AdPR Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru

Associate Professor
Dr. Acosta-Alzuru
Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru is currently an associate professor of public relations in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations at Grady College.
What is your educational background?
B.S. Information and Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology (1982)
M.A. Mass Communication, University of Georgia (1996)
Ph.D. Mass Communication, University of Georgia (1999)

What were you doing before you came to Grady?
Before coming to Grady as a graduate student, I was working in Caracas, Venezuela as a data processing manager. I was also teaching part-time at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello.

What drew you to become a professor at Grady College?
Grady is where I received my M.A. and my Ph.D. Back when I was making my job decision, I knew first hand the quality of the program, and the excellence of the faculty and the students. It is an honor and an immense privilege to have been able to stay as a member of the Grady faculty.
What classes (if any) are you teaching this semester?

I’m teaching the capstone course, Public Relations Campaigns. Our client is UGA’s Office of International Education, a key unit for the achievement of the University’s strategic plan. I’m also teaching Telenovelas, Culture & Society, a course that stems from my research, and is for both Grady and Latin American Studies students.
What kinds of classes have you taught, and what have been your favorite ones to teach?

In addition to the classes I’m now teaching, I teach Graphic Communication, Public Relations Administration, and International Communication. At the graduate level, I teach the qualitative methods seminar: Critical, Cultural and Naturalistic Approaches to Mass Communication Research. I also teach an Honors Seminar in Spanish and a First Year Odyssey Seminar in English about telenovelas.

These classes challenge me in different ways, and I enjoy them all. I never tire of teaching them. Of course, Telenovelas, Culture & Society is always a special treat for me because the content is directly related to my research.
What is your research focus, if applicable? (Any projects you can share with us at this time?)
My research is located under the umbrella of critical cultural studies. I have been studying telenovelas (serial melodramatic love stories that come, originally, from Latin America but are now produced in almost every continent) for almost fifteen years. These melodramas are a great epicenter to examine the links between media, culture and society.

I’m about to go to Miami and Caracas, Venezuela to do fieldwork (interviews and observations) on the sets of several telenovelas.
You're the advisor for Bateman this semester. Tell us more! What are you looking forward to the most?
This is a great responsibility that has me very excited! The 2014 Bateman team is comprised of five outstanding students. What a privilege to be their advisor! I love teaching PR Campaigns because I enjoy guiding and supporting students as they use everything they’ve learned in a real-life situation. However, in my Campaigns class, I decide the client and how time will be distributed among the necessary steps in the public relations process. But in Bateman, I don’t control any of that. So, I’m looking forward to the challenge of working with the team under these conditions. We will all grow together and that is the essence of teaching.
What do you like to do in your spare time?

In addition to spending time with my family, I have two big loves: books and films. So I read and go to the movies whenever I can.
What do you love about UGA/Athens area?

I always say that I’m permanently home away from home because I’m originally from Caracas, but Athens is also home. This city is the place where my husband Guillermo and I raised our family. I love that Athens is the perfect size, that it sounds like R.E.M., tastes like the thick milkshakes at The Grill, and that it is eternally young and beautiful.
What advice would you give to your students?
To travel as much as they can. To get out of their comfort zone so that they can understand and appreciate better who they are and where they come from.
Anything else you'd like to share with us?
I’m a very lucky person. I work in what I love, and I get to do it at Grady.

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