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Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 10:15am

When Dr. Rose Rudnitski, Dean and Professor of Education for the School of Education, joined Mercy College in January, she brought with her a wee bit of Ireland. A transatlantic collaboration long in the planning stages between Rudnitski and the Dean of Learning and Teaching at the National College of Ireland (NCI) in Dublin finally bore fruit this summer. NCI hosted the course, Essential Questions for Educators Everywhere, this past June 26-30. Rudnitski attended with Mercy graduate student Samantha Skellington, as well as other international students and faculty from China. “Each day had a theme,” Rudnitski explained, “and faculty from NCI, guest faculty, and I taught in workshop and lecture format according to the theme of the day. It was a non-credit professional development for educators.” There was also time for a little historical sightseeing. On Wednesday the attendees visited Glendalough in County Wicklow. It's famous for the monastic settlement founded there in the 6th century by St. Kevin. Rudnitski was struck by how entrepreneurial the professors at NCI are compared to those at universities in the U.S. She reasoned this is due in part to its location in the heart of Dublin's International Financial Services Center. “Technology was also integrated quite well in their Learning and Teaching division,” Rudnitski said. “One of the guest speakers, Sugata Mitra, spoke to the group and answered questions via Skype. If you've never heard of him, watch his TED talk. He has very important insights into how children learn.” Next step? Reciprocity. The Mercy School of Education is planning a similar experience here for June 2018 and is busy laying the groundwork for students and teachers from Ireland to come to Westchester. With that kind of exposure, Rudnitski thinks her idea may catch fire throughout the rest of the college. “I am hoping that holding the course at Mercy next year will spark some interest in other schools at the college to develop relationships with NCI. Dr. Sheila Gersh and I are working on some new ideas as well."