Maria M. Silva, Spec. Assignment Reporter
Rafal Kuś has come very far, both in his academic career and in his life journey.
Kuś is a visiting professor at Utica College who will be teaching in the Communications and Media Department this semester.
Originally from Kraków, Kuś is a faculty exchange partner from the Jagiellonian University of Poland. He earned his doctorate in American Studies and Polish Diaspora while specializing in American media and mass communication.
The Erasmus+ mobility grant took him to Utica College last spring for a week during which Kuś gave lectures and exchanged knowledge with UC students and faculty members.
“I really felt like I was at home, even though I was half a world away from home,” Kuś said. “I thought it would be great to visit this beautiful town and this great college again.”
At UC, Kuś will not only be teaching communication and media. He will also be conducting academic research about the U.S. audiovisual media system with the cooperation of faculty members such as David Chanatry, who has become his mentor at UC.
Kuś has worked at several universities, including the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, the largest institution of higher learning in Poland with more than 40,000 students.
Despite UC being a more “compact” campus, Kuś thought it was “exactly as advertised.”
“I think the words “Never Stand Still” perfectly capture this college’s spirit,” Kuś said.
At both institutions, Kuś has found many “dedicated academic teachers, creative researchers and brilliant students.”
“The flourishing cooperation between our institutions provides the best proof of their many similarities,” Kuś said.
Although Kuś has visited the U.S. many times and knows its culture, he pointed out that it was surprising for him to see students taking pride in their affiliation with the college by wearing Utica College t-shirts or jerseys.
“It is still quite uncommon to encounter a person in Jagiellonian University gear,” he said.
Kuś has also noticed the “usual suspects” of American culture, such as “extremely large servings in restaurants and the fact that cities here seem to be designed exclusively for cars instead of pedestrians.”
While in the U.S., Kuś has visited many sites he has always felt passionate about, such as the Rockefeller Center in New York City or the home of the first experimental TV station in the United States located in Schenectady.
A big fan of NBC’s “The Office,” Kuś is looking forward to visiting Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the famous show is set.
Being a Communications and Media professor, Kuś said the highlight of his job is being able “to share the things I feel passionate about with other people.”
“I try to focus on topics that have always been interesting to me, and this is reflected in many of the courses I teach at the Jagiellonian, such as American Rhetoric, American Television and American Space Program,” Kuś said.
His career as a professor can be “a tremendously rewarding experience,” to the point that sometimes “when everything ‘clicks,’ you really feel like Robin Williams in the ‘Dead Poets Society’ movie.”
UC also allows students to go to the Jagiellonian University for a semester.
“For those thinking about visiting my hometown, I would like to say, ‘Please, do feel invited! Kraków is a marvellous city, and I’m sure that you’ll be amazed by the experience,” he said.
In the future, Kuś is still unsure what he will be dedicating his efforts to, but he hopes that he will be at Utica College again, teaching media studies in the spring semester of 2024.