About Dr. Josh Azriel, Ph.D.: Josh Azriel is the Associate Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Communication and Media at Kennesaw State University. As Associate Director, he schedules classes for both the online certificate in Digital and Social Media and the Master’s in Integrated Global Communication. He also teaches the Survey of Global Communication in the master’s degree and Digital Media Law in the online certificate.
Dr. Azriel earned his B.A. in Political Science at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His M.A. in Political Science is from the University of Florida and his PhD in Journalism and Communications is also from the University of Florida. He earned his PhD in Journalism and Communications because he was interested in studying media law, specifically how the First Amendment’s freedom of speech clause applies to the Internet. Dr. Azriel’s current research is on California paparazzi and whether the state laws that attempt to protect the public’s privacy from paparazzi are effective. He is writing a book on this subject that will be published in late 2020.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please provide an overview of Kennesaw State University’s Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communication (MAIGC) program, and how it is structured? What are the key learning outcomes students can expect from this program?
[Dr. Azriel] The Master’s program provides students with three components: learn, observe and do. Students spend the first two semesters (fall and spring) learning about global communication. They then spend the summer at an internship, conducting research, or on study abroad observing a specific aspect of global communication. In their last semester, they put together a professional project in the capstone course, the “do” component.
Our core classes include Survey of Global Communication, International Public Relations, and Communication and Technology. Each of these classes lay foundations for understanding the landscape of global communication and analyzing research in different communication areas. These classes offer more of the theoretical component, the learning phase of the program.
Student can attend classes full or part-time. Full time students can finish in 16 months and part-time students can finish in two to three years. The tailoring of their program occurs in the summer abroad internship, directed study, study tour, or study abroad choices as well as their final projects for the capstone.
We call the study abroad component SEAM: Summer Engagement Abroad Module. Students have four choices: internship with a media company, directed research project, study tour of media companies, or study abroad at a partner institution. I will discuss each of these in detail:
Internship: Students often pick this choice where they spend between two weeks and one month working at a media company. We have direct connections with BBC, Golin Public Relations, Irish Tourist Board, and Nobile Wines Consortium in Tuscany, Italy. At any of these companies, students may learn about mass media, public relations, event planning, social media, etc. Student may also find their own internship experience.
Directed Research Project: Students work with me directly on a research project where they collect data. I supervise their research over the summer and they turn in a summary of collected data.
Study Tour: Students visit a city overseas where they meet media professionals in those locations. For example, in the past we have conducted study tours in Dublin, London, Brussels, and Seoul, South Korea. In each of these cities, students were hosted by public relations, advertising, and news firms.
Study Abroad: Students enroll in courses at a partner institution. In Summer 2019, we are expanding that option to include Cattolica University in Milan, Italy where students will be able to take an English language course to learn about branding. In the past, our students, have studied in Beijing and Amsterdam.
[MastersinCommunications.com] For their final graduation requirement, students in the MAIGC program must complete an Integrated Global Communication Capstone, consisting of either a scholarly research project or a global communication project for a client. Could you elaborate on both capstone options, and what each entails?
[Dr. Azriel] The capstone course is taught by one professor. Most students choose the professional communication project. They often have a mentor from the faculty who guides them throughout the semester. Students are allowed to use any research from their SEAM for their capstone or they can conduct an original project. The students present their projects to both the professor and me in November.
In the capstone students have completed a variety of projects including the viability of an NFL team in London, local government hurricane preparedness in Texas, and a public relations plan for a musician in South Africa. Students create interesting projects that can be presented to both professional and academic audiences.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What role does faculty mentorship play in the MAIGC program? Independent of faculty instruction and support, what career development resources and academic services are available to students, and how can they make the most of these mentorship opportunities and support systems?
[Dr. Azriel] We have found that our course instructors often stay in communication with our students throughout their graduate course work and after they graduate. These faculty often provide mentoring. A few of our faculty are well known for hosting guest speakers in their courses where students can connect with them. Some students have even been hired by these people.
When a student has a research paper accepted into a conference, we try and provide some financial support for travel when we can. The university’s graduate student council can provide some support too. For the SEAM, each student receives a university scholarship of $1,000 to assist with travel.
[MastersinCommunications.com] For students interested in Kennesaw State University’s Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communication, what advice do you have for submitting a competitive application?
[Dr. Azriel] The most important part of any applicant’s personal statement is explaining their interest in learning about global communication and their career goals. The letter of recommendation should state more than that the applicant worked hard in class or as an employee. It should talk about the applicant’s likelihood of success in the program. We are looking for applicants who understand that a master’s degree is NOT another bachelor’s degree. They need to understand they will not memorize facts but instead will be asked to critique, debate, research, and write.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What makes Kennesaw State University’s Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communication program unique, and a particularly strong graduate degree option for students?
[Dr. Azriel] Students tell us that the number one reason they selected this program is the SEAM. Our global partnerships are unique for a master’s degree and it opens up professional doors for our students. The “learn, observe, do” perspective of our program is appealing.
We often hear from our alumni when they are hired. In the past couple of years, I was thrilled to hear former students were working at Allstate, Cox Communications, Microsoft Xbox, eBay Partner Network, and Cobb County government outside Atlanta, GA. One alumnae was featured in a TED Talk. A few have taught freshman and sophomore classes part-time at local colleges.
One of our program’s strengths is our faculty. They all have professional experience in public relations, journalism, or mass media. Each professor has international professional or academic experience in research and/or teaching. We are also often traveling abroad presenting research at conferences.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Students of master’s in communication programs often must balance work, internships, coursework, and rigorous research projects. What advice do you have for students in terms of successfully navigating their graduate school experience, and making the most of the opportunities presented to them?
[Dr. Azriel] Be organized! Manage your time effectively. We tell prospective students that they need to put aside 1-2 days or several evenings per week to focus on this program. What they put into the program is what they will get out. Our successful students listen to our advice and have dedicated time they put aside to study.
Thank you, Dr. Azriel, for your excellent insight into Kennesaw State University’s Master of Arts in Integrated Global Communication program!