Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State professor shares expertise in Albania

January 28, 2015

An Indiana State University professor's six-week stint in Albania will have long-lasting effects for that country as well as students in Terre Haute.

Boris Blyukher, a professor in the built environment department of the College of Technology, was invited as a Fulbright specialist by the University of Tirana.

"It's special, because this is not the traditional Fulbright program," he said.

In 2001, Blyukher participated in a traditional Fulbright to Slovenia and has since been registered as a specialist -- meaning any Fulbright-affiliated country can ask him to visit for a lecture, develop curriculum or offer other types of help within his field. In 2011, Blyukher was invited to lecture in Ukraine for six weeks, and last fall, his expertise was again tapped.

At the University of Tirana, Blyukher taught occupational and environmental safety to graduate students in the departments of chemical engineering, industrial chemistry and food industry.

He also developed curriculum for the university. Blyukher conducted assessments, surveys, performed institutional and programming research and consulted with faculty and administrators to create the new minor.

"They didn't have this program at all, but they want to have it," he said. "It's very important for each of those schools and even more they asked me to help create curriculum for minors. So, if you receive a diploma of any of these specializations, it will be printed on your diploma that you have a minor in occupational and environmental safety."

The program will have long-lasting and far-reaching effects for Albania.

"This is a young democratic country. They are very pro-American. They appreciate American help in many areas -- industry, banking systems, municipal systems -- it is very good cooperation between the United States and Albania," Blyukher said. "Their goal is to be a member of the European Union, and this program in occupational and environmental safety is a requirement as a country, not a university. My lecturing and our long-term cooperation will help them to at least move toward complying with European Union requirements in the area occupational and environmental safety."

Additionally while in Albania, Blyukher had several meetings with U.S. Embassy, where he presented similar information to them, and lectured at Polytechnic University and the University of Vlorë.

"Occupational and environmental safety also has social impact for people and the country," Blyukher said. "This is what they emphasized during my visit there."

As a result of his meetings and lectures, the U.S. Embassy in Albania looking to secure funding to bring Albanian students to U.S.

"(The trip) was very busy, but very interesting," Blyukher said. "Students' eyes are shining. They want to know more and more. They are very (interested) in professional development - to know more about their field and other countries. They were very interested to know about education in the United States on all levels."

At the completion of the University of Tirana course, each student received a certificate in safety for the class from the U.S. Embassy and the university, which was signed by Blyukher.

"(This credentialing) was pretty unusual -- the first time in my Fulbright life," Blyukher said. "The students were very focused, very interested. It was very good for their resume and their country's future."

But it's not just the Albanians who benefitted from Blyukher's lessons. Back in Terre Haute, Blyukher plans to add more of an international flair to his classes.

"The trend for any program is internationalization. Why? Because of the globalization of economies. In my experience, some of my students, they're working overseas, and of course, they are using the international system ... of metrics," Blyukher said. "After such a lecturing (experience), I will make some changes in my courses at ISU to introduce international units."

Blyukher hopes for future cooperation between the universities -- be it in the form of faculty exchanges, study abroad or long-distance education classes.

"I've done this study abroad experience before, and the students go to another country and expand their social experience, their international experience and this is part of general policy of the U.S. to create closer relationships with other countries -- not just in the area of education and science, but people to people," he said.


Photos: -- Indiana State University professor Boris Blyukher poses with students at the University of Tirana. -- Boris Blyukher, Indiana State University professor -- Indiana State University professor Boris Blyukher lectures to students at the University of Tirana. -- Indiana State University professor Boris Blyukher lectures to students at the University of Tirana. -- The skyline of Tirana, Albania is seen. -- The Scanderberg monument in Tirana, Albania is seen.

Contact: Boris Blyukher, professor, built environment department, Indiana State University, 812-237-2284 or

Writer: Libby Roerig, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or