Yang Awarded Grant to Establish Penn Media Scholars in China

Earlier today in Beijing, University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann announced that the Annenberg School for Communication’s Guobin Yang, Associate Professor of Communication and Sociology, is among the inaugural grant recipients from the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund.

With this initiative, aimed at expanding Penn’s engagement with China, the University is investing $10 million over five years in projects that create knowledge in partnership with Chinese researchers, deepen the contributions of Penn faculty members to the understanding of China, or develop innovative educational and curricular programs for Penn students and lifelong learners.

Yang’s award will be used to create Penn Media Scholars in China, a three-year program to begin in 2016. Central to the program will be two four-week Summer Institutes that will bring 16 Penn undergraduate students to Beijing and Hangzhou to study Chinese media industries and institutions firsthand.

Beijing, the headquarters of China’s major media institutions and many internet firms, is also home to the newly-established Penn Wharton China Center, where many of the Summer Institute’s activities will take place. The Summer Institute’s second location, Hangzhou, was chosen for its proximity to the Chinese Internet giant Alibaba and its many “Taobao villages” in Zhejiang province.

The course taught during these Summer Institutes, which will take place in 2017 and 2018, will be called “Media and Social Innovation in China” and will build on a course Yang has taught at Penn since 2013. Student learning will take place through site visits, field observations, interviews, guest lectures, hands-on research projects, as well as class seminars. Penn students will interact with peers from Peking University and Zhejiang University, the program’s two Chinese partner institutions. 

A second feature of Penn Media Scholars in China will be three international conferences on media and communication to be held at the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing and in conjunction with the new SAGE Publications journal Communication and the Public, co-edited by Yang and Zhongdang Pan from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The first conference will be in 2016, and the following two will be scheduled to coincide with the Summer Institutes in 2017 and 2018 to allow for the undergraduates’ participation.

Penn Media Scholars in China builds on and expands Annenberg’s collaborative networks with leading schools of journalism and communication in China.  Over the last decade, the Annenberg School has built strong ties to communications graduate students, scholars, practitioners, and programs in China, with visiting scholars crossing the Pacific in both directions. In June, Annenberg held the Global Communication Research in the 21st Century Symposium, a day-long event hosted by Annenberg Dean Michael X. Delli Carpini and Yang, that brought together scholars engaged in global communications research and explored the future of journalism and communication in China, the U.S., and the world.

“The Penn Media Scholars program is a shining example of our commitment to undergraduate education and what this means in an increasingly globalized environment” said Delli Carpini. “It is also a demonstration of what is possible through cross-school collaboration and a supportive central administration.”         

Other newly-announced grants from the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund will support researchers who will study the effect of air pollution on fetal and child development in southern China; China's role in global economic history; stigmas about mental health care in rural China; and more. Click here to read more about all of the grant recipients.