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UNC School of Government’s Szypszak Teaches Course in Lithuania

June 11, 2019

In May 2019, School of Government faculty member Charles Szypszak conducted a weeklong workshop for junior law faculty and doctoral students at the University of Vilnius law school in Lithuania. During his visit, Szypszak instructed participants from various specialties, including human rights, marriage law, as well as civil and criminal procedure.

In this particular seminar, Szypszak taught an analytical dialogue method in which teachers lead discussions aimed at improving students’ analytical thinking skills. Specifically, Szypszak instructed participants to identify the elements of questions and problems, look for patterns in analogical situations, isolate logical flaws and see beyond their own biases.

Group of scholars from Vilnius University
From left to right: Vilnius University Faculty of Law seminar participants Klaudijus Širvelis, Agnė Oseckytė, Simona Bronušienė, Ieva Marija Ragaišytė, Donatas Murauskas, Agnė Selvestravičiūtė, Karolina Mickutė, Ineta Breskienė, Laurynas Totoraitis and School of Government professor Charles Szypszak.

After studying the method, participants analyzed a famous Lithuanian legal case, Vasiliauskas v. Lithuania. In 2011, the Lithuanian defendant, career KGB officer Vytautas Vasiliauskas, was convicted of genocide for the 1953 killing of two brothers, Lithuanian partisans resisting post-World War II Soviet rule. Yet in 2015, a split European Court of Human Rights overturned the genocide conviction. Through his workshop, Szypszak encouraged the participants to consider the case from various angles.

Although this was his first workshop in Lithuania, Szypszak has previously taught for several years in Central Europe, including at three Polish universities—Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Jagiellonian University in Kraków and the University of Wrocław—twice on Fulbright awards. He has taught methodology seminars as well as courses on individual rights and real property law.

Szypszak has served in the School of Government since 2005. Presently, he is the Albert Coates Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government. In the School’s Master of Public Administration program, Szypszak currently teaches introduction to law; he also teaches Introduction to legal thinking to undergraduates. Szypszak is a previous recipient of the University’s J. Carlysle Sitterson Freshman Teaching Award and the School’s Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Teaching Excellence Award. He often provides counsel to state, national and international institutions, organizations and public officials on real property registration and conveyance laws.

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