• Law, Policy -- and IT?

    Tracy Mitrano explores the intersection where higher education, the Internet and the world meet (and sometimes collide).


Return to Italy

Learning from the experience abroad.

June 11, 2015

I returned to Italy yesterday. This week I will visit with my friend, Elisabetta Morani, the librarian for John Cabot University in Rome, where I will teach in July. This weekend I go back to my father’s family homeland, Gaeta, in Lazio, on the coast just south of Rome. I have rented an apartment for two weeks there and will begin writing in earnest the book I mentioned previously in a post, tentatively entitled “Culture, Law and Politics of the Internet in Higher Education.”  

Dear Reader: please offer in comments below your recommendations for a subtitle?

In the meantime, what have I learned about American (U.S.) education abroad? (John Cabot University is accredited by Middle States, for example.) 

First, because the euro is low to the dollar, study abroad in Europe is ever more attractive for students coming from the United States. Enrollments have soared! And for faculty, John Cabot flourishes. Not only do students from the U.S., Eastern Europe and Northern Africa enjoy the Eternal City and many excellent courses in Roman/Italian language, culture and history but they have genuinely interesting and engaging faculty from which to choose among a wide range of subjects maybe not always available in their home institutions. 

Isabella Clough Marinaro, for example, edited a journal article on the Roma people of Italy. And more recently an edited volume on Global Rome.

Ibrahim al-Marashi wrote his doctoral his thesis on Kuwait, famously had an article he authored plagiarized by a speechwriter for Colin Powell when he was at the U.N., and teaches about the Near Middle East for its summer session. 

International, inter-institutional course development looms on the horizon. 

AMICAL, a group of IT, faculty and library staff at the American Colleges abroad will host a workshop for which a call for papers will go out to its faculty. The idea is to get faculty from these institutions to find colleagues. Through AMICAL, faculty would collaborate on the development of inter-institutional courses, supported by both librarians and technology.

Nothing beats face time … the real, not the Apple, kind. Last night Elisabetta, a friend and I went out to dinner, as usual, around 9. Coincidentally, a friend of the friend was there, and through her we met two ex-pat artists, one British, one U.S., who were hosting a Chinese mother-daughter pair from whom we learned so much about economic and social development of China in the last generation. From the ex-pat U.S. artist we also made a connection between our mutual friend, Susan Perry, (formerly of Mount Holyoke and the Mellon Foundation) and the former president of the Rhode Island School of Design, and talked about issues as wide-ranging as the Marine Corp War Memorial in Arlington, the New York art scene, and female higher education leadership in the era of civil rights and anti-Vietman war protest. All over dinner on a little street in Rome ...

When I have experiences such as this one, I am reminded that education is that which utilize all the available technologies, including transportation as well as communication and information, for us to continue on the human quest to learn about other people, a larger world, and inevitably ourselves. So, Dear Reader, chin-chin, and ciao for now!



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