Ana Marjanovic-Shane, Ph.D., associate professor of education, has received a 2016-17 Fulbright Scholar grant and will spend four months in Serbia, teaching and doing research at the University of Belgrade, where she earned her master’s degree more than 30 years ago.
“I always wanted to teach in the education department at the University of Belgrade,” says Marjanovic-Shane. “I can teach in Serbian, so there is no need to learn a new language and I still have friends and professional connections there, so it was a natural fit.”
Her main focus is in the field of early childhood education and she always has been interested in an approach taken by the former Yugoslavia, where early childhood education is based on creativity, play and an attempt to deinstitutionalize education for young children. Similar in approach to the open school movement in the United States, it was called “open preschool” there, according to Marjanovic-Shane.
Her goal is to continue to research Serbia’s progressive methods of teaching young children that she says are, “unique in the world.
“What makes this unique and important is their attempt to create a socially integrated, cultural way of educating children,” she says. “The University of Belgrade invited me to teach and create a course about the diologic approach to education for the doctoral students. I will also collaborate with the Center for Cultural Heritage, an institution involved in archiving, scanning and digitizing rich data left from an innovative cultural program for pre-school children, so the data are more available to professionals worldwide.”
Marjanovic-Shane concedes that the scope of her project is large for four months, but fortunately, she currently is working on the data collection and has written in the past about Serbia’s preschool project. “For me, it is also a very personal project, since one of the pioneers in conceptualizing that kind of pre-school education: open, culturally integrated and based on play and creativity, was my late mother, Dr. Sanda Marjanovic.”
Marjanovic-Shane will spend four months overseas and return to the United States to write the monograph that will be the culmination of her year’s sabbatical.
Marjanovic-Shane earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania after moving to Philadelphia 32 years ago and began teaching at CHC as an adjunct in the 1990s while working for the city of Philadelphia. She joined CHC full time in 2009. Marjanovic-Shane’s Fulbright award is the second won by a CHC faculty member in as many years.
“The College extends its congratulations to Dr. Marjanovic-Shane upon award of her Fulbright grant,” says Wolfgang Natter, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “I am certain that her work will be of interest to scholars and students of a dialogic approach to education in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.
“That Professor Marjanovic-Shane is the second CHC faculty member in two years to be awarded a Fulbright is one noteworthy indication of the significant accomplishments College faculty bring to the classroom and their students. Her colleagues, students and I look forward to her reports about her time in Belgrade and the work she accomplishes there.”
— Brenda Lange
This story originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Connections.