This semester, Communication Studies welcomes Langston Hughes Visiting Professor Dr. Alcides Velasquez. Dr. Velasquez holds a Ph.D. in Media and Information Studies from Michigan State University and is currently an Assistant Professor at Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia. His research concentrates on how social media affordances and social and cognitive factors influence social media activism.
During his visit, he is teaching COMS 320, Communication on the Internet, as well as a COMS 560 seminar Minority Representation in the Media.
He finds great interest from KU Faculty in engaging in cross and inter disciplinary research, especially in topics related with digital media. He values the efforts the University is making to create appropriate spaces to facilitate these new projects and ideas related with digital media, and he is looking forward to making connections campus-wide with departments and professors already engaged in research projects relating to his research.
This has already yielded results. He is collaborating on a project with two faculty members, Dr. Joseph Erba and Dr. Hyunin Seo, from Journalism and Mass Communication about the portrayal of immigrants by users of online news websites. The goal of this research project is better understand how users of news websites are discussing the issue of immigration, given the importance it has acquired for the primary elections.
For Communication Studies collaborations, he is working with two members of faculty, Dr. Andrew Quenette and Dr. Ashley Muddiman, on a project about social media and political participation. This research project is aimed at examining whether social media acts as a gateway for traditional forms of political participation among Latino youth and will compare Latino youth with non-Latinos. Secondly, he is collecting data with a Communication Studies Ph.D. student, Jennifer Schon that looks at mediated communication patterns between parents and their teenage children. More specifically, the study examines factors that play a role in whether and how parents utilize information communication technologies, such as learning source, learning efficacy, and mobile communication competence.
He finds the pace of life in Lawrence much different than that of Bogota, Colombia—a city of 8 million people. His wife Diana and his two sons Tomas (3 years old) and Benjamin (4 months old) have joined him, and he enjoys the family-oriented atmosphere of the University and the town.
“Lawrence has many places to take small kids to play and have fun. For someone with small children, that is very valuable. Besides, the weather has been great for outdoors activities, which is great for kids. Life in general seems easy in Lawrence.”
When he isn’t teaching or working with other faculty and students, he enjoys watching films and listening to music, and loves playing and watching soccer.