In 2010-2012, IF Fellows Mark Notturno and Ieva Notturno conducted training programs in the IF discussion process and student-centered discussion for faculty and scholars from Albania, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Georgia who had come to the United States under the auspices of the United States State Department’s Junior Faculty Development Program (“JFDP”) and the Open Society Institute to learn about new teaching methods that they might use in their classes back home. These 50-credit hour training programs were conducted in Washington, DC in cooperation with Professor Stuart Umpleby’s Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning at The George Washington University, which both hosted the JFDP scholars while they were in the United States and provided meeting space for the training programs.
The training programs took the form of a three month long IF ‘mini-project’ in which the scholars learned the ins and outs of the IF discussion process by actually conducting an IF project. The JFDP scholars chose ‘Teaching Methods’ as their area of concern. Each scholar facilitated three of the project’s thirty-eight discussion sessions and wrote discussion summaries about them. They also served as note-takers for other scholar-facilitators. And each of them met for twelve hours of individual training discussions with the Notturno’s. The group also produced an ‘IF Special Report’ at the end of the training program, complete with seven contrasting policy possibilities pertaining to teaching methods entitled, respectively: ‘Let the Universities Force Change’, ‘Ask the Students’, ‘Raise the Status of Teaching’, ‘Raise Funds for Education’, ‘Experiment With Many Different Methods’, ‘Improve Teaching Evaluations’, and ‘Let the Market Point the Way’. This IF Special Report on Teaching Methods is available in English and in an Albanian translation, Metodat e Mesimdhenies, either of which may be downloaded by clicking on the preceding links. Another JFDP training program also produced an IF Special Report on The Future of Higher Education in Post-Communist States, which may also be downloaded from the preceding link.
Upon completion of the program, several of the JFDP scholars submitted proposals to IF for funding student-centered discussion courses at their home universities, and several of these were approved for funding. To see a recent report on one of the funded classes, click on the following link: JFDP Scholar uses IF process in Tbilisi, Georgia