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UC Selected for New U.S. Educational Partnership Program with Iraqi Universities

As part of this new educational linkage program, the University of Cincinnati is among only a handful of American universities to forge new educational ties with Iraq.

Date: 6/23/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823

UC ingot   A five-person delegation representing the University of Cincinnati departs for Iraq on June 24, as the U.S. State Department launches a new university linkage program that provides technical and educational support for college programs serving undergraduate students in Iraq.

UC is among only five U.S. institutions selected for the three-year partnership to serve five Iraqi universities, according to Holly Johnson, head of the School of Education in UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services (CECH). Johnson says the other U.S. partners are Ball State University, Oklahoma State University, Cleveland State University and the University of Kentucky.

The university partners will work closely with the Academy for Educational Development and the U.S. Department of State to implement the university linkages program, funded by a three-year grant from the Department of State.

UC representatives of CECH and the College of Business (CoB) are participating in the linkage program with Salahaddin University in Erbil, Iraq, a Kurdish region in Northern Iraq. The summer trip will include a workshop in Baghdad focusing on the partnership – examining courses in basic English and English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) studies and education curriculum.

“We’re also exploring the expansion of our distance-learning programs in Teaching English as a Second Language, and curriculum and instruction,” Johnson says.

The UC/Salahaddin University linkage program will also provide UC academic support in economics, business and finance, as the Iraqi university begins the creation of a new academic department of banking and finance.

"The Iraqis indicated that they felt their curriculum doesn't meet the challenges for the future," says George Vredeveld, director of the UC Economics Center for Education and Research in the College of Business. "This is an opportunity to work with them on transforming their economics and finance curriculum into a world-class curriculum," says Vredeveld.

“Over the course of this project, the University of Cincinnati hopes to build a partnership that will become self-sustaining and endure far beyond the three year scope of the initial program,” says Gulbahar Beckett, director of the UC Center for International Education and Research and associate professor for literacy and second language studies.

“UC faculty will work closely with their Iraqi colleagues to complete a review of courses, develop recommendations for academic programs and courses, and pilot new courses and professional development opportunities,” says Nelson Vincent, associate dean of CECH. “UC will also host a delegation from Iraq in 2011,” Vincent said.

Vincent, Beckett, Johnson and Vredeveld are all members of the UC delegation making the summer trip to Iraq, along with Susan Sadlier, adjunct assistant professor for CoB.

The UC administrators and faculty taking part in the new U.S./Iraq university linkage program will return to Cincinnati on July 4. Travel time from Cincinnati to Baghdad is two days.