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University of Indonesia Faculty Tour American Media Schools
Photo by Gohar Grigorian

University of Indonesia Faculty Tour American Media Schools

Eight faculty and senior administrators from Indonesia's premier communications program visit UCLA Extension as part of study tour on U.S. journalism and television methods.

Eight faculty and leading administrators from Indonesia's top university communications program visited UCLA May 20 as part of a nationwide set of consultations to help them ramp up their program to meet a burgeoning demand for television and radio broadcasters and journalists. The group, all from the University of Indonesia, was led by Dr. Martani Huseni, Dean of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences. Dr. Huseni holds a doctorate in International Marketing from the University of Paris, Sorbonne.

While at UCLA the group met with two leading staff members at UCLA Extension, Barry Bortnick, Ph.D., Program Director, and Stefanie Stern, Program Manager for Journalism, Public Relations, and Fund Raising. Their visit to UCLA was hosted by the International Institute's International Visitors Bureau.

The University of Indonesia's (UI) Communications Department (within the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences) is Indonesia's most important communications program. UI has one of the nation's finest broadcasting training programs, with its own campus TV station (TVUI). The department is transforming itself from emphasizing communications theory to teaching practical journalism. UI wants to improve its broadcast training program and also build a solid print journalism program by modeling its program on the U.S. and establishing educational linkages. Indonesian media, a State Department press release for the visit states, "is in dire need of professional journalism training to provide an infusion of young journalists. Qualified journalists have been in short supply due to mushrooming of newspapers, TV stations and radio stations since Indonesia became a democracy five years ago. Universities are not producing sufficient numbers of high caliber graduates to fill these ranks."

The UI group was particularly interested in the organization, funding, and distribution for educational television programming. They also were interested in press laws and the application of national security issues to press and media freedoms. At UCLA in particular they asked questions about how communications is taught at the university Extension program and what kind of facilities they have for students.

Extension's journalism program has been in existence for 30 years. UCLA Extension is the largest continuing higher education in the nation. It offers its journalism course both at its own classrooms and in a fully on-line version. The course is aimed both at people aspiring to break into the field and at working journalists who want to hone their skills. It has students from a wide range of ages, with more women students than men. The teachers are mostly professional journalists teaching on the side, and some of the classes take place in newsrooms and broadcasting studios of commercial media. Extension has agreements with news channels who agree to let the students to use their facilities.

UNEX is totally self-supporting and is administratively independent of the university, but works directly with the chair of UCLA's Communications Department and the instructors are approved by the department chair.

The Indonesian visitors said they wanted to establish a similar program, especially using the model of external funding, at the University of Indonesia, and they wanted to collaborate with UCLA in the future. They discussed setting up a pilot program where UCLA teachers will train their Indonesian counterparts. On-line courses was another possibility that they discussed.

The delegation consisted of:

  • Dr. Martani Huseini, Dean, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences.
  • Dr. Victor Menayang, chair of the Department of Communication, who holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Mr. Awang Ruswandi, head of the Communication Diploma Program.
  • Mr. Arie Setiabudi Soesilo, Vice Dean, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences.
  • Mr. Heri Haerudin, lecturer, Communication Department.
  • Mr. Pinckey Triputra, lecturer, Graduate Program in Social Science.
  • Mr. Effendi Gazali, lecturer and research associate, Graduate Program in Social and Political Science.
  • and Mr. Triarko Nurlambang, lecturer, Graduate Program in Communications.

The delegation has also visited Ohio University's College of Communications in Athens, Ohio, the College of Communications at the University of Texas, Austin, and the Annenberg School of Communication and of Journalism at USC.