Professor John McArdle of the Bertolon School of Business recently traveled to Kosovo with a grant from the Fulbright Scholar Program to help the University Isa Boletini Mitrovica strengthen its economics program.
As a Fulbright Specialist, McArdle, who teaches accounting and tax, visited Mitrovica for 25 days in October 2022 to review the university’s existing undergraduate program in economics and help develop an accreditation proposal for a master’s program. He met with faculty, students, administrators, representatives from the Kosovo Accreditation Agency, municipal government officials, business owners, and alumni to conduct a needs assessment and analyze the opportunities for educational and economic development.
“Kosovo has an incredibly young population, and there’s a lot of interest in higher education opportunities at the bachelor’s and master’s level,” said McArdle. “They were looking for ways to serve the needs of the student population and the regional community that make sense for their local context, and that required understanding the unique place Mitrovica is.”
Some of McArdle’s recommendations included increasing the number and variety of curricular opportunities to do community-engaged learning, and to develop interdisciplinary graduate programs that combine business and economics training with law, education, food technology, geosciences, and information systems. His recommendations were outlined in a report he compiled and submitted to the university last October.
Under the Fulbright Specialist Program, U.S. faculty and professionals travel to academic institutions abroad to serve as expert consultants in areas such as curriculum and faculty development.
McArdle said he received a warm reception from those he worked with at the university, calling the entire experience transformative.
“It’s a country I’ve been fascinated with for a long time because it’s a young democracy,” McArdle said. “I think it’s really quite special to be able to help a country that is looking to flourish.”
McArdle said Salem State plans to further its relationship with the University Isa Boletini Mitrovica through Salem State’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) initiative.
“We hope to continue our partnership with educational exchanges, joint research projects, and other community-engaged work,” he said. In fact, McArdle will be returning to Kosovo for a month in May to continue that work.
Bertolon School of Business