Volume 13, Number 12 February 24, 2006

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Grant program fulfills promise

By Lawrence McMahen

The recently launched Global Partners initiative has supported just two projects so far, but one of its organizers says the program already looks like it will fulfil its great promise for the University.

Bob Stock, Internationalization Co-ordinator for the College of Arts and Science, says the grassroots U of S program which provides modest grants to help faculty, staff, academic units and student groups develop closer ties with colleagues in developing countries, could not have supported better examples of projects in its first year of operation.  The two – physics faculty and student collaboration with the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow and computer science faculty, and student collaboration with the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad and Tobago – illustrate many of the benefits that Global Partners offers.

“These two projects have been absolutely ideal prototypes for how Global Partners can work,” Stock says.  They both promoted international partnerships, both provided for student and faculty travel, and one even showcased what a valuable resource U of S alumni around the world can be for the University’s internationalization efforts.

Global Partners was set up in 2004-05 to support U of S projects that build on existing links in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Pacific region.  During a three-year planning period, $30,000 was raised in contributions from U of S faculty, and that was added to initial seed money of $6,500 from the Canadian Bureau for International Education.  Applicants may request up to $10,000 per project, but awards will normally be in the $5,000–$7,500 range, he explained. 

Stock says the Global Partners funding helped to pay for a U of S graduate student to travel to Moscow and for a Moscow faculty member to come to the U of S for a week.  It also funded travel by a West Indies graduate student to the U of S for the summer and U of S academics will visit Trinidad in the near future.

The project with the Kurchatov Institute is paving the way for development of a dual graduate program, where a student is admitted simultaneously into graduate programs at the Institute and the U of S.  The project with UWI builds on ties with a professor there who was a graduate student at the U of S, to develop technology that allows distant educational centres to share learning materials.

Stock says the University has thousands of international alumni.  “This is a huge resource we haven’t been tapping into, and it’s something for us to build on.”

He is convinced Global Partners is bearing fruit by strengthening links for the U of S around the world.  He encourages continuing contributions to the fund, and he invites project proposals for the program’s second year, by the deadline of March 6.  For information go to: www.arts.usask.ca/admin/globalpartners/.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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