Dr. Christopher H. Tienken, Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership, Management and Policy Department at the College of Education and Human Services, brought eight K-12 and Higher Education doctoral students to Italy this summer as part of a policy/administrative decision-making course.
(L to R) SHU Doctoral Students: (Top) Danielle Sammarone; Shavon Chambers; Jessica Accurso; Omayra Arocho; Erin Zielenbach (Bottom) Jeffrey P. Levine; Kent A. Thompson; Joshua Wilkin.
The course began at Seton Hall and continued at the Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy where students were provided with opportunities to apply and synthesize decision making theories and processes across cultures, learn more about the European Union and educational structure/policies, and experience various K-20 school systems in Rome.
When speaking on the importance of such a course, Dr. Tienken stated, "Administrators must make decisions and solve problems that arise from the implementation of policies and programs that often lack independent scientific verification of their efficacy. They must have evidence-based understandings of the education policy environment in addition to decision-making concepts and consequences."
Professor Sandra Chistolini, Professor of General and Social Pedagogy, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Italy, commented on how meeting in Rome provided scholars and students from five countries, and three continents, with an opportunity to understand and acknowledge the existence of gaps between the intended model of schooling and what actually occurs in schools: "[Svein Sloberg’s] lecture regarding PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) highlighted this crucial point. For example, the results of international tests such as PISA help describe school performance, but they also illuminate the contradictions and unique nature of various school systems.
The point is to use the results from such tests in the perspective of overall human development and to help build stronger teacher-student relationship, not to make sweeping national policy based on one test score from a decontextualized assessment. With all tests we should ask: Do the tests allow teachers to increase their capability to educate children and do they help children to become better citizens in society worldwide?"
This collaboration between the College of Education and Human Services and the Università degli Studi Roma Tre will continue with professors visiting various U.S. K-20 school systems and Seton Hall University in the spring semester.