Luther Professor Steven Holland awarded Fulbright grant to teach in Montenegro

May 23, 2012

Steven J. Holland, Luther College associate professor of economics, has been selected to receive a Fulbright award to teach in the southeastern European nation of Montenegro for the 2012-13 academic year.

Holland’s teaching project will allow him to work with a Montenegrin university to help students and faculty better understand the relationships between economic growth and the legal and social institutions that affect it.  He hopes to offer courses in environmental economics and policy, institutional economics and sustainable development, all designed to engage students whose nation is facing rapid economic and legal changes.

The courses will make use of local case studies and problem-based learning to make the courses more interesting and culturally relevant, Holland said. 

As a Fulbright grant recipient, Holland joins the ranks of distinguished participants in the prestigious international program whose alumni include world leaders in government, industry, business, education, journalism, art and other fields. Forty-three Fulbright alumni have been awarded Nobel Prizes since the program began more than 60 years ago.

Through international communication and education, the Fulbright program promotes mutual understanding and long-term cooperative relationships that can enrich the educational, political, economic, social and cultural lives of countries around the world.  

Montenegro is a country about the size of the state of Connecticut with a population of about 657,000.  Numerous economic, political, cultural, social and environmental issues confront the nation, which became independent in 2006 when its people voted to separate from Serbia.

Holland notes that as Montenegro designs its economic and legal rules, it faces considerable challenges.  However, it also has the opportunity to build new institutions that can serve its people and natural environment for generations while providing an example for other relatively “new” countries. 

Holland has taught economics for eight years and practiced law for seven years before beginning his career as a college educator. He is a specialist in the interaction between legal and economic systems and designs and teaches courses that examine public policy issues in an interdisciplinary way.  His interest in the environment motivates him to also teach courses related to environmental economics and policy. 

"As an economist and lawyer with a keen interest in public policy, I am fascinated by Montenegro and excited by the opportunity to be a Fulbright scholar there," Holland said. "I am going to learn a lot from my hosts and hope I will be able to bring a fresh perspective on public policy to Montenegrin students.”

Holland also plans to work with Montenegrin faculty to build connections between economics, law and the environment at their institutions.

A nation-state in a region with a long history of cultural, social, political and military strife, Montenegro most recently emerged as an independent country in 2006 when its people voted to separate from Serbia. Montenegro was a republic within the communist Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1944 until its dissolution in 1992.

Montenegro subsequently federated with Serbia, first as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and later as a decentralized state union named Serbia and Montenegro. In a May 2006 referendum, Montenegro voted to become independent of Serbia and on June 3, 2006, the Montenegrin Parliament formally declared its independence.  Montenegro is slowly transitioning from a state-run to a market-based economy and is a candidate for membership in the European Union.