Students and faculty from the University of Gdańsk (UG) in Gdańsk, Poland are visiting Houston this summer for a two-part program in which faculty members will learn best practices in modern pedagogy from UHD professors and students will participate in internships at the Houston Food Bank.
Led by Tomasz Zarzycki, an associate professor of geography and economics, the participants are sponsored by the Human Capital Program, a research and educational grant program administered by the European Union. The collaborative project, “The University of Tomorrow,” focuses on the internationalization of the educational process at the University of Gdansk with cooperation from the University of Houston-Downtown. UHD faculty will guide UG instructors in modern teaching techniques with an emphasis on developing online curricula in diverse areas ranging from oceanography to economics.
Over a dozen UHD faculty participated in this effort, coordinated by professors Brad Hoge, Jeff Jackson, David Ryden, Gary Stading and Justo Manrique. Participating UHD faculty provided UG faculty with feedback on the development of syllabi for new online courses that are currently in the development process.
Ten UG students from all disciplines will work in the Houston Food Bank’s varied departments, including facilities management, communications and information technology.
“We don’t have food banks in Poland, so it has been fascinating to understand that process,” said one participant.
Although the students will not likely find work in a food bank when they return to Poland, they say the experience has taught them skills that will be helpful in any workplace.
“Although the Houston Food Bank is a nonprofit organization, it runs similarly to any major business,” said Zarzycki. “The practices the students learn here will be applicable anywhere.”