SRU, Sri Lanka delegation reach accords; plan next exchange


President Norton and Sri Lanka delegate

JUNE 23, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Two days of talks and tours resulted in a "robust understanding heading toward a long-term, mutually beneficial formal agreement" said Philip Way, Slippery Rock University provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, in describing recent on-campus discussions between SRU and a delegation from the National School of Business Management in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The NSBM delegation visited campus in early June as a follow up to an earlier visit by SRU faculty and administrators to their university to discuss opportunities and gauge interest in a partnership.

As part of their whirlwind campus tour, officials representing the two institutions signed a letter of understanding that calls for continued talks in areas that are "mutually acceptable between National School of Business Management and Slippery Rock University."

The areas include a number of academic programs, as well as possible visits by faculty, staff and students from both higher education institutions in the teaching, training, studies and discussions as well as collaborative research projects, workshops, conferences and related areas.

"The talks were fruitful and substantial," Way said. "NSMB is particularly interested in partnering with SRU in the area of sciences."

SRU President Cheryl Norton welcomed the NSBM delegation saying, "Our excitement to have you visit is heightened after our visit to your fine institution of higher education last spring in Sri Lanka. We recognize how wonderful an academic partnership could be."

"We are an institution that is a caring community; we are an institution of fine academic quality; and we are an institution that excels in not only helping to nurture and mentor our students, but helps them to become global citizens. And, working with your institution and your academic programs, sharing our knowledge and our care of our students can only benefit the goal of helping your students and our students to be citizens of this world and to make it a better place to live," she said.

norton and weerasinghe


"I am happy to be here with you this morning, and I share the same sentiments as your president. The world we are witnessing today requires cooperating with each other, particularly to make this a better world to benefit our children. As we experience, particularly in the field of education, our work will no doubt help improve our programs back in Sri Lanka. We are looking forward to full exchanges between our academics and our students and in coming years this partnership will grow further and further," said Karunasena Kodithuwakku, chairman of the National School of Business Management.

"I certainly saw this visit as a very important opportunity for both institutions," said Pamela Frigot, director of SRU's Office for Global Engagement. "While it was a follow up to the visit the SRU delegation made recently to South Asia, it is providing the basis for our ongoing efforts to develop strategic international partnerships with a diverse array of institutions around the world."

In addition to Kodithuwakku, the NSBM delegation included E.A. Weerasinghe, chief executive officer; D.M.A. Kulasooriya, director of academic affairs at the national school; and Jayanath Chandrasiri, coordinating secretary to the honorable minister of skills development and vocational training.

The group toured campus, including stops in the Vincent Science Center, Advanced Technology and Science Hall, the Smith Student Center, Boozel Dining Hall and the Aebersold Student Recreation Center. The visitors were updated on SRU's work in robotics, awards won by the exercise science program along with opportunities at the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center.

In addition to talks with Norton, Way and Frigot, the NSBM delegates met with Amir Mohammadi, vice president for finance and administrative and advancement services; Brad Wilson, interim associate provost for transformational experiences; Susan Hannam, dean of the College of Health, Environment and Science; Athula Herat, associate professor of physics and pre-engineering and SRU faculty and staff representing the biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics departments.

"This visit provided an excellent opportunity for our guests to better understand our academic programs and the importance of both student and faculty exchanges in helping everyone involved better understand our individual cultures and the world in general," Way said.

NSBM offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs in management, computing and engineering. It is the first institute in Sri Lanka with a green commitment.

"The education system at NSBM is therefore designed with the intention of ensuring that all our undergraduates are fully prepared to face any challenges the world has to offer," university leadership said. ''We pride ourselves on the innovative and entrepreneurship qualities that NSBM imparts to its undergraduates through its excellence in teaching and research. Along with our ethnically and culturally diverse workforce we also inculcate international expertise in the fields of management, computing and engineering in partnership with leading universities in the world."

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