SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -The Institute of International Education has selected Slippery Rock University as one of five higher education institutions in the U.S. to participate in the 2013-2014 International Academic Partnership Program focusing on Vietnam.
Over the next year, international education professionals at each of these institutions will participate in a series of training activities arranged by IIE to help them develop their strategy and implement and sustain partnerships with counterparts in Vietnam.
"Vietnam is a new market for SRU, and one which presents significant interest and growth from both countries. SRU's participation in IAPP will guide us through a thorough and thoughtful process that will ultimately lead to opportunities for students from both countries as well as collaborative activities with universities and organizations beyond traditional student exchange," said Pamela Frigot, director of SRU's Office of International Services.
Kurt Schimmel, dean of SRU's College of Business, Information and Social Sciences, will coordinate the project, in part because the largest segment of Vietnamese students coming to the U.S. seek undergraduate business degrees.
The strategy-building program includes a study tour to Vietnam to learn more about the Vietnamese higher education system and Vietnamese institutions' priorities for developing academic partnerships.
In November, IIE will lead representatives of the five campuses on a high-level delegation to three cities in Vietnam to meet with potential partner campuses, U.S. Embassy officials, representatives from the Vietnamese Ministry of Higher Education and other education-related organizations.
In addition to SRU, Ball State University, Marquette University, Northern Arizona University and Stetson University are participating. An IIE review panel selected the universities based on successful applications that outlined their strong interest in building ties with institutions in Vietnam and their need for the assistance that IAPP provides.
Each institution has made a commitment to form a campuswide task force to work on prospective partnerships, conduct an institutionwide inventory of activities pertaining to Vietnam and develop a strategic plan focused on partnering with Vietnamese institutions.
Partnership activities may include new study abroad programs, student exchanges, joint research, or faculty linkages. IIE's goal in creating the IAPP program of webinars, workshops and site visits is to empower institutions with a number of resources necessary for building successful partnerships with Vietnamese institutions and other counterparts around the world.
"Higher education linkages are becoming even more critical to bringing countries and people closer together. More and more institutions are realizing that they cannot solve global issues in isolation, and are seeking out partners in other countries to provide complementary tools, teaching methodologies, and cultural perspectives," said Allan Goodman, IIE president and chief executive officer.
IAPP has expanded significantly since its inception through a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of State's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education in 2009.
To date, IAPP has assisted nearly 80 institutions in developing a strategic plan for partnering with countries such as India, China, Brazil, and Myanmar.
Past participants have successfully expanded their international collaborative activities with their respective focus countries, and have developed new study abroad programs, fostered joint faculty research, coordinated joint conferences and established new courses.
IAPP Vietnam is a logical expansion of the program and will maintain the initiative's core strategic planning tenets while providing country-specific guidance through assistance from the IAPP Vietnam Advisory Board and IIE's regional office in Hanoi.
For more information on previous IAPP programs, including participating institutions, visit: http://www.iie.org/iapp.
According to the "Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange," published by IIE with support from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Vietnam is currently the eighth most popular country of origin for international students in the U.S., with 15,572 Vietnamese students enrolled at U.S. higher education institutions in the 2011-12 academic year.
The number of Vietnamese students in the U.S. has continued to grow significantly since the late 1990s and has landed in the top 20 countries of origin since the 2006/07 academic year.
Like many neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, U.S. study abroad to Vietnam presents an imbalance in the exchange of students between the two countries. In the 2010/12 academic year, despite a 28.4 percent increase from the previous year, only 881 Americans studied abroad in Vietnam. However, the number represents a decade high, with fewer than 100 Americans traveling to Vietnam for study abroad at the end of the '90s.
In recent testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Joseph Yun, acting assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, emphasized the value of educational exchange in furthering U.S. - Vietnamese diplomatic goals. He said. "Our forward-looking relationship with Vietnam manifests itself most clearly in our blossoming people-to-people relationships. We believe building these connections through exchange opportunities, cultural enrichment and educational ties is key to establishing a broader partnership with Vietnam's people, 60 percent of whom were born after 1975."
He highlighted the efficacy of the Fulbright Program, which includes Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan and Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States Nguyen Quoc Cuong among its alumni.
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has network of 18 offices worldwide and more than 1,200 member institutions.
IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations and corporations.
The organization also conducts policy research and program evaluations and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.