June 27, 2012

Onyebadi sharing media expertise in Bangladesh

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Uche Onyebadi, an assistant professor in Southern Illinois University Carbondale's School of Journalism, is spending six weeks in Bangladesh through the Fulbright Specialist Program.

Onyebadi is at BRAC University in the capital city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, through next month, where he will teach and lecture on communications and the media industry.  Onyebadi will also assist in setting up the university's new Department of Media and Journalism. He is participating in the Fulbright Specialist Program as a scholar, and plans to discuss with university officials there different ways to begin cooperation between SIU Carbondale and BRAC University.

"This is a significant honor that recognizes Dr. Onyebadi’s scholarly contributions," Chancellor Rita Cheng said.  "Students and faculty at BRAC University will benefit from his expertise."

Onyebadi joins four other faculty members honored with Fulbright appointments over the past year: Joan Davis, professor of dental hygiene; Mizanur Miah, director of the School of Social Work; Wesley Calvert, assistant math professor; and Yoginder "Paul" Chugh, professor of mining and mineral resources engineering.  Over the past 10 years, 25 SIU Carbondale faculty members earned Fulbright appointments.

Onyebadi is one of more than 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialist Program, which provides short-term academic opportunities "to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post-secondary academic institutions around the world," according to the organization.

Presenting lectures to students, workshops to professional journalists, and helping set up a new department is an "exciting prospect," Onyebadi said.  The university offers some media studies-related courses through its English language department, but Onyebadi's work will center on setting up a full department.

"Curriculum development is what they want and I am happy to help out," Onyebadi said.  The areas that Onyebadi hopes to touch on while at BRAC include sports reporting, health reporting, media ethics, investigative journalism, media and politics, and international media systems.

BRAC University celebrated its 10th anniversary in June 2011.

Onyebadi anticipates that curriculum development will be similar to universities in the United States, including SIU Carbondale.

He expects to gain from the different perspectives of faculty, students and working journalists while in Bangladesh.  Onyebadi was unable to participate in a similar Fulbright program on political communications involving elections in Burma at the U.S. Embassy there in February due to the start of the spring 2011 semester.                                                                               

"Uche Onyebadi has a wonderful life story -- working as a journalist in his native Nigeria, working in sports promotion in Kenya and then earning his Ph.D at the University of Missouri," said William H. Freivogel, director of the School of Journalism.  "From this life experience, he brings us a broad view of the world.  His Fulbright will give him a chance to expand on this cross-fertilization of experiences in America and Africa."

Onyebadi also earned a master's in journalism with an emphasis in media management from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2005.   He earned a master's degree in political science with an emphasis in international relations from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, in 1983, and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Benin, Nigeria, in 1981.

The Fulbright program, now in its 66th year, provides grants for college and university faculty to administrators to lecture and conduct research in countries around the world.  The program was the creation of then freshman U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas as a way to promote "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world."