Fr. Andriy Shestak, the Director of the School of Journalism and Communication of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), spent two months (June – July 2021) as a visiting research scholar at the University of Notre Dame (ND), IN, USA. His scholarship was granted by the Nanovic Institute of European Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs, ND.

Fr. Andriy Shestak, Director of the UCU School of Journalism and Communications

Fr. Andriy Shestak’s research was focused on examining the transition from a totalitarian regime to democracy in the post-Soviet countries, particularly in Ukraine, and the role played by the faithful and the Church in that process. Specifically, he was exploring the ways the local media influenced both the public and individuals’ lives by communicating religiously “affiliated” and Church-related content during the years of transition from communist rule to freedom.

Fr. Shestak also had working meetings with the leadership of the Notre Dame Program in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy.

“The courses of our colleagues from Notre Dame cover a wide range of journalism from ethical principles to multimedia reporters training. Their experience and knowledge of journalism in the USA, their methodology of conveying the best practices to the students, as well as the latest developments in the American local media, are of interest and value to my UCU colleagues and our students,” shares Fr. Shestak. 

Starting from the new academic year 2021/2022, students of the UCU School of Journalism and Communication will have joint online lectures with their American peers taught by ND and UCU faculty. Notre Dame faculty among other issues will concentrate on the analysis of fake news as well as engaging their audience in rethinking and reimagining journalism for the 21st century. 

Importantly, Director of the UCU School of Journalism and Communications Fr. Andriy Shestak also participated in the 2021 International Catholic Leadership Program organized by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Keough School of Global Affairs in collaboration with Mendoza Business College. Such training for leaders of Catholic universities of Central and Eastern Europe is annually held at the University of Notre Dame.

Father Shestak was one of 13 participants in the program. He was also joined by three more representatives of the Ukrainian Catholic University: Fr. Yuriy Shchurko, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Theology, Oksana Mykytyn, Director of Libraries, Olga Mykhailyshyn, Deputy Head of the Emmaus Center, and Ivanna Malytska, Head of the Legal Department.

“Along with my colleagues from UCU and other participants in the Catholic leadership program, I studied topics related to progressive learning elements, management and team structures, strategic planning, and fundraising. The world is not static, so it is necessary to develop in all these directions. I am confident that the collaboration of Catholic universities will establish and promote them as real leaders of 21st century education,” said Fr. Andriy Shestak.