When people think about spring break, ideas of beach vacations and relaxation is top of mind. For many administrators and faculty at universities, it’s a chance to get away and recharge. As University of Denver students go on spring break next week, the Daniels College of Business Dean won’t be close to relaxation. Brent Chrite flies to Afghanistan March 9 to train faculty and staff at Balkh University.
“This is the most difficult place I’ve worked,” Dean Chrite says. Chrite was asked by the U.S. State Department to help universities in Afghanistan establish curriculum and training for business students. He’s done this kind of work for 25 years in developing countries around the world.
For this project, his initial work was with Afghanistan’s flagship school Kabul University. This trip, he’ll focus helping the faculty and staff at Balkh University develop a graduate program in accounting and finance.
Because of safety concerns, Chrite will not travel outside of Kabul, but faculty and staff from Balkh University will travel from Mazari Sharif to the U.S. compound in Kabul. Chrite will work with them for five days in-person and then will spend the next month finalizing the curriculum.
“I’ll help them create learning objectives course content and pedagogy,” Chrite says. “Many of the senior faculty were trained in the former Soviet Union and are essentially Marxists. It can be a challenge to assist them in the development of a market orientation, but this is what the country needs. I believe business schools, in any region, are uniquely positioned to assume a vital role in rebuilding the country’s economy, so this work is important. If I can influence one faculty member, one student, one policy maker, it’s worth it.”