WMU News

WMU telecommunications expert honored by national organization

Feb. 18, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- A case study on the changing business landscape of the telecommunications industry has garnered a major award for a Western Michigan University professor and will be the focal point of a national conference of telecommunications executives and academicians this month.

Dr. Richard A. Gershon, associate professor of communication, was selected as the Stephen H. Coltrin Professor for the Year 2000 by the International Radio and Television Society Foundation Inc. The honor is given to the author of the case study chosen to be implemented at the organization's Faculty/Industry Seminar, which will take place Feb. 23-27 in New York City.

Gershon's case study is on telecommunications management and business strategy and is based on a book he is currently writing. Seventy-five faculty members from colleges and universities across the country have been selected to participate in the conference, which also features senior-level executives from the telecommunications industry.

Gershon's case study will be the centerpiece of the conference and the focus of a competition among participants. Teams comprised of the participating faculty are given one day to analyze the problems presented by the case study and develop a presentation of their analysis. Gershon has designed the case study so that each team will analyze a different transnational media company and determine its business strategy, financial aspects and forecast for its future.

"The case study is designed as a simulation that can be used by faculty in their own classes. It's based on a series of projects that I have used with my own students," explains Gershon. "In this case, the conference participants will simulate what it is like to work as a research consultant or a market analyst. Each team will have a different company to examine. They will have access to top people at the companies they are assigned and will also work with financial analysts."

Companies participating in the case study include America Online, Viacom, Disney/ABC and GE/NBC. Gershon, who will serve as a judge, is also serving as the program coordinator for the conference.

While the conference is being held in February, Gershon will officially receive the Coltrin award in May at the IRTS Foundation's Award Luncheon, which also will honor other members of the media and telecommunications industry. Among last year's award recipients were Katie Couric, NBC anchor and correspondent; Leslie Moonves, president of CBS Television; and Charles Osgood, anchor of "CBS News Sunday Morning."

Gershon, who is currently on sabbatical, also will travel to Japan in March to give a series of lectures at Nihon University in Tokyo. He will speak on telecommunications management and business strategy at the university's College of Engineering and Technology.

A WMU faculty member since 1989, Gershon is co-founder of the telecommunications program in the Department of Communication. He teaches courses in telecommunications management, law and regulations and communication technology. He holds a master's degree from the University of Vermont and a doctoral degree from Ohio University.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
616 387-8400