Will the j-school make its deadlines?

I have to tip my hat to Baadur Koplatadze, dean of CSJMM and his faculty and staff members. They all seem very calm,whereas I’d be a nervous wreck. Of course, they know the capabilities of Georgians when they kick into high gear, while I’m only beginning to learn.

For example, GIPA’s building is undergoing renovation. Walls are being plastered and painted; tile is being added to concrete floors and steps; furniture is being cleaned, and then new computers will be installed. This photo shows the hallway on Friday, Sept 9; classes begin Monday, Sept 19. Will everything be ready? Yes! How? Due to the hardworking crew shown in this photo.

Other tight deadlines must be met. For example, the process for admitting students into the school’s two master’s degree programs occurs September 14-16. During those three days five of us will interview each applicant for 15 minutes, and based largely on these interviews, we will select the Class of 2011-2013. What will we be looking for? “Our [primary] goal will be to determine which applicants seem best suited to become journalists, which ones demonstrate commitment and enthusiasm for the profession and which seem most likely to complete the program successfully.” Then everyone has a nice weekend and classes begin on Monday! So if you think your school gets off to a fast start, just remember that CSJMM goes from 0 to 150kph in no time!

The school will also need to scramble to hire three new faculty members. As some people may know, Maia Mikashavidze, Nino Danelia, and Anna  Keshelashvili—three of the core CSJMM faculty members—are currently studying in the doctoral program at USC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Since CSJMM relied heavily upon a core of five full-time faculty members, the loss of three is devastating. Fortunately, a grant from USAID, administered by an international non-governmental organization called IREX, will pay three faculty members’ salaries for three years. In addition, I will teach photojournalism and co-teach media ethics. But, again, deadlines loom. Classes begin in 10 days and the faculty positions have not yet been advertised.

In truth, I’m over-dramatizing the situation. Doing things “just in time” is as common in Georgia as it is at Wal-Mart or any number of auto manufacturing companies. It’s (gulp) scary, but it all works out.

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About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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