Publish Date: 09-03-2014
Byline: Savannah Nelson
Title: Copy Editor
Headline: Gordana Lazic
Kickhead: Passion, from Serbia to Denver
Word Count: 639
ESE Count: 2
Serendipity is often an under-credited source for many of our choices which may lead us into the various depths of our lives. One professor has used her personal experiences to bring a new dimension of learning to a dynamic, social-issue infused classroom.
CU Denver Communication professor Dr. Gordana Lazic, after starting her journey to Colorado from her native country, Serbia, has created a lengthy academic career on the Auraria campus.
“I had studied in Serbia to be a teacher with my degree in Serbian literature,” Lazic said. “I decided to stay in academia, almost serendipitously, and fell in contact with an advisor here who helped me consider CU Denver for my future.”
Lazic credits the kindness and enthusiasm of department member Dr. Sonja K. Foss for making the decision to come to CU Denver, as the two corresponded internationally over email. Lazic was looking to continue her education beyond a bachelor’s degree, and Foss’s contact information prompted Lazic to seek more information about the university.
Lazic first earned her MA at CU Denver and her PhD at University of Denver since her big move in 2007. She has various roles on campus—among teaching various communications courses, Lazic is her department’s Internships Director, the faculty advisor for the Experiential Learning Center, and the Lambda Pi Eta Faculty Advisor.
Lazic has several fields of research, including a focus on the rhetoric of resistance, particularly in non-democratic political contexts. Some of these contexts include the Middle East and Eastern Europe, where she studies how social movements take place in areas of oppression. Much of Lazic’s research has also included Serbian student protests, as well as genocide. Her work has been widely published; she is featured in the prestigious communications publication Quarterly Journal of Speech, a peer-reviewed academic journal.
“I am very fortunate to have been involved at the university and our communications studies since my arrival in 2007, where I have been in many ways—either as a student, or as a teacher’s assistant, and now a full time faculty member,” Lazic said.
When Lazic is not immersed on the happenings of Auraria and her department, she dedicates her spare time to watching international film, professional tennis, and traveling—most often to her home in Serbia and surrounding European countries.
As the university was her initial draw to Colorado, Lazic claims that the people are what made Denver the right location for her second home.
“Being that I moved from my home country, and that basically my life—my identity and my family—are tied to that part of the world, making this kind of move was difficult,” Lazic said. “Denver has been the place that quickly became my home. This has been because of the people I met, whom I work with, I socialize with, and who I interact with on a daily basis, who have made this place home for me.”
With its urban setting, the campus creates opportunities to build advocacy and opportunity for students on multiple levels—within the city, country, and world.
“I love this campus because it is so diverse,” Lazic said. “It is more diverse than any of the other places I’ve been to in Colorado. I love that I can go into a classroom and at least one-third of the class is a non-traditional student body. Denver isn’t necessarily a very diverse place, but this campus is.”
Her passion toward her research and her scholarly background offers students a wide knowledge base on social issues.
“I love working with students and giving them the rhetorical wealth, the lexicon, the knowledge of language, to improve their lives,” Lazic said. “They can really understand themselves and negotiate the world around them to prepare for their professional lives. I love granting the opportunity to first generation college students or the underprivileged, to give them the chance to have their own “ah ha” moments.”