College of Communication and Information Spotlights Dr. Kenneth Levine

Through teaching, research, and service, our faculty are making an impact on student lives, on our community, and on the world. Here’s a look at a College of Communication and Information faculty members who impact students by providing service-learning and study abroad opportunities.

 

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Kenneth Levine, in blue sweatshirt on left side of photo, and students visit the shore of the Scheldt River in Antwerpen, Belgium. Between 1880 and 1930, more than 2 million central and eastern Europeans boarded the Red Star Line ships to sail to a new life in the United States. From this dock, the students see where some of their ancestors may have started their journey to America. photo by Sally L. Levine

Kenneth Levine teaches that when communicating with someone from another country, it’s not enough to know their language. You have to know their culture.

Each summer since 2003, Levine, an associate professor of communication studies in the College of Communication and Information, has helped UT students see this first hand with a study-abroad experience in France and Belgium.

“During their month in Europe, my students learn that the local culture has a huge impact on how people understand their world, and on how they communicate,” he said. “This is true even when the students are speaking with a local resident who knows English, or are accompanied by a translator. Culture affects everything.”

This program is often the first time students have been confronted with intercultural communication, according to Levine.

“Most of my students have never been out of the country, so speaking with someone in Paris or Brussels is a real eye-opener for them. When they get back to the US, you see a subtle change in the way they interact with others,” said Levine, who added that applications are now being accepted for the 2014 summer program.

Mike Wirth, dean of the college, said Levine is well known for his excellence in education and intercultural communication research. “He’s won the CCI Teaching Award and the college’s Bud Minkel Internationalization/Intercultural Award, and is well published in academic journals. He’s a leader in his field, and we’re appreciative of his excellent work on behalf of the school, the college, and the university.”

Leadership, and how you make good leaders better, is one of Levine’s major academic research topics.

“I am examining how group members perceive their leaders and how they define excellent leadership,” he said.

Levine himself has bridged academic cultures during his career. He joined the UT faculty after earning a doctorate in communication at Michigan State University, but prior to that, he earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.

“Yes, it’s true, I’m also a lawyer,” he said.

Although he does not practice law in Tennessee, Levine tries to bring legal issues into the classroom. “Recent domestic and international court decisions on communication issues have been interesting and make for great discussion,” he said.

 

Article provided by Tennessee Today.

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