Dr. Sally Beisser and Dr. Jennifer Thoma from the Drake University School of Education (SOE) are traveling to Kosovo March 1-8 in continuation of the partnership between Drake University and the Kosovo Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (MEST). Dr. Beisser and Dr. Thoma will conduct professional development workshops in contemporary teaching methods for faculty of instruction at Gjakova University and the University of Prizren. The Title of the series of workshops is “Pedagogical Design and Strategies for Student Engagement”. There will be four separate workshops in the series:

  • Student Engagement
  • Effective Questioning
  • Formative Reflective Assessment
  • Representing to Learn

At each university, the four workshops will be conducted over two days, providing ample time for the participants to collaboratively engage in the practices about which they are learning. These professional development workshops were co-conceived with the Rector of Gjakov Univeristy, Shaban Buza, and the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs, Mimoza Dushi, and at Prizren University with Dr. Sejdi Sejdiu, Assistant Professor and Faculty of Philology. The workshops at Gjakova University will be attended by faculty of instruction and teaching assistants from throughout the university, while at Prizren University the participants will be drawn from the Teaching of English program.

Additionally, Dr. Beisser and Dr. Thoma will visit two primary schools, one each in Gjakova and Prizren, to learn more about schooling in Kosovo. Drake University’s School of Education, along with four other educational institutions in Iowa, will participate as a training site for the MEST “Train the Trainers” program, wherein MEST curriculum specialists will come to Iowa to be trained in curriculum development and then serve as ‘national trainers’ to develop professional development curriculum and training for Kosovo teachers. The school visits by Dr. Beisser and Dr. Thoma will provide better understanding of the schooling context in Kosovo and inform the development of the training program to be conducted by Drake University SOE faculty. 

NEWBORN refers to the new independence of the country of Kosovo on February 17, 2008. The first time the letters were erected, they were bright yellow. People could sign their names to it. Each February 17 it is painted with a new design.

This will be the third visit by Drake SOE faculty since Drake University and MEST signed an MOU in 2017. In June 2017, Jan McMahill, (Dean) and Dr. Matthew Hayden (Associate Professor and Director of SOE International Programs), were part of a delegation organized by the Iowa Sister States (ISS) organization that brought various educational, business, and municipal leaders to Kosovo. In May 2018, Dr. Hayden and Stephanie Ely (Coordinator for Partnerships and Special Programs) joined another delegation organized by ISS. At the conclusion of this second visit Drake secured its role as a site for the Train the Trainers program, initial preparations begun for the professional development workshop series, and sites were identified and prepared for the Teach in Kosovo program (now the Working Worldwide program). Additionally, preparations and plans were made for the January 2019 J-Term Travel Seminar course “Kosovo: Repairing and Rebuilding”, led by SOE Associate Professor Tonia Land and Ms. Ely, during which 19 Drake students learned about Kosovo’s history and current efforts to rebuild after years of conflict.

NOTE: Support for this partnership has been provided by Drake Partnership Proposal awards from Drake International.