This university will reach its potential only if it continues its efforts to engage on a global scale. Almost 10 percent of our student body now comes from abroad. We are engaged in programs to increase our efforts to convince our domestic students to study abroad. Since the 1950’s when we helped create an American style land-grant university in Turkey, we have continued to use our expertise to assist countries around the world. Some of our unique efforts include:
- An expanding engagement in India with the recent announcement of a collaboration with Jain Irrigation, a private sector company; a new partnership in water research with the Ministry of Science and Technology; engineering’s relationship with IIT Madras; education and human sciences’ work in early childhood and family studies with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences; and food science’s partnership with the National Institute of Food Technology.
- In China, we recently formulated a joint degree program in food science with Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, offering a course of study formulated by faculty from both institutions. About sixty students entered the program this year. These students will take their first two years in China from Chinese faculty, a third year in China from our faculty, and their last year here at UNL. This adds to a strong and developing relationship with Xi’an Jiaotong University in areas such as mathematics and our partnership with the Confucius Institute which is opening Chinese language and culture to Nebraskans statewide.
- In Brazil, expanding beyond growing relationships in agriculture, education and human sciences is working on innovative collaborations that will put our research enterprise to work on mutually beneficial action in the fields of early childhood development, social inequality, and adolescents at risk.
- With support from the U.S. Congress and other sources, we will be one of four universities partnering with the Harvard Kennedy School to create an American-style Fulbright University in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
- Our National Drought Mitigation Center and other faculty at IANR, with support from USAID, will be working to create a similar drought mitigation center for the Middle East and North Africa.
- Our physics department and the Holland Computing Center are deeply engaged in the Hadron Particle Collider Project at the Cern lab in Switzerland, one of the largest and most complex scientific experiments in history.
These are just a few of the many ways in which our flag is flying across the world.
David Wilson, who has served as senior international officer, has brought a real passion and energy to our international engagement activities. David has announced his intention to return to the faculty. We will initiate a national search for a senior international officer to be an associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.
Tom Farrell, associate to the chancellor for international activities, will serve in the interim. Tom brings an extraordinary resume including a career in the U.S. State Department, as director of the Fulbright program, and at the Institute for International Education. He has been instrumental in many of the international institutional engagements we currently enjoy. With our expanded global presence, it is important that we develop an administrative structure that can leverage and better support, in a strategic way, our international engagements.