Revising the Journalism (and Media Management) MA program

Giorgi Tskhvediani, head of Georgia's Accreditation Department

CSJMM’s faculty members, with the help of Tamuna Gabisonia from IREX, and me, have been working for more than two months on revising the curriculum for the Journalism and Media Management MA program. Early in the process we realized that we should talk with someone from the Ministry of Education, but it took a while to collect our questions and get an appointment. On Feb 13, we met with Giorgi Tskhvediani, the head of the Accreditation Department. I was surprised. This atypical Georgian “bureaucrat” has long hair and looks as if he is in his 20s. More important, Giorgi was extremely well informed; he patiently answered all of our questions; and his answers were clear and concise. Even better, all of his answers made sense to me; they all reflected a consistent philosophy about graduate education. People working in higher education in the United States would feel completely at home in Georgia’s system.

Here are some of the meeting’s highlights.

We must change the name of our MA program; it can become a Journalism MA, Mass Media MA, or Social Science MA. The Ministry of Education considers Journalism to be a social science, and Management is not a social science; management belongs in a business school.

We can have up to three different minors, and one will probably be media management. Giorgi said we can have a certificate in media management and/or a minor, but we cannot have the word “management” on our diploma.

Of the 120 hours required for all Georgian MA programs, 60 ETSC would be devoted to our major (probably journalism); 20 ETSC would be in practical training, which could be an internship or a project; 15 hours in research; and 25 hours in a minor. These numbers: 60–20–15–25 can be somewhat adjusted; for example, we could have more hours in the major and fewer in the minor, but no category can be eliminated.

Giorgi said that “research” does not mean mean student should learn how to collect and analyze data–this is the responsibility of a doctoral program. Instead, students should be able to conduct a literature review of previously published research and to analyze this literature. I asked if students could analyze a set of news media-produced documents, and Giorgi said no because this type of work should be in a major course, not a research course.

All of our courses must be (at least) 6 ETSC, which means that each course should require 150 hours of work. Giorgi suggested that approximately 38 hours would take place during class and 112 hours would be out-of-class independent work.

We should define the dates of our academic year. The year may begin in any month and then run for approximately 45 weeks. We may not offer more than 75 ETSC per academic year.

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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