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Oak Leaves

September 29, 2017

Skendaj, Elton

Dr. Elton Skendaj, the first Gladdys Muir Associate Professor of Peace Studies, will teach courses on conflict resolution and peace studies.

Photo courtesy of the Marketing Department 

 

Skendaj Begins Role as First Gladdys Muir Professor of Peace Studies at Manchester 


Avis McGovern 


Dr. Elton Skendaj joined Manchester faculty this fall as the Gladdys E. Muir associate professor of peace studies. Skendaj earned his bachelor’s in political science and international relations from the American University in Bulgaria, and his master’s in peace studies from the University of Notre Dame. He received his PhD in government from Cornell University.

He most recently taught at the University of Miami where he served as a lecturer. Here, he will teach a conflict resolution class with a textbook that can be used for advanced undergraduates or graduate students. He encourages his students to follow a collaborative approach, which he calls “write, pair, and share.” Students write about a topic on their own, share their ideas with a classmate, and then with the entire class. Skendaj explains that this technique enables students to reflect on their ideas and helps them practice public speaking.

Skendaj also incorporates a Socratic method into his classes. He asks questions of his students, so that they can wrestle with the concepts and locate a satisfying answer together. He notes that this technique helps students apply the lessons and implement them into their lives. “I believe if they work together, they can actually achieve it,” he said.

Coming to Indiana from Miami, Skendaj had to adapt to life on a small campus. He considers Manchester to be a more “intimate” setting, and enjoys how the campus is community centered and allows students to be involved in a variety of areas.

Skendaj resides in the newly built office in the second-floor peace studies area of the Academic Center. His office was once part of the Peace Studies Lounge, which was divided into two individual offices this summer.

Skendaj is married to Meg Gardinier, who teaches international and intercultural education at the master’s level at Florida International University. This year her courses are online. They have two sons: Dylan, 10; and Luca, 7. Skendaj enjoys taking them to the Aquatics Center to swim and get a good workout. He also loves to take his family to the beach and lake.

This winter and spring he will teach an introduction to peace studies class.