Colette Mazzucelli uses technology-mediated learning to champion teaching
Professor Colette Mazzucelli (International Relations [Conflict Resolution] Europe) has acquired 25 plus years experience in technology-mediated learning, which allows her to teach students in real-time on six continents. A member of the graduate faculty at NYU New York since 2004, she also leads the undergraduate Europe Seminar in Vienna and Budapest for LIU Global and mentors high school-age students who conduct research about European Integration in Comparative Perspective for Pioneer Academics. As Senior Vice President (Academia) of the Global Listening Centre, Colette is part of a worldwide leadership team of educators and researchers whose service to humanity is expressed through cultivating the art of listening to nurture peace in our world. She is Lead Editor with James Felton Keith of the Anthem Press Ethics of Personal Data Collection Series and the recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for 20 plus years of excellence demonstrating service to society in one’s chosen profession.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a citizen of the world, a traveller who appreciates learning from diversity, in people and cultures, as much as coming home to my family, friends, and feline, Ginevra “Cuddles” Pario.
You are a Professor of International Relations. How did you pick your career path?
My career path chose me: those mentors who provided guidance and inspiration from a young age were all educators. The voice inside placed me on the service path to teaching and learning in classrooms around the world until one day the world became my classroom of choice. Now, through learning that is mediated by video conference technology, students in my classrooms, aged 16 to 66, come joyfully together in multiple, plural communities engaging in dialogue on six continents in real-time each week.
The voice inside placed me on the service path to teaching and learning in classrooms around the world until one day the world became my classroom of choice.
You are “fearless” in your current position. Help us walk in your shoes and understand where you get the strength from.
Strength comes from the core, deep inside, animated by curiosity to know what makes people tick in their home environments and by awareness of the unity in diversity – the knowledge that our humanity is shared, knowing no borders or bounds.
Can you think of one moment where you broke the mould and set course on a path less trodden?
In accepting a two-year Visiting Lecturer position (1995-97), a dual appointment at the Budapest University of Economic Sciences (BKE) and the Budapest Institute for Graduate International and Diplomatic Studies (BIGIS) in Hungary, which was administered by colleagues at Yale University, the mould of a traditional, one-country academic career was broken right at the start of my journey. That experience, a type of Peace Corps for Professors in Central and Eastern Europe, led me practically to develop skills teaching with technology in “classrooms without borders,” thereby making tenure at one university unlikely and the experience of teaching across continents for multiple institutions a daily reality. The Budapest experience subsequently inspired me to create the Transatlantic Internet/Multimedia Seminar Southeastern Europe (2000-03), the first technology-mediated, blended Seminar in the history of Sciences Po reaching students from Paris to Beijing to Munich to San Jose, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation in Stuttgart, Germany.
The TIMSSE website is still online, including writings from our early collective experiences, which, in that generation at the start of the new millennium, were novel. It was a brave new world of experimentation, trying different audio, chat, and video learning tools, which, in the present era, is par for the course.
What excites you when you wake up every morning?
The sun that shines as well as the rain that trickles on my large front window with a view onto nature’s beauty and a head hug from feline friend “Cuddles”!
Share some examples where you have made a difference in your country and community.
Teaching and learning across continents is like a team sport – making a difference in a learning community brings the experiences of students in diverse countries together in fun ways – it is like weaving a tapestry – the myriad colours in the many threads make the whole more exquisite and more intricate.
The work-life balance is not simple to achieve – starting the day with a short meditation, relaxing in a quiet space, and making time to do enjoyable things, cooking, arranging flowers, watching films, is very important.
What are some of the challenges you face? How do you overcome them?
Communication across cultures – discovering a common language that allows many different student voices to emerge – is the challenge of a lifetime. This challenge makes nurturing empathy through storytelling key – each student becomes a narrator speaking in the first-person to share voyages of discovery that make community experiences more vivid and memorable.
How do you manage self care? Do you believe in work-life balance or integration? What are some of the strategies you adopt?
Self care is not a given in a 24 by 7 learning environment. The work-life balance is not simple to achieve – starting the day with a short meditation, relaxing in a quiet space, and making time to do enjoyable things, cooking, arranging flowers, watching films, is very important. Time alone is critical to recharge the battery and assess present goals.
Do you consider yourself a “Global Girl”? Why?
Yes, most innately, because living in the day-to-day informed by experiences in and of the world is as natural as breathing – no other life is imaginable.
What is the advice you would give your 16-year-old self?
Give time to time to create my authentic self- life is a process of creating, rather than finding, a true self. Life as a work of art is the process of becoming rather than being.
What are three values you think are most important for a global leader?
Honesty, Perseverance, and, above all, Service to Humanity
What’s next for Colette?
A trip to India during summer 2020 as my service to humanity is realized equally through teaching across continents as well as cooperation with colleagues in the Global Listening Centre (GLC) headquartered in Mumbai, London, Miami, and locations worldwide. We believe that listening may guide us as seekers of wisdom on the path to nurturing peace in our troubled world.