Nat'l Ilan U, Taiwan U, GSA Seek Ways to Foster Collaboration with and beyond Student Exchange Agreement
National Ilan and Taiwan Universities (NIU, NTU) senior faculty members met with their counterparts at Kyoto University Graduate School of Agricultures (GSA) on 11 November to further strengthen the academic ties between the schools, particularly in the area of graduate student exchange.
GSA entered into a student exchange agreement with NTU College of Bioresources and Agriculture (CBA) in 2012, and another as well as a memorandum of understanding for academic cooperation with NIU College of Bioresources (CB) in October 2014.
NTU is also making a new funding opportunity available, aimed specifically for sending PhD degree-seeking students to Kyoto University.
With these options as well as scholarships taken fully into account, the school leaders discussed a wide range of exchange issues to address.
“Given the close proximity, for example, one could stay at NTU for four months and another two months at NIU to utilize the privileges, while managing the limited time,” said NIU-CB dean Yi-Chich Chiu, reflecting on today’s graduate students’ hectic schedule.
“On top of the time constraint, the language barrier still also persists,” continued Dr Chiu. “Probably because of that, it seems to me that Taiwanese students tend to choose leading universities in mainland China over those in Europe or the United States.”
As a measure that can be taken, NTU-CBA associate dean Suming Chen said “we should encourage those who have studied overseas to give, upon return, a presentation on their experiences in a workshop setting. That would motivate those considering whether to get out there.”
All parties expressed their intent to further capitalize on the partnership through all means applicable, including the agreements, scholarships and each university’s own initiatives, and then concluded the meeting.
History and the Future: Collaborations with NTU
Kyoto University signed an MoU and a student exchange agreement with NTU in 2005. Both institutions have since fostered the partnership through joint efforts, such as co-organizing exchange information sessions, symposia and summer schools, in an array of fields of study.
In 2012 KU-GSA and NTU-CBA together started a test run for an English-taught course via video conferencing, which allows for a simultaneous, interactive learning experience both online and on campus. The joint course was officially launched in 2013, and is now taught by Professor Naoshi Kondo and Associate Professor Garry Piller at GSA and Professors Chen and Ping-Lang Yen at CBA. The course title is “Introduction to Foreign Literature on Bio-Systems Engineering,” and available for undergraduate junior students.
GSA and CBA are planning yet another joint venture on 20-21 December: GSA Professors Kaoru Kitajima (tropical forest resources and environments), Eiji Nawata (tropical agriculture), Hisashi Miyagawa (bioregulation chemistry), Naoshi Kondo (bio-sensing engineering) and Fumito Tani (food and environmental sciences) are giving a series of lectures at NTU. The lecture series is collectively entitled “Current Issue in Agriculture: A Japanese Perspective,” and targets undergraduate and graduate students alike. Around 150 attendees are expected to register, and a credit will be awarded upon completion.
“These are perfect opportunities for students who do wish to have cross-cultural interactions but cannot seem to afford the time and money,” said Dr Kondo, who serves as GSA international committee chair. “It also makes perfect sense for GSA to commit, as creating such opportunities will certainly help the university achieve objectives set forth in its international strategy: 2x by 2020.”
From left: GSA international committee chair Naoshi Kondo, dean Hisashi Miyagawa, NIU-CB dean Yi-Chich Chiu, NTU-CBA associate dean Suming Chen and GSA vice-dean Eiji Nawata
Meeting attendees engaging in a lively discussion