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International network creates opportunities for collaborative research and education|
By Karen L. Trimbath
| The project management certificate and masters degree program are excellent examples of international collaboration between universities, according to Dr. Gary E. Miller, associate vice president for Distance Education and executive director of the Penn State World Campus. He said these programs serve as models for an unrelated initiative called the Worldwide Universities Network, or WUN, a collaboration between six universities in the United Kingdom, two universities in China and five universities in the United States, including Penn State.|
WUN, created in April 2001, is a worldwide alliance of research-led universities of international standing committed to working together to develop research and educational opportunities in areas of global significance. President Graham Spanier played a leading role in its creation.
The project management program is an excellent model that we could use with our colleagues in the network, for instance, in jointly combining resources to work with international corporations, Miller said. Our hope is that we will develop future network distance education initiatives.
WUN members seek to combine research in areas with common research interests. Participating faculty can collaborate in such areas as nanotechnology, geography, geographic information systems and oceanography. Members are interested in opportunities for student and faculty exchanges, collaborative research grants and new distance education programs that incorporate the research developed by two or more participating institutions. Meritorious proposals in any education or research area will be considered.
Several faculty collaborations and student exchanges are under way at Penn State as a result of WUN proposal developments. A WUN teleconference presentation on the synthesis and assembly of metallic nanowires, given by Dr. Thomas Mallouk, Department of Chemistry and the Materials Research Institute, led to one student exchange. Chris Johnson, a graduate student from Bristol University, visited Mallouks research laboratory last fall to research nanowires and nanostructures.
Last fall, Dr. Lee Kump, professor of geosciences, initiated an oceans and climate videoseminar (GEOSC/METEO 588), a direct result of a WUN-sponsored meeting on oceans and climate held in 2001. He also will co-organize a summer 2003 workshop on oceans and climate, which will probably be held at Southhampton University. The workshop will help establish collaborative ties among university researchers in support of WUN exchanges.
The Worldwide Universities Network has great long-term potential, Miller said.