During the first week of August 2019, five DePaul faculty members from the College of Communication visited Symbiosis International University (SIU), DePaul’s primary academic partner in Pune, India. As part of the fourth faculty cohort from DePaul to visit SIU, Interim Dean Lexa Murphy, Professor Bruno Teboul, Associate Professors Leah Bryant and Bree McEwan, Instructor Adriane Stoner, along with Associate Director for Regional Initiatives, Zafar Iqbal interacted with faculty and students at SIU’s communication school, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communications (SIMC). The participants taught classes, brainstormed with SIMC faculty on research collaborations, and initiated possible Global Learning Experience (GLE ) projects. Topics covered in the classroom included organizational communication dysfunctions, family communication styles, and the role of digital technologies in mediating communication.
Over the past 8 years, SIU and DePaul have shared a very productive partnership that has resulted in over 10 GLE engagements, most involving faculty mobility with DePaul and SIU faculty traveling to Pune and Chicago, respectively, to teach for a week while engaging each others’ students in shared assignments. The purpose of the visit in August was to connect College of Communication faculty with SIMC faculty in order to facilitate further GLEs and other research initiatives. Speaking of the visit, Associate Professor Bree McEwan said, “Visiting with our colleagues at Symbiosis allowed me to gain new perspectives on how people in a very different part of the world engage with social technologies. I am already seeing how this perspective informs my teaching. In discussions of digital divides and mobile leapfrogging with my first-year students I was able to point out more similarities between our cultures and discuss opportunities that India has in building out their technological infrastructure. These insights I was able to share with my DePaul students are a direct result of conversations with the faculty and students at SIU. As we move forward with this relationship, I hope that we will be able to facilitate opportunities for SIU and DePaul students to have direct experiences with each other so they will be able to share with each other and gain a greater perspective on the communication choices and processes they experience in their differing cultures.”
As a follow-up to the visit, Dean Ruchi Jaggi and two of her colleagues from SIMC are expected to visit DePaul in May, 2020 to further the GLE and research collaborations.