Despite these problems, over half of the 22 Ukrainian students who participated gave the course, World Media Systems, a positive evaluation. They also thought it should continue as a course offering but with modifications to assure that professors understand the challenges of teaching using this technology and students in both locations have sufficient common knowledge of the selected topics. It was also suggested that it might be more engaging for all students, in Ohio and Ukraine, if there were portions of the course where the students themselves served as facilitators of the dialogue. It was felt that this might lead to greater student interaction.
WORKSHOPS FOR PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS
In summer 2005, Mary T. Rogus, Associate Professor, Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University held workshops for Ukrainian media professionals. Ms. Rogus teaches Radio News, TV News Reporting, Advanced Public Affairs Reporting and Media Ethics at Ohio. She has over 20 years experience as a working journalist and is an award-winning reporter, producer and executive producer. At KMA, she taught two workshops for 26 media specialists, from 26 stations, representing 24 different cities. Each seminar covered the rights and responsibilities of a free press. Seminar participants described the many ways in which censorship was practiced at their stations and were very interested in how press freedoms are protected in other countries.
Originally, only ten journalists were to participate in each session, but some wanted to be included so badly that they agreed to pay their own way. Dozens of professionals applied for the twenty workshop spots, an indication of the level of interest in such a program and its perceived value to Ukrainian journalists.
This was a timely topic with the 2005 seminar occurring only months after the heady days of the Orange Revolution. It should be noted that KMA was a gathering place and played a pivotal role in this protest movement, which resulted in some democratic reforms, improvements in human rights and increased freedom of the press. KMA administrators and faculty are respected throughout the region for their roles as advocates of media reform and a free press.
All fourteen participants in the first workshop were women and many of them were relatively new to journalism. Most were working as news anchors or reporters and a few were news editors. The second grouping of twelve had a more even mix of male and female media professionals, but this group was far more experienced, with some who had been working professionals for over fifteen years. The interim project evaluator, Ocker van Tets, president of MultiMedia Management, Netherlands, observed the second workshop firsthand and participated in it as a lecturer on new media.
During summer 2006, Ohio University Assistant Professor Casey Hayward was one of the featured lecturers and led workshops in documentary production. Hayward has an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has won awards for his work. Hayward introduced the journalists to independent documentary production and the use of this medium as a style of personal expression in addition to more straightforward long-form news documentary. Dmytro Kolchynskyy, a TV journalist and former lecturer at KMA, and one of the founders of the OU/KMA Project, expressed concern that Ukrainian professional journalists may see little relevance in such experimental fare, but others interviewed cited the same material as being useful and eye opening in terms of styles of expression in documentary. Ultimately, Hayward and subsequent evaluators report that the professional journalists were appreciative of the exposure to more experimental fare, despite their initial reservations about its relevance to producing quality programming.
In summer 2007, Ohio University Assistant Professor Julie Elman, taught a weeklong course in Design attended by a mix of professional journalists and students. Half of the seventeen course participants were professional journalists. The majority were women. The course was a hands-on workshop that covered the elements of Design for print news, magazines, web and multimedia. The course coordinated with another in New Media, which taught participants how to create blogs and publish using the Internet, taught by Maxon Pugovsky, KMA alumnus and editor-in-chief of Internet.UA, glossy professional publication.
Elman teaches Publication Design and Desktop Publishing in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio and worked professionally as a photojournalist and news page designer. She has won numerous awards for her news design work. During her time in Kyiv in summer 2007, Elman also taught a portion of a course in photojournalism in the J-School program. Elman was most impressed by the passion that the students and journalists displayed towards their work. They saw themselves learning skills to promote freedom and democracy and took their work quite seriously; in contrast to the far more casual approach most American students take to their studies.
Karen Roblee, Academic Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, gives the OU/KMA Project high marks for its outreach to Ukrainian journalists beyond Kyiv. She noted their participation in a February 2007 conference in Kyiv with nongovernmental organizations from throughout the region and she cited Eric Williams’ 2006 lectures and media appearance in Odessa. Roblee has the impression that the good work being done through the OU/KMA Project is being disseminated. There is a young, small faculty in Cherkasy, Ukraine that is starting to use the elements of the OU/KMA developed curriculum. She was also impressed with the work that KMA did in Cherkasy, Lviv and Zaporizhzhya, other regional centers.
The OU/KMA Project has strengthened the stature and increased the prestige of the J-School, which has a high proportion of faculty and graduates active in Ukrainian media. J-School faculty are frequently called upon to participate in international forums. The J-School has held forums that have been attended by well known, respected practicing Ukrainian journalists and it is conducting workshops and seminars at other Ukrainian universities in regional centers such as Lviv and Zaporizhzhya.
Roblee also pointed out the fact that KMA faculty have been consultants to the Ukraine Ministry of Education and says that the KMA style courses are being incorporated into the curriculums of other Ukrainian universities. She and her colleague Vira Ternovska, Cultural Affairs Assistant within the Public Affairs Section, think highly of the KMA Journalism School and frequently promote it to others in the region. Dr. Fedchenko, Dr. Kvit and others are often asked to speak at forums and international conferences.
In November 2005, Yevhen Fedchenko reported on the value of the OU Linkage at an international conference in Kyiv, “Reforms in the Journalism Education in Ukraine: Ukrainian and European Experience,” organized by the BBC World Service Trust. In that same month, Sergiy Kvit spoke at Zaporizhzhya National University on the subject of the KMA method for training journalists.
The program’s successes are many. The OU/KMA Project has met all goals outlined in the 2004 proposal and this reviewer would note the following accomplishments. The OU/KMA Project:
Developed and instituted new methodologies in teaching, with emphasis on hands-on practical training in news gathering, writing, editing and producing in a variety of media including print, radio, television, and Internet distribution;
Improved the quality of student work, which should lead to improvements in Ukrainian media as more alumni become professional journalists;
Engendered a greater understanding regionally among professional journalists of the value of freedom of the press and strategies to preserve such freedoms;
Increased awareness within its faculty and that of several regional schools of methods to research, develop and teach new courses; and
Fostered greater interaction with international broadcasters and media educators in Kyiv and abroad.
The OU/KMA Project had many challenges to overcome to meet with this success. The primary challenges were inadequate technology and a slower pace of work caused by language differences and a need for translation.
The lack of reliable technology slowed the pace of several classes. Julie Elman had to rethink her approach to teaching a Design course since the students had to share computers and would not have their individual workstations. If students are working in pairs on a project, how do you evaluate their individual achievement and grade them properly? The Design software was not the most recent version of the program and was a beta version where all components could not be counted on to function.
Eric Williams noted the challenge of having to take an external hard drive from the School on an upper floor outside and next door to the basement where the Studio is located in order to transfer data from one piece of equipment to another. A wired, integrated facility would obviate the need for this.
Williams praised the faculty for their ability to function with what they have but lamented the time lost in making things work. He hopes that they will be able to obtain the resources to have a systems integrator rationalize their equipment and workflow so that video production, radio and Internet content can be assembled and distributed seamlessly and with greater reliability. Williams also believes that future student internships and faculty and student exchanges would reinvigorate the program by providing them with new examples and models. Many of the facilities related problems mentioned in the first reports from 2005 remain as of this writing in mid-year 2007.
Yuriy Panin moves about the facility at the pace of a whirlwind as he boots up equipment in one workspace, patches together a connection in the studio, downloads new material and then tries to get on with teaching the class in video production jointly with Ruslan Deynychenko.
The program reached beyond its original goals and OU provided technical assistance that led to the development of the current rudimentary studio facility at KMA. The J-School has amassed other resources and plans to construct a new studio facility by late fall 2007. The new facility will include significantly upgraded space for radio and television news production and plans are afoot to acquire state-of the-art production and postproduction equipment.
In his August 2005 mid-term evaluative report, Ocker van Tets noted the importance of the exchange in providing KMA faculty with access to books on production and the opportunity to observe OU faculty teaching. He commented favorably on the curriculum development project and describes the variety and quality of student work. In his concluding remarks, he is generally positive but suggests that faculty members should be better prepared with information about the host locale so they don’t waste useful time orienting themselves. He also notes the need for the improvement of the technical facilities. He asked for the development of a platform to archive the accumulation of student projects and is no doubt pleased that works can be screened via YouTube and the J-School’s website at http://video.j-school.kiev.ua/
Months later in his winter 2006 report, Eric Williams notes the significant progress made in addressing many of the issues identified by Ocher van Tets in 2005. A Media Resource Center or library has been established with a small collection of books, DVDs and tapes useful as resources for faculty and students. Other lessons learned from the project include the following:
A successful project anchored in multiple locales requires reliable and effective leadership in each location. This project succeeded because of the energy and drive of the principals, Don Flournoy, Dmytro Kolchynskyy, Sergiy Kvit, Yevhen Fedchenko and Eric Williams.
Project personnel, activities and goals must be culturally sensitive to the host sites but also be straightforward in identifying policies and practices that hinder achievement. In the first year, visiting professors from OU reported high absenteeism owing to local holidays and student work schedules. Fedchenko instituted requirements governing attendance and in the final year of the program, this was not mentioned as an outstanding issue.
Technology resources must be adequate to support the goals and activities. As mentioned earlier, most reports reference the technology challenges. Yuriy Panin and others at KMA are praised for their efforts to make things work, but a great deal of time is lost because of technology problems. These problems plagued the regular classes, the World Media Systems videoconference course and the workshops for professional journalists.
Peer level relationships (faculty to faculty; student to student) can be particularly effective in encouraging participation and creating an atmosphere of trust and genuine relationships. Ultimately, this project has succeeded in part because of the goodwill and genuine affection that has evolved over the years between the participants in Kyiv and Ohio.
Going forward, the J-School at KMA is healthy, vital and has ambitious plans to build on the activities that were initiated through the Linkage project. Fedchenko is developing internship programs and there are plans are additional workshops for professional journalists. Plans are underway to develop a PhD program and Fedchenko would welcome the opportunity to work with Ohio University on that project as well.
There is a need for succession planning given the current dependence on a single individual, the program’s director, Yevhen Fedchenko. The program has energetic specialists in its small core faculty, but appears to need an additional person with generalist administrative skills that can continue to build on the established foundation in a similar manner to that of Fedchenko and Sergiy Kvit. Additionally, a large burden of technology maintenance and troubleshooting rests on the shoulders of Yuriy Panin, who also teaches production courses. The School must develop a larger core of faculty and reliable professional substitutes to build on its laudable achievements in the years to come.
Ultimately, time will be the arbiter of the long-term success of this project and its impact on media quality in Ukraine, but there is no question that the project has already had a significant impact on the over 80 students who are its graduates and over 60 professional journalists who are direct beneficiaries of its activities. The Project has enriched the dialogue on freedom of the press, journalism education and journalism ethics in Ukraine and beyond. The overwhelming majority of comments derived from interviews are positive and supportive. Prior evaluations have also been generally positive and have highlighted the project’s accomplishments.
Dean Sergiy Kvit, head of the Faculty of Social Science and Social Technology at KMA, under whose aegis the J-School operates, has been a strong advocate and supporter of the program. Dr. Kvit was named president of the University in late June 2007 and has pledged that his support will continue. The staff of the US Embassy in Ukraine praised the program and is optimistic that the Director, Yevhen Fedchenko, whom they hold in high regard, will find other resources to build upon this venture to the benefit of students, journalists and the citizens of Ukraine.
As for benefits for Ohio University, this program creates something new and strengthens something old. Participating faculty at OU came from different schools within Scripps College, where they had little awareness of other related programs. Through this exchange TCom, VisCom, and Scripps Journalism faculty were brought out of their silos and into interaction with their colleagues across disciplines. The OU/KMA project has led to a lot of cross communications between Ohio faculty in different disciplines. Casey Haywood, Mary Rogus, Don Flournoy, Julie Elman, Frederick Lewis and Eric Williams, are now all talking to each other across programs based on the shared KMA experience.
Projects succeed only if the human beings behind them put in the dedication, thought, time and effort necessary. There is a long list of people in Ukraine and Ohio responsible for the success of this project. Fortunately, the good relations and the bonds forged between Ukraine and Ohio should match Yevhen Fedchenko’s optimism that this project will continue well into the future.
2001 Journalism School at National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy founded.
2004 Dr. Don Flournoy, OU, and Dymytro Kolchynskyy, KMA, collaborate to create the OU/KMA Linkage Project
Fall 2004 OU/KMA Linkage Project receives 2-year grant from US Dept. of State BECA
2004 Kolchynskyy, project director, KMA, travels to OU; works with Flournoy, project director, OU, to design World Media Systems course
October 2004 Oleksiy Mykhalyuk and Ruslan Petrychka, KMA, go to OU to develop courses
January 2005 Joe Richie, OU, travels to KMA to teach and design course on Preproduction, Production and Postproduction
2005 Joe Richie participates in Media Reform Conference at KMA
April 2005 Frederick Lewis teaches and aids in designing course in Production
2005 Yevhen Fedchenko becomes Director of Journalism School at KMA
Spring 2005 Eric Williams becomes Project Director for OU
June 2005 Mary Rogus, OU, conducts workshops on News and Ethics for professionals
June 2005 Ocher van Tets teaches New Media Workshop to professionals
2005 Ben Schneider and Travis Funk, OU, assist in technical facilities set up at KMA
2005 Preproduction and Production courses integrated into curriculum
2005 Ruslan Deynychenko, Tetyana Lockot and Oleksiy Mykhalyuk visit OU to design radio and video production courses
July 2005 Ocher van Tets performs mid-Project evaluation
Jan – March 2006 Eric Williams teaches Production and News Production at KMA
2006 Radio production course introduced
June 2006 Casey Hayward teaches Production at KMA
June 2006 Hayward conducts Workshop for Professionals
Spring 2006 Kolchynskyy and Flournoy teach International Media Systems course, using US Embassy satellite link
Spring 2007 Borys Potyatynyk, Eric Williams and Flournoy teach International Media Systems course to 22 OU students and 22 KMA students, using Internet link at KMA
Spring 2007 Fedchenko travels to OU and attends Broadcast Ed Assoc. conference and NAB
Spring 2007 Eric Williams teaches Production and News Production at KMA
June 2007 Julie Elman teaches Design at KMA
June 2007 Maxon Pugovsky teaches Multimedia course
2007 Multimedia course integrated into curriculum
June 2007 Julie Elman conducts Workshop for Professionals
June 2007 Final evaluation performed by Jennifer Lawson
June 2007 KMA celebrates graduation of Class of 2007, with 22 students skilled in all aspects of news gathering, studio news, field reporting, documentary production and new media development.
Fall 2007 Project formally ends.
2007 KMA initiates curriculum planning for a PhD program in Journalism for 2010