FAS lecturer delivers guest lecture for USA students via Zoom
Assoc Prof Dr Cheah Phaik Kin from the Department of Public Relations of UTAR Faculty of Arts and Social Science delivered a guest lecture, titled “Media in Malaysia” to a group of 13 Global Communication students of Texas Christian University (TCU), Fort Worth, Texas, United States of America (USA) on 3 April 2020 via Zoom.
The lecture was hosted by Assoc Prof Dr Amiso M. George of the Department of Strategic Communication, Bob Schieffer College of Communication, TCU. Dr Amiso is also the external examiner for UTAR’s Bachelor of Communication (Hons) Public Relations programme since 2017.
Three of the students who attended the lecture will be graduating with their Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication in August, while 10 are at different stages of the Master of Strategic Communication programme at TCU.
Dr Cheah explained, “My lecture was supposed to be held on 18 March 2020 as I was scheduled to attend a conference as well as a lecture at TCU, USA. However, the trip had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 situation in Malaysia and USA that was escalating.”
She added, “Dr Amiso had announced to her students and colleagues about my visit. Hence, we were all looking forward to meeting up during the trip. I did not want to disappoint them, so I thought of the idea to do an online class instead.”
During the lecture, Dr Cheah introduced Malaysia’s history and constitutions, and also its cultural and media landscape to TCU students.
Dr Amiso enthused, “While I would have liked to see Dr Cheah in person and show her some TCU and Texas hospitality, I am grateful that she was still able to guest lecture to my students via Zoom. The students learned directly from a Malaysian media expert and they are richer from that experience.”
One of the students, Savannah Horton said, “Dr Cheah brought a global perspective to our class that helped reinforce why it was important to learn about other cultures and the way societies use communication, particularly during this difficult time where communication is vital.”
Another student, Andrew Berry, who is also a Master of Strategic Communication student said, “It was a pleasure to hear Dr Cheah talk about Malaysia's communication and media culture. As a Public Relations professor, she brought a specialised lens and perspective to our conversation on global communication. Although we had many differences, she still taught us about press releases and other common practices that were truly transboundary.”
Kay Barkin added, “While there are many challenges to attend graduate school during COVID-19, one of the benefits is the opportunity to hear from knowledgeable people who can take us to places, beyond our isolation. Dr Cheah’s presentation about media and communication in Malaysia was enlightening.”
Another Master of Strategic Communication student, Thao Pham said, “It was very interesting to learn about Malaysian history and culture and how they impact the country's media system. I thought I was somewhat aware of the country's diversity as I visited Malaysia a few years ago, but I did not expect it to have such a huge influence. So my takeaway from Dr Cheah's very informative presentation is that, as public relations and communication practitioners, who may serve clients overseas, we need to investigate the cultural and political context of the region where we are going to send out our message to avoid not only cultural backlash but also to protect ourselves from serious legal offences. And it was fun to end the class by learning how to sing a traditional Malaysian song. It brightened up my day.”
Last but not least, a graduating Strategic Communication student Savanna Hubbard said, “Dr Cheah’s presentation provided a well-rounded view of the modern Malaysian culture and media, informed by its history and made vibrant by personal anecdotes.”