Published October 8, 2019
Stephen Jacobson, UB Distinguished Professor from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, has been all over the world teaching courses and participating in many different research projects. “Everyone wants to go visit a country that is excelling in education, but there is more to learn by going to places that are still evolving,” says Jacobson, who was brought to Albania to discuss education from an American perspective, and is involved with a large international research project in India to reduce gender-based violence with the use of prosocial computer games.
Jacobson traveled to Albania as a Fulbright teaching scholar to give lectures about American public education at Aleksandër Moisiu University (AMU), a public university in Albania. He notes that AMU was the first Albanian university to adopt the American model of higher education, which was a milestone for a country that was once very isolated. “Albania was once a communist government, but they went through a structural change and shifted more towards a democratic system to break out of the rigid thinking that has guided their behavior in the past,” Jacobson says.
In India, Jacobson is involved with a large international research project titled, “None in Three (Ni3).” The goal of this project is to globally change cultural, social and religious attitudes towards gender-based violence. “The research suggests that one in three women around the world have been physically or sexually abused at some point during their lifetime,” Jacobson says. “This project is working to reduce that number to zero.”
Ni3 spans four different countries: India, Jamaica, Uganda and the United Kingdom, and aims to create story-driven computer games that explore the reality of gender-based violence. Research has shown prosocial computer games can enhance children’s moral reasoning, foster empathy and reduce aggression, which is why Ni3 is creating games to help children develop non-adversarial interpersonal skills.
“Having the opportunity to go abroad, help do research and be involved with so many different projects was such a great experience,” says Jacobson. “I am really looking forward to going back.”