A new international friendship and partnership is forming between two universities in the United States and Nigeria.
North Dakota State University and the University of Nigeria Nsukka have signed a memorandum of understanding that may lead to a variety of joint endeavours. The agreement comes as a result of a recent visit to the NDSU campus by representatives of the Nigerian university.
In November, Vice Chancellor Bartholomew Ndubuisi Okolo; Bennett Nwaguma, senior special assistant to the Vice Chancellor on Research and Academic Output; and Nnaemeka Chukwuone, development officer in charge of research and innovation, met with NDSU officials to discuss areas of mutual interest.
During that visit, they met with the NDSU vice president for Agriculture and University Extension and the vice president for Equity, Diversity and Global Outreach. In addition, the delegation held discussions with the deans of the NDSU Colleges of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Human Development and Education; Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Sciences; and Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources. The group also toured the College of Business and NDSUâ€™s Research and Technology Park.
â€œWe are now identifying areas where we will focus for collaboration,â€ explained Kerri Spiering, NDSU associate vice president for Equity, Diversity and Global Outreach. â€œOne priority area of discussion is agriculture, with a lot of different areas of interest. Communication is another possible area for partnerships.â€
Spiering said joint research efforts likely will be the initial step as the universities work together. She suggests faculty may join forces to prepare journal articles for publication or develop research grants.
â€œWeâ€™re very excited about the partnership with the University of Nigeria Nsukka,â€ Spiering said, noting her Nigerian counterparts also are interested in having their faculty earn doctorates that may not be available in their country. â€œWe see it as beneficial to both schools in regards to possibilities of research collaboration, faculty exchange and, hopefully one day, student exchange.â€
That enthusiasm is shared by personnel on the Nigerian campus.
â€œWe are doing everything to ensure that our partnership is very active and successful,â€ said Vice Chancellor Okolo.
According to Spiering, the collaboration discussions between the universities were initiated by NDSU professor of communication Charles Okigbo. He is currently on leave, heading the policy engagement and communication division of the African Population and Health Research Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
The University of Nigeria Nsukka has a student population of more than 35,000, with an academic staff numbering more than 1,700. It has 106 academic departments, and 10 semi-autonomous institutes and research centres, a school of postgraduate studies and a school of general studies. The university has four campuses in Nsukka, Enugu, Ituku-Ozalla and Aba.
NDSU, located in Fargo, N.D., has an enrolment of more than 14,100 students, and its annual research expenditures top $100 million. During the past decade, NDSU has undergone approximately $150 million in major new construction.
The university is comprised of the College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources; College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Business; College of Engineering and Architecture; College of Human Development and Education; College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Sciences; College of Science and Mathematics; College of University Studies; and College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies.
With more than 100 undergraduate programs, NDSU offers 44 doctoral programs, 59 masterâ€™s programs, an educational specialist degree and 10 certificate programs. The university is listed in the top 100 research universities in several National Science Foundation categories. In fiscal 2007, NDSU ranked 28th in agricultural sciences; 41st in research and development among schools without a medical school; 42nd in social sciences among research universities; 74th in physical sciences; and 94th in chemistry among all colleges and universities receiving grants from the NSF.