Earlier this month, President Stephen Jordan led a team of five Metro State employees to Albania to meet with their counterparts at the College’s sister-university, the University of Shkodra.
Executive Director of the Office of International Studies Ali Thobhani, one of the travelers, says the Oct. 8-14 site visit focused on Metro State’s strategic commitment to collaboration with the Albanian university in three key areas: teacher education, educational technology, and hospitality, tourism and events.
Thobhani says the partnership is likely to begin with exchanges in teacher education. “It’s possible that Albanian faculty may come to Metro State in the spring for a couple of weeks to observe our teacher education program,” he says.
Jordan says the trip aligned with a key stated goal within the mission of Metro State: to prepare students for successful careers and lifelong learning in a global society.
“Industry leaders and government officials who hire our graduates are increasingly saying that American higher education must do more to ensure that its students understand other cultures and nations, to be part of the workforce of the future,” Jordan says. “I firmly believe that our faculty benefit from international exposure—like this exchange with Albania—which informs the viewpoint they bring to their classes. This in turn expands the cultural perspective of our students.”
Other faculty and staff included on the trip were:
- Cynthia Lindquist, chair, Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Reading, and Educational Technology Department
- Ben Zastrocky, director, Educational Technology Center
- Peggy Fraser, associate professor of elementary education
- Helle Sorensen, associate professor of hospitality, tourism and events
Thobhani says that University of Shkodra administrators and faculty expressed interest in collaborating on educational technology, perhaps receiving training from Metro State staff on the use of instructional technology, and accessing Metro State online library materials. They also expressed interest in having Metro State faculty participate in their graduate hospitality program.
Delegates from the two institutions also explored the possibility of study-abroad courses, faculty exchanges and writing and research. In addition, Fraser and Lindquist gave a presentation to the International School in Tirana.
Thobhani says the Metro State team will now meet to discuss the ideas that arose from the trip, to prioritize the initiatives and select one or two on which to focus for this year.
In May, a five-member delegation from the University of Shkodra traveled to Colorado to sign a sister-university agreement with Metro State. The agreement came about two years after Fraser traveled to Albania to speak to their students.
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