The Serbian Educational Alliance (SEA), which connects Ohio State and the University of Belgrade in an academic partnership focused on research, scholarly exchange and strengthening the existing ties between Ohio and Serbia, will continue its programming through December 2022.
The SEA was formed in January 2020 by the Center for Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies through a $300,000 grant from the Department of State, which has been extended for another year.fThe purpose of the SEA is to increase collaborations and partnerships between Ohio State and the University of Belgrade in close cooperation of and support from the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.
“Hosting virtual events over the last 18 months has been beneficial for our reach, but I am looking forward to the new opportunities that will open up with this extension, particularly travel and finally meeting our new colleagues at University of Belgrade,” said Ashton Kimbler, program assistant in the Center for Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies.
The grant provides funding to send Ohio State faculty to Serbia to give lectures and to host guest lecturers from the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Political Science and Centre for Studies of the United States of America.
In spring 2021, Ohio State virtually hosted a University of Belgrade expert on Orthodox church music, and in return the University of Belgrade virtually hosted three Ohio State political scientists, which attracted over 300 students and faculty. These lectures allowed students and faculty of the two universities to connect and deepen their collaboration.
“We have been able to exchange knowledge through lectures, research and workshops that have spanned from music to political science and law,” Kimbler said. “Our audiences range from undergraduate first-years all the way up through faculty and researchers at both universities and beyond.”
Another key SEA program is the pedagogy workshop, a virtual five-part workshop on course design for higher education led by Laurie Maynell, assistant director and coordinator for international initiatives in the Drake Institute for Teaching and Learning. Maynell said the workshop instructed four political science professors from the University Belgrade over the course of five weeks on backwards course design, articulating course goals and learning outcomes, creating assignment-focused course plans and more.
“It was a fun experience and they worked hard,” Maynell said. “Hopefully we’ll have a chance to meet in person someday.”
A large-scale research survey done post-election in Serbia in the fall of 2020 was conducted by the University of Belgrade in collaboration with Erik Nisbet and Olga Kamenchuk of the Northwestern School of Communication for their Mershon Center Comparative National Elections Project. On May 17, 2021, a two-part webinar titled “Perceptions of Democracy and Foreign Policy in Serbia” discussed the data and analysis of the study.