SHU Professor Wins Fulbright Fellowship, Will Teach Computer Science in Kosovo

News Story: May 30, 2007

A member of the Sacred Heart University faculty has received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach in Kosovo, a small European nation in the former Yugoslavia that is still rebuilding from the ethnic conflicts and war of the late 1990s during the rule of Slobodan Milosevic.

Bob McCloud, an Associate Professor of Computer Science & Information Technology, will leave for the American University in Kosovo this August to teach digital animation and web design for the 2007-2008 academic year.

The traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, sponsored by the United States Department of State, accepts only 800 U.S. faculty and professionals to teach abroad each year.

“I feel lucky. I didn’t realize going in how competitive it was…” said McCloud, an honors graduate of Williams College, who did his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Bridgeport, where he earned his doctorate. He has also done postgraduate work online at Harvard University.

“The Fulbrights are, in the academic world, in the faculty world, among the most prestigious awards that one can receive. I think it puts Sacred Heart in elite company that really speaks volumes about the level we have achieved,” said Dr. Claire Paolini, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We’re very proud of him. He’s very dedicated to teaching. It’s very prestigious not only for Bob and the University but for the department. This is a great honor,” said Department Chair Dominick Pinto.

McCloud, the author of a book on digital animation using Flash, has taught at SHU for eight years, and also serves as the Faculty Mentor to the Division I field hockey team.

“Much of what I teach now is fairly theoretical or mathematical, but that’s not at all going to be the focus there. It’s going to be more practical. The country is still rebuilding, and they’re just getting the computer science and information technology department going,” said McCloud, who will also conduct research.

“Mainly the research I’m doing is in two areas, the first of which is using arcade game theory, using those algorithms to teach programming,” he said. “I’m introducing a course on that when I get back [to SHU], so I’ll be doing a lot of that research there,” he said.

McCloud, who is in the second year of a three-year Davis Foundation research grant, will also continue that research on e-Portfolio software while he is abroad.

McCloud’s book on internet research tools will be published this month by Prentice Hall. He will study Albanian to prepare for his experience in Kosovo, a largely Muslim country in which more than 90 percent of the population speaks Albanian. McCloud said he hopes to leave his mark on the American University.

“I want to come back here [to SHU] having left the foundation for a strong computer science department at the American University in Kosovo,” McCloud said. “It’s a young university, and they are building a strong academic presence,” he said.

The Sacred Heart community will also benefit from McCloud’s international experience, Pinto said. “In particular, he oversees a computer science course that’s for all the undergraduates; it’s not a major course, so he reaches a lot of students that the rest of us in the department don’t reach. His experience will broaden everybody’s horizons. Technology is not just technology in the United States, it’s everywhere. He can make the student body aware of what technology is like out there,” Pinto said.