Agreement reached with Berlin school, more in the works

8:43:24 PM CDT - Thursday, March 13, 2003

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

For the third time this academic year, WSU is signing an agreement with a foreign university for faculty and student exchanges.

At the end of this month, officials from the Berlin School of Economics will come to WSU to formally sign an agreement with the Barton School of Business.

Last fall, the Barton School signed a similar faculty-student exchange agreement with the University of Canberra in Australia.

WSU also signed an agreement with Nagoya City University in Japan last fall. That exchange was signed through WSU's department of kinesiology and sport studies in the College of Education.

More exchanges with other universities are in the works, according to Mike Philson, who as executive director of international education helps coordinate the agreements.

With both the Canberra and Berlin agreements, a WSU alumnus played a role. Former Wichitan Eugene Clark, a law professor and pro vice-chancellor of external relations at the University of Canberra, was instrumental in the agreement with the university Down Under.

With the Berlin School of Economics agreement, former Shocker basketball great Bob Trogele helped forge that exchange, according to Dharma deSilva, an international business professor at WSU.

Trogele, a former Olympian for Germany who is now president of Bayer Environmental Systems in New Jersey, has been a visiting professor at the Berlin School.

The Berlin School of Economics is one of the largest institutions for business and post-graduate management education in Germany. Some 3,000 students from more than 40 countries attend the school.

Students studying within the academic areas that signed the agreements are given priority for the five or so exchange slots, according to Philson, but other students may apply.

While hundreds of international students come to WSU to study, Philson says he wants WSU to provide opportunities for its American students to study in a foreign country, as well.

"It can be a valuable recruiting tool for our students," he says. A survey by the American Council of Education indicated that having such opportunities can play a part in determining college choice.

Usually agreements allow students to pay the tuition of their "home" university, to keep the costs of studying abroad lower, Philson says.

According to Philson, WSU is evaluating exchanges with Curtin University of Technology in Australia; Chester College, part of the University of Liverpool in England; Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo; and Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan.

Philson will visit the Japanese universities, including Nagoya City, in April and Curtin University in June. Curtin University and Aoyam Gakuin University officials already visited WSU.

A draft agreement is in the works with Chester College, which offers a program similar to WSU's cooperative education program.

In another study abroad opportunity, WSU has signed an agreement with King Alfred's College in Winchester, England, that provides a tuition discount for WSU students to study there.

The Office of International Education has information on the limited scholarships for study abroad. For example, Pell Grant recipients can apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, offered by the Institute of International Education. The scholarship allows those with limited financial means to study abroad. For more information, go to www.iie.org/gilman.

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