Prof Dauber Interviewed on Voice of America



On this edition of the program host Doug Bernard talks with Andrew Borene, Attorney at Steptoe & Johnson and an adviser for the Truman National Security Project Defense Council, and Cori Dauber, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina and author of YouTube Wars, about the various uses of social media in conflict situations and how these tools might be changing the balance of power between governments and insurgencies.

Prof Talenti’s “The Uncanny Valley” Goes to NY


Professor May Interviewed by WorldWideLearn

Communication Breakdown:
Interpersonal Skills in the Digital Age

By Jamar Ramos

At any given point in your day someone is trying to communicate with you. You may be using the Internet for research or fun and see an ad (or two, or three). Maybe you get a number of emails informing you of deals at your favorite department store. Your coworkers and managers will try and communicate ideas and tasks, while your significant other may want to share the triumphs and trials of a rough day at work. Good communication skills are essential as you will always have to interact with people, whether over the phone, through text message or email, on a website, or even through in-person contact.

While the exponential expansion of technology has made the globe smaller and communication over long distances easier, it has also stunted the growth of our personal communication skills. In-person conversations are shorter, more difficult to initiate and are full of misunderstandings. These misunderstandings have the unfortunate opportunity to multiply if there are social and cultural differences between the people communicating with each other.

This is the situation that multinational corporations can face as they operate in many different countries. Executives from China work closely with executives from Russian, who in turn work with executives from Brazil. Even two people who speak the same language and have the same cultural touchstones may have a difficult time communicating. It cannot be any easier when people from different backgrounds have to understand each other.

In order to understand the importance of these skills I spoke to Dr. Steve May, an associate professor of communication studies at the Kenan-Flager Business School at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Donna M. Lubrano, adjunct faculty member for the School of Business Management at Newbury College in Boston.

The need for communication skills

One way to tell that communications skills are important is that many businesses are now asking schools to focus on them in their classrooms.

According to Lubrano, “all businesses are focusing on communications skills for entry-level employees.” The ubiquity of this focus might be because many potential employees “lack the ability to speak to customers, present ideas and have the communication skills to work in the team environment that is part of the new business landscape.”

May is in agreement, saying that “businesses are consistently asking for stronger oral and written communication skills. Businesses also consistently state that they seek graduates who have strong critical thinking skills and the ability to work effectively with others. The demand for these communication skills has been very consistent during the time that I have been an educator.”

So communication skills are important to businesses. Why, then, would they be even more important for international business students?

Benefits of effective communication

Unless you are raised observing different cultural norms in your household, you are probably only familiar with the ones practiced in the United States. Even those norms fluctuate a bit from state to state and region to region. Misunderstandings that occur from breaking cultural norms can have especially deleterious consequences in the business world.

“In relationship to international business, not understanding the communication styles of the countries/cultures you are working with can lose a sale, a deal, a joint venture or other partnership,” Lubrano told me. “This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication.”

Having a normal conversation with someone we know is sometimes very difficult. Having a conversation where the parties are not from the same culture, are speaking in a borrowed language and negotiating over sensitive business deals has the chance to go sour if communication breaks down.

Lubrano provided an example of how this can happen very easily.

“How you hand someone a business card, how you handle the business card, how you store the business card after you have viewed it, show signs of respect. In the US, we take someone’s business card with one hand, look at for a minute then stick it in our purse/pocket. We may even write on the card. This is what we with a lot of humor call a “CNN,” a ‘Cultural no no.’ In many cultures this would be rude – even disrespectful.”

While no one can prevent themselves from ever committing a faux pas, understanding how to communicate properly can limit the chances for potential disrespectful moments, especially during business negotiations. Honing your skills can also help. Understanding that these small moments can present a large danger is important as well.

What is causing the erosion of our communication skills? Part of the problem, as alluded to by Barnwell’s article, may be the vast amount of technological devices we carry around at all times.

Trapped by the screen

A few facts for you to digest, as reported by a Pew Research Center paper titled “Teens, Smartphones & Texting” from March, 2012:

  • 77 percent of teenagers have a cell phone
  • 63 percent of teens say they exchange text messages every day
  • Over a two year period (2009-2011) the median number of text messages teens sent per day rose from 50 to 60
  • Only 35 percent said they socialize face-to-face on a daily basis.

The way we communicate has been changed by our ability to talk and text when nowhere near each other. It has even changed the way we communicate when near each other, as many people will text a friend or loved one who is in the same room in order to keep a conversation or comment secret.

May has noticed the change that has occurred in our ability to communicate, especially among his students.

“Technology has limited students’ ability to communicate effectively in face-to-face contexts with a range of diverse co-workers. With social media, in particular, students are able to expose themselves to a limited cross-section of the population — typically others who are similar and have comparable values, beliefs and attitudes. As a result, it has impaired their ability to communicate with others who are different from them.”

Communicating face-to-face is still a very important component of building a lasting rapport with someone. Lubrano has seen the skills erode in her students as well.

“In terms of verbal communication many students cannot think on their feet. This is critical in international business when the situation may be fluid or shifting rapidly. How do you analyze both verbal and non-verbal cues when things don’t go as planned? How do you have a successful outcome when all the ducks you had in order get out of sync? How do you articulate your company’s value proposition? This is why a show such as ‘Shark Tank’ is successfully. We see the importance of communication both planned and impromptu.”

Technology has also had some benefits for students that can be taken advantage of in the business world. May said that “technology has strengthened students’ abilities to connect and network with others. It has also enabled their ability to access diverse information from a wide range of sources in order to understand and solve problems.”

If we are able to see the erosion that is happening in our communication skills, how can we work to strengthen them? What steps can be taken to ensure we have the level of skills employers want us to have?

Breaking bad habits

As businesses grow and expand their global territories, effective communication will be key to forging new partnerships and keeping existing ones.

Right now, according to May, “is an ideal time to focus on international business. We function within an increasingly global economy. As a result, it is important to understand international business norms and trends, which may vary from country to country, region to region.”

Lubrano also spoke about the need to “[d]evelop a global mindset.” Future business growth may depend on the ability of managers and employees to be culturally sensitive and adaptable when doing business in another country. May said the best way to do this is to sharpen the communication skills of our students.

“The most successful employees — and companies — of the future will be those that are able to adapt to the diverse needs of consumers and citizens in a global economy. Doing so, though, requires an understanding of how to communicate effectively with such diverse audiences.”

Having great communication skills may not guarantee success in business, but it can help. When working in international business, it can be a tremendous help.

Interview with Steve May, associate professor of communication studies at the Kenan-Flager Business School at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, conducted by Jamar Ramos
Interview with Donna M. Lubrano, adjunct faculty member for the School of Business Management at Newbury College, conducted by Jamar Ramos
“My Students Don’t Know How to Have a Conversation,” Paul Barnwell, The Atlantic, April 22, 2014,

5/28-29: Professor Sharma to Speak at Temporal Design Workshop

Temporal Design Program_Page_1Temporal Design Program_Page_2

5/12: Meet the Author with Professor Sarah Sharma


Meet the Author: Sarah Sharma,Monday, May 12, 7 p.m.
Main Library. Join Dr. Sarah Sharma, Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, for a reading from her book, In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics. The world is moving faster. Sharma engages with that assumption in this inquiry into the temporalities of everyday life and argues that both “speed up” and “slow down” often function as a form of biopolitical social control necessary to contemporary global capitalism.

Professor Torin Monahan: CURS 2014-15 Scholar-in-Residence

The Center for Urban & Regional Studies is pleased to announce that Dr. Torin Monahan from the Department of Communication Studies is our Scholar-in-Residence for 2014-15. Dr. Monahan will use this opportunity to develop a research proposal on smart cities, big data, and surveillance.

Dr. Monahan’s proMonahanject will investigate the implications of big data and surveillance in the development of “smart cities” in the U.S., Canada, and U.K. From an urban managerial perspective, the term smart city connotes the systematic generation and capture of data for purposes of rational and sustainable management of cities. Smart cities entail the integration of extensive information management tools to oversee complex urban systems and the myriad flows within them. They typically draw upon distributed sensor networks, video surveillance, and predictive analytics to monitor dynamic relationships between everything from traffic, to sewage, to electricity usage. The intensive management of flows includes the monitoring of people as well, whether directly or indirectly. Thus, this orientation to cities necessitates forms of governance and surveillance, which deserve systematic study and analysis.

Although there is an emphasis on sustainable urban management, smart cities also enable new forms of intelligence-led policing and security provision. Long before 9/11, cities were perceived as sites of instability and vulnerability, in part because of their success at cultivating active civic participation and exchange among diverse populations. Over the past decade, policing and security apparatuses have drawn upon resources made available through government agencies and private-sector partnerships to integrate sensors and video surveillance systems into urban environments. Coupled with computerized crime mapping, these systems produce real-time visualizations and support predictive policing activities.

The questions that this project will explore are (1) How widespread are smart, intelligent or ubiquitous city initiatives? (2) What are their components and characteristics? (3) How are such developments changing the management of places, populations, and commercial activities? and (4) What are the impacts on individual rights (e.g., privacy), collective rights (e.g., to public space), and other social and political concerns, and how are they being addressed?

The CURS Scholar-in-Residence program provides a course buy-out and funds for proposal development expenses so that faculty members in the social and behavioral sciences can develop large, ideally interdisciplinary, research proposals. Find out more about the Scholar-in-Residence program.

5/11 12:30pm: Spring Commencement

Join us on Sunday, May 11th at 12:30pm for Spring Commencement!0001  This year, the ceremony will take place at the Dean Smith Center.

Join our Facebook event page for any updates and a helpful FAQ.

Congratulations Class of 2014!

Summer 2014 Course Offerings

Summer14 SS1

Summer14 SS2

422_Flier_2014-1 636 325 ss 2014 120 flyer__Franz 450 375 poster

cante flier for COMM 140 summer I

May 1st & 8th: Swain Lot Film Festival


Come celebrate UNC student films at the fourth annual Swain Lot Film Festival!Presented by UNC Department of Communication Studies and Ackland Film Forum.Schedule:
1. A Bravish Journey – Bryant Clements & Jim Bulluck- 20:00
2. Passive Aggression – Carter Fourqurean & Erin Sands – 7:00
3. Heartbeats of Fiji – Jon Kasbe – 10:00
4. Hyztahry – Ben Sutherland & Jordan Imbrey – 2:49.
5. Second Time Around – Kerri Kearse & Jenina Rivera – 20:00
6. Checklist – Adam Jefferson & Jenina Rivera – 8:00
7. Take a Deep Breath – Jordan Imbrey – 20:00

  • Starts at 7:00pm · Ends at 9:00pm in EDT
  • Show Map
    Varsity Theatre

    123 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514
Come celebrate UNC student films at the fourth annual Swain Lot Film Festival!Presented by UNC Department of Communication Studies and Ackland Film Forum.Schedule
1. Pledge of Allegiance – Evan Allen – 2:55
2. Premium – Logan Smeallie & Kelly Prudente – 20:00
3. Anawora – Ora DeKornfeld – 6:30
4. Eyebrows – Jocelyn Jia – 6:00
5. Lost Estate – Rachel Wolf – 3:39
6. Aeternus Dane Keil – 12:00
7. Bruce Winter—Inessential Agent – Kenan Bateman – 6:55
8. The King’s Death – Carter Fourqurean – 6:00
9. Horrmance – Aaron Medina – 20:00

4/30: COMM 566 Spring Showcase