My service strategy

University faculty members in the United States earn good salaries, hold high status, and have secure jobs with autonomy and flexible schedules. I always try to be grateful for the privilege of constantly learning and then sharing my knowledge with students, peers, and society. One way of expressing my gratitude is through service work. For me, the privilege of teaching in higher education comes with the responsibility of service.

Much of what I do is standard. I review manuscripts for journals such as Visual Communication Quarterly. I serve as a photography contest judge for organizations such as the South Carolina Press Association. I serve on committees at the school and university levels. Some of my service work, though, serves a higher purpose.

For example, I am a faculty associate at Preston Residential College. I eat dinner once a week with Preston students and attend monthly teas and other events throughout the semester. I am a member of a living-learning community and I help build a fun, safe, educational environment for Preston residents.

In addition, I am the international coordinator for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. In that role, I help organize faculty-led courses in other countries; I host visitors from other countries; and I promote study abroad opportunities. In 2010, faculty taught courses in Munich, Central-Eastern Europe, and Italy. Faculty also trained professionals in Kosovo, Singapore, Dubai, and St. Paul de Vence, France. A total of 113 students studied abroad and a professor from China spent the year at the school. For a copy of the 2010 INTERNATIONAL COORDINATOR report, click here.

I use my creative skills to help non-profit organizations. In the past, I created a video to promote the mission work of my local United Methodist Church and I conducted a workshop for HIV/AIDS support group leaders in Botswana.

Whether I am teaching, doing scholarship, or performing service, I try to be useful. I strive to make a difference in the lives of others. I like Service because I have some control over what to do, when to do it, and for whom.

I also write grants. While working for USC, I’ve garnered $1.4 million in grants, including my current grant from the U.S. State Department to improve and ensure sustainability of a journalism school in Tbilisi, Georgia. During a 3-year period, I’ll spend a year working at the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management (CSJMM), while three CSJMM faculty members work on Ph.D.s at USC. In addition, two other CSJMM faculty members will spend 9 months at USC while six other USC faculty members teach in Tbilisi. CSJMM is the only school in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan offering graduate degrees based on the West’s social responsibility model in journalism and media management. The work we do could be life changing for many people.

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