Visit from University of Houston

Three distinguished representatives from the University of Houston visited the University of Stavanger on March 21st-24th to discuss a broader cooperation between the two institutions.

The three visitors from the University of Houston (UH) were:

  • Jerald W. Strickland, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor/Assistant Vice President for International Studies and Programs
  • John L. Bear, Ph.D., Special Assistant for International Graduate Student Initiatives
  • John F. Casey, Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

They were invited to discuss the cooperation between the two universities in the areas of geosciences and history as well as the possibilities to elevate the cooperation to faculty level or a university-wide MoU (Memorandum of understanding).

Professorial cooperation
On March 22nd, the two universities had general presentations and discussions with Vice Rector Tor Hemmingsen. On March 23rd, the visitors met with the Faculty of Science and Technology at University of Stavanger (UiS), led by the Dean of the Faculty, Ole Ringdal.

Present from UiS at the meetings were:

  • Tor Hemmingsen, Vice Rector
  • Ole Ringdal, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology
  • Einar Marnbug, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Tor Hauken, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Education
  • Hans Borge, Head of the Petroleum Department
  • Ove Tobias Gudmestad, Professor
  • Alejandro Escalona, Associate Professor
  • Bjarte Hoem, Head of International Office
  • Bente Dale, Advisor at International Office

There was a common consent during the meeting that internationalization processes usually work out best if they start from a professorial level.

The initiative for cooperation between the two universities originally sprung out from the cooperative geological research work by Associate Professor Alejandro Escalona at UiS and Professor Paul Mann at UH.

Dr. Escalona met twice with Drs. Strickland and Casey in Houston during the last year, resulting in UH support of cooperation in the area of geosciences as well as their subsequent visit to Stavanger.

Gunnar Nerheim at the Faculty of Arts and Education has cooperated with UH in the field of History. He is visiting Houston these days.

Possible governemental funding
The Norwegian government has issued a new strategy document called "North America Strategy for Higher Education Cooperation 2012-2015". In light of this, the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) has developed a partnership program for North America, with a total budget of 24 million NOK. Each project can apply for 2 million NOK over a four-year period.

Among the applications UiS has sent in for this program, two of them are together with UH. One for Escalona's Geoscience project and one for Nerheim's History project.

Potential MoU
"We have two collaboration relationships at a professorial level. We have a potential of some mutual interest in Hotel management. We also have an opportunity for offshore technology collaboration. We are two energy universities. I think there is enough for us to consider a draft MoU and then have a signing in the next months," said Strickland during the meeting.

The signing is likely to take place when Rector Marit Boyesen visits Houston for the Transatlantic Science Week in November.

Tier One university
"The University of Houston has existed for a long time. In some research areas they are at the very top. This visit is a huge recognition for us," says Ringdal.

The University of Houston, with its 40,000 students, is the flagship of the University of Houston System, which has a total of 65,000 students in the greater Houston area.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recently recognized UH as a Tier One research university, the highest classification given to American research universities.

Stavanger and Houston, Texas are sister cities, as well as partners in the World Energy Cities Program.

Sist oppdatert av Håkon Hapnes Strand (28.03.2012)

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