A few weeks ago our staff talked with Prof. Chris Carr (click here to read the article), Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Business; today he will tell us something about his time in Naples.
1. What is the biggest difference between the United States and Italy in the academic field?
Bearing in mind that the American system has its own flaws and issues, there are some differences: first of all, universities have more funds, which can give the students a wider choice. Secondly, there is more emphasis on concrete problems and experiential learning: if you don't assign the students tasks that force them to apply what they have studied in a tangible way, you will have an evaluation problem. Finally, I think that we have a more interdisciplinary approach: departments and universities seem to collaborate more both on curricula and opportunities for students. Maybe it is like that even here, but if so I just did not have the chance to experience it. On the flip side, I find my Italian students to be especially motivated. For example, a number of graduate students attended my lectures and class sections just lo learn and for personal growth. They were not required to participate. This level of self-motivation made a very positive impression on me.
2. How was your semester at "Parthenope"?
A fantastic experience. The faculty and staff did a great job in all facets, by spending a lot of time with me from both the professional and social point of view. Moreover, I had the chance to work with and teach to very motivated PhD students with an excellent level of English, which brought interesting and stimulating lessons and conversations.
3. What did you mainly focused on: teaching or research?
I would say 65% teaching. I covered three areas: law and economics, presentation design plus some special seminars for the linguists (PhD Program in "Eurolinguaggi e Terminologie Specialistiche") in which I showed how big data and entrepreneurship intersect with their field of study. I dedicated the remaining 35% to exploring the possibilities of writing academic papers with faculty members; at the moment I am working on shadow economies with two statistics professors, and a with the linguistics professor about presentation design in the context of Italian education system.
4. What will you bring with yourself in America of this experience?
Well, right now America is "learning" to live in the moment, and in this regard Naples is far ahead. The second thing may be a cliché but it's true: relationships. I met good people everywhere, smart and with a big heart. Finally, one of the things that pushed me to come here is the fact that I was able to bring my family with me; I have three young daughters and I wanted them to know that there is another way of living life, better in some respects and maybe not under others; the important thing was that they saw both sides, and I tell you that there was a positive change and a growth in them. Not all American families have the opportunity to enjoy such such an experience, and it was pretty cool for us to do that.
5. Did you experience any cultural shock in Naples?
Look, although I live in California, which is much more informal than the rest of the US, it still took me a while to adjust to some lack of structures and to not overly worry about organization. I'd say those were the only things. My perception of Italy before leaving the US turned out to be about right.
6. What will you miss of Italy?
Campania offers so much to see and so many activities; there are many things to do in California too, but not that density! Napoli is a city of 3,000,000 people and it offers so much: I think about Capri, the Teatro San Carlo, but also going out to dinner at 10pm! These things do not exist in my university town. I will miss all this a lot, and, relating to what I said before about being able to live the present, I wonder whether when I return, if I'll be able to implement this aspect or if I will try to (still) have everything organized and planned, so... stay tuned!