Last week, I had an informative and enlightening interview with Dr. Beryl L. Bellman on his educational background, research interests, scholarly works, pedagogical experiences, and words for graduate students. This report will present Dr. Bellman’s fruitful academic career first as an Africanist and then as an Enterprise Architect. During the past over 43 years in academia, Dr. Bellman was engaged in various teaching, researching, and consulting experiences, and has made important contributions to his fields of interest.
Dr. Bellman received his BA degree in Anthropology and Psychology and his MA degree in Anthropology from University of California at Los Angeles, respectively in 1964 and 1966. In 1971, he received his PhD degree in Social Sciences from the University of California at Irvine.
Dr. Bellman’s research interests cover both Anthropology and Organizational Communication. His early research interests in Anthropology focused on secrecy and secret societies in West Africa, especially in Liberia and among the Kpelle people. His later research in Communications reflected his interests in enterprise architecture and organizational modeling, intercultural factors in rational decision support and strategic interaction, conversational analysis, systems thinking-especially complex systems thinking, emergent organizations, phenomenology, knowledge management, business process renewal and reengineering, electronic commerce and e-government, computer-supported collaborative work and distributed learning, object-oriented modeling for business analyses, software specifications, solutions design and deployment.
Dr. Bellman’s varied research interests led to a prolific career in researching, writing and conference presenting. He has conducted research in the United States, Africa (Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Mali, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Kenya), Canada, South Korea, the People’s Republic of China, Latin America and the Caribbean. His representational publications include The FEAC certified enterprise architect CEA study guide (2011), FEAC knowledge management in the European journal of knowledge management (2001), The language of secrecy (1984), and Village of curers & assassins: On the production of Fala Kpelle cosmological categories (1975). Besides, Dr. Bellman has published over ninety articles. Dr. Bellman usually attends five national and international professional and academic conferences every year.
Dr. Bellman’s active engagement in publications and presentations is inseparable from his consulting experiences for over 25 years. He has been the Academic Director and Co-Founder of The Federal Enterprise Architecture Certification (FEAC) Institute. He and FEAC members provided education leading to certification in the Federal and Department of Defense Architecture Framework and Security Architecture Framework. He was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Design Forum, Inc., which runs World Design Forums for high level business leaders and scholars to explore Architecture Enterprise issues in international contexts. Besides, Dr. Bellman has also consulted for numerous companies and international organizations. His consulting projects covered IT- and business-related work for both internal and external clients of Digital Equipment Corporation, AT&T, NCR , RAND, etc. Dr. Bellman co-founded BESTNET (the Binational English and Spanish Telecommunications Network) linking universities in Mexico with major universities in the United States in 1986. Dr. Bellman also helped develop a pre-Blackboard (WebCT) system on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles.
Dr. Bellman’s consulting and research experiences have greatly influenced his pedagogical approaches. He prefers affordable textbooks that cover the comprehensive history of Communication Studies from various theoretical perspectives, and encourages students to make the most of technology to assist their studies. He often assigns undergraduate students group projects and encourages graduate students to start their individual projects as early as possible, so that the students can take over the class through presentations and peer reviews. He strongly emphasized applying knowledge in and outside the academia. He held that universities should be anti-disciplinary, and play an active role in the gown-town relationships by staying apart from but relevant to society. In accordance to his pedagogical philosophy, Dr. Bellman often involved students in his projects and consulting work. For example, several students wrote theses about enterprise architecture and helped Dr. Bellman organize the World Design Forum in China.
Dr. Bellman encourages graduate students to use technology to enhance their research and advocates for a community of scholars. He held that human beings are all native engineers. The current era stresses the importance of info-literacy. Dr. Bellman encouraged graduate students in Communication Studies to be math-oriented and tech-oriented. He also suggested graduate students to interact with their fellow students and professors in and outside the classroom. He argued that there is no single way of creating and evaluating knowledge. An academically diverse and technologically resourceful university is conducive to students’ creation and application of knowledge.