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University places emphasis on global relationships
February 1, 2011Tweet
Binghamton University’s international relationships are robust and building these partnerships is by no means a new objective, said Krishnaswami (Hari) Srihari, dean of the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science. It is a continuing effort that is essential to offering faculty and students the global exposure that is crucial in our ever-shrinking world.
“Binghamton’s international experience and opportunities are already extensive,” Srihari said. “We offer over 520 study abroad opportunities in more than 50 countries and the student population includes nearly 2,200 international students from more than 90 countries, with many others identifying as first- or second-generation Americans.
“Our focus now is on how we can grow and enhance the breadth and depth of what we already have to give the University a greater footprint around the globe,” he said.
Over the past six months, the University has shown remarkable growth in global exposure, signing four memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with top international universities in Korea and India.
The partnerships cultivated are about more than just academic degrees. They bring enormous opportunity for academic and research collaborations through student and faculty exchanges, as well as valuable experience for those involved.
“We’re offering the chance to experience a different culture first-hand and gain knowledge and skills that are critical to success in our increasingly multicultural world,” Srihari said.
Many Watson School faculty already work with students at partner universities on research. Professors such as Daryl Santos of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering have spent time on teaching exchanges – his in Kaist, Korea. Also, students from Renmin and Hebei Universities in China are on campus as part of 2+2 programs this year. Bilateral exchanges such as these are a win-win for all involved – the type of partnership that Srihari said holds long-term promise.
Srihari signed an MOU on behalf of Binghamton with the Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT) located in Pune, India, on Jan. 19. And prior to winter break, he traveled with Interim President C. Peter Magrath, Interim Vice President of Research Bahgat Sammakia and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Seungbae “SB” Park to four of the top universities in Korea, where they signed three MOUs and reaffirmed a fourth (existing) agreement.
But this is not a push to partner with as many universities as possible, Srihari said. Rather, it’s an effort to align Binghamton University with countries and universities that best match the needs and interests of our faculty, students and programs.
“There are hundreds of universities in India and Korea, but we’re looking at who are the right partners for us,” Srihari said. KAIST University in Korea is touted as the second- leading university in the country—the equivalent of a school such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States. “It’s truly a world-class institution that will give our faculty an unbelievable opportunity to work with top researchers in their fields.”
With nearly 15 pins in the map across South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East, Srihari said, “We’re focusing on 10-15 partnerships that we can make work very well,” including three or four universities in India, two in Jordan, two in China, four in Korea and one in Vietnam.
And that’s just one corner of the globe.