This project is funded by the University of Nebraska Foundation through a grant totaling $291,300 to further strengthen and expand UNO’s global engagement activities with International Partners in India (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur; Sir Padmpat Singhania University; Jaypee Institute of Information Technology; Indian Statistical Institute), China (Chinese Academy of Sciences Research Center on Fictitious Economy and Data Sciences; University of Electronic Science and Technology of China), Germany (Technical University of Braunschweig; Technik FH Mainz – University of Applied Sciences) and Norway (University of Agder) in joint research, teaching, service learning and study abroad experiences. [Award Letter].
Overview of Grant
“Today, only a small percentage of our students study abroad. Our goal is to give every undergraduate the opportunity for a meaningful international experience – classes, internships, research opportunities or service learning. Another is to attract more international students to our campuses…” from the Campaign for Nebraska – Global Engagement Priorities statement.
UNOs College of IS&T has been a campus leader in going beyond traditional student and faculty mobility by encompassing a broad array of global engagement initiatives that have a significant academic focus. This record is built on obtaining grant funding to support internationalization of its programs in India, Norway, Austria and Germany – student mobility (semester study abroad and immersion programs), faculty research visits and collaborations, co-taught online graduate seminars, thesis committee service and Omaha-based internships for outstanding foreign students. To support these initiatives the college has received funding from local firms, the US Department of Education, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the OWW grant for online delivery of courses and the Norwegian Center for International Cooperation in Higher Education. Building on this record of accomplishments and experience, NU Foundation grant funds will be utilized to strengthen and expand current international partnerships in the broad areas that encompass the academic and practical enterprises relevant to IS&T and our partners at UNO. The grant includes the four key initiatives:
1. Facilitate expansion of research collaboration through faculty and student research visits:
- Research stays (one to two weeks) – Fund 14 faculty (6 from UNO to partner schools and 2 per partner school to Omaha) between UNO and its partner Universities to develop or cement and extend current research relationships, initiate joint research grants and publications. We expect a diverse group of faculty to participate. [UNO RFP] [Awards to UNO faculty]
- Research visits for graduate students (one semester both directions) – Fund graduate students to spend a semester in India, China, Germany and Norway and vice versa. In this way we will expand our current relationships to include data collection at foreign sites, thesis supervision by partner school faculty and internship/externships overseas. Fund two UNO students @ $4,000 each for graduate research stays in partner schools. [UNO RFP] [Awards to UNO students]
2. Develop and deploy joint courses and short workshops: With the growing capability to deliver online synchronous and asynchronous courses, partner schools are eager to collaborate on joint courses of common interest. IS&T has already deployed two such courses with Norway and UNO faculty have also taught a course for our Norwegian partners. We hope to expand this operation by including additional faculty to deliver at least two more courses by expanding the content and targeting both Chinese and Indian partners. We also would like to send faculty to partner schools to conduct workshops for faculty on pedagogy and emerging topics in interdisciplinary areas such as bioinformatics, management information systems and cybersecurity. This type of collaboration can create opportunities to recruit graduate students, cement research partnerships and lead to collaborative grant opportunities through the partner country’s grant agencies.
3. Expand and fund summer research and internship experiences for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students from partner schools in China, India, Norway and Germany: UNO IS&T has demonstrated previously that this model of global engagement works. Previous funding of foreign students for summer research/internship experiences has been done by scraping together UNO funds and through collaborative funding with local firms (InfoUSA and Mutual of Omaha). Grant funds will be used to further expand engagement of foreign students in summer experiences as a model for the NU system. To develop a critical mass and truly make an impact on this initiative, we will use NU Foundation funds to bring at least 12 students from the partner schools to UNO.
4. Conduct multilateral study abroad and student immersion experiences with a focus on culture, information technology practices and the understanding of academic environments in other nations in both directions (to India/China/Norway and to Omaha/USA). These programs will build and expand upon the college of IS&T’s previous history of delivering highly successful student immersion experiences to India and Norway and from Norway and India to Omaha/USA. More than 100 predominantly undergraduate students have participated in these immersion experiences. Nearly the same numbers of international students have participated in these programs.
- The Road to Omaha: A Multilateral Immersion Experience for International Students from our European and Indo-China Partner Institutions: This aspect of our project would support approximately 20 undergraduate international students and faculty interested in participating in a multilateral immersion experience in Omaha. Students, faculty, and staff from UNO will host and coordinate the immersion experience. This experience will allow international students (and faculty) to learn first-hand about American society, culture, history, business practices, education, and government as well as hold conversations with their counterparts and some leading business and academic thinkers in Omaha. The program will be structured as follows: Half the period of their stay in the US will be spent in educational workshops, field trips to local firms, and evening cultural activities. The remaining period of their visit will include a tour across Nebraska and South Dakota. This experience will also include a “Service for a Day” activity in Omaha in close coordination with the Service Learning Academy at UNO and All Our Kids, a non-profit agency focused on assisting socially and economically disadvantaged children in Nebraska. This would entail having the visiting students go to classrooms and talk about their background, culture, and their experiences during their visit to the U.S. Participating international students will be asked to contribute their time, interest and a portion of the cost of airfare (ranging from $500 to $1,000 depending upon origin of travel). All other costs for local travel, ground transportation, educational workshops, lodging and meals will be underwritten by this NU Foundation grant. The Norwegian students from the University of Agder will likely receive additional funding from a Norwegian government and/or university grant. This program will build on previous immersion experiences created and implemented for visits to Omaha by students from partner universities in India (IIT Kharagpur; Sir Padmpat Singhania University) and Norway (University of Agder). More than 150 students and faculty with business, education, public administration, and IT backgrounds have participated in previous immersion experiences. This multi-lateral experience will afford students and faculty the opportunity to develop relationships that will last beyond this particular experience and form the foundation for future educational, research, and business collaborations. [Road 2 Omaha]
- Prāyān: Semester Experience for UNO students in India: This activity will involve 20 UNO students who will spend a semester at partner schools in India. Participating UNO students will be asked to contribute their time, interest and a portion of the cost of their airfare (approximately $1,000). All other costs for including local tuition, lodging, meals and airfare subsidy of $500 will be underwritten by this NU Foundation grant.This program will build on previous educational immersion experiences created and implemented for visits to Norway and India. Students and faculty from five UNO colleges participated in previous immersion experiences. This full semester experience will afford students the opportunity to develop relationships that will last beyond this particular experience and form the seeds for future educational, research, and business collaborations.
Please check this web site for additional information about the initiatives and the timeline for the various initiatives. For specific questions about this grant, please contact the PI, Deepak Khazanchi.