Glenda Balas Named Fulbright Scholar

Glenda BalasGlenda Balas, mass communication department chair at Sam Houston State University, will be traveling to Novia Scotia, Canada, as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Grant.

Final selections are made by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. She was chosen on the basis of academic or professional achievement and leadership potential in her field.

Balas said, “I appreciate the efforts on the part of Dean de Castro and the university to allow me to come to Sam Houston State University and start my work as the department chair and be able to pursue this opportunity as well.” While in Canada, Chris White will be the interim chair, and according to Balas, “he knows as much about this program as anybody, and he is a wonderful leader.”

Balas will be on leave from February 2009 to May 2009 to serve as the research chair for globalization at Dalhousie University in the spring. It is a project that has been on her list for a long time, she said.

The project is a cultural study of mass media and social identity, framed by the Canadian standard for public broadcasting. Balas said, “I hope to not only compare and contrast the U.S. and Canadian public media histories, but also explore how the Canadian approach to public service broadcasting can usefully inform international mass communication policy and practice in the current environment of media globalization,” Balas said.

Because Balas has a 17-year history in public television and her research focus is in critical media studies, she is interested in the ways that other countries produce public television programming and how their audiences perceive it.

While in Canada, Balas will conduct face-to-face interviews with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation personnel, interviews and focus group sessions with residents of Nova Scotia, content analyses of CBC programming, and archival research.

Balas said she wants to use her research findings to compare and contrast the U.S. and Canadian public media histories, which focus mainly on cultural values, audience reception, and junctures in policy development.

She would also like to explore how the Canadian approach to public service broadcasting can inform media policy and practice in the current environment of wide-spread migration, visual standardization of cultural products, and international de-regulation and privatization of the mass media.

Balas anticipates including several output products based on her research findings. These products consist of a conference presentation and journal article, which focus on similarities and differences of the U.S. and Canadian public media histories; a radio documentary based on public responses to public media in Nova Scotia; and a position paper regarding innovation in service to diverse audiences.

The project is viewed as having significance because it works to expand the public’s knowledge of public broadcasting and offers insight about Canadian and U.S. public media systems. The project also explores the practicality of a media model founded on commitments to broad representation and cultural diversity.

Balas found out in April of 2008 that she was awarded the grant, which was around the same time she found out she got the job at Sam Houston State University. She was willing to relinquish the Fulbright grant, however, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean John de Castro informed her she would be able to do both.

When Balas returns, she will take the month of May to compile her research findings in order to develop an analysis. She will return to her duties to serve as the mass communication department chair effective June 1, 2009.

Balas would like to do a teaching Fulbright in the future.

The Fulbright Scholar Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State. Additional funding comes from participating governments and host institutions in the United States and abroad.

Fulbright grants are made to United States citizens and nationals of other countries for a variety of educational activities, primarily university lecturing, advanced research, graduate study and teaching in elementary and secondary schools, according to the Web Site.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Amanda Beakley
November 24, 2008
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