The use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about advantageous partnerships with other universities across the globe.
One such partnership was agreed upon Monday, May 17, when Clarion University and Al Hussein Technical University in Jordan entered into an agreement to explore collaborations between the two universities.
Possible collaborations include:
- Student exchanges
- Academic and personnel exchanges
- Developing research proposals and/or working jointly to seek extra-mural funding
- Developing of twinning/joint programs allowing students to undertake part of the program/course of study at each institution
- Conducting joint symposia, seminar/conferences and workshops
- Exchange of academic information, materials and facilities
- Promoting academic, cultural, sports, co-curricular and other activities of common interest
- Promoting such other activities/programs as mutually agreed upon from time to time
The agreement between Clarion and Al Hussein Technical seeks "to establish certain programs to benefit the respective educational institutions and to promote the development of joint studies, research and training activities, and other educational programs of mutual interest."
The hope is that one of the collaborations will be in the realm of information sciences.
Phil Frese, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business Administration and Information Sciences, has encouraged his faculty and students to participate international experiences and described such experiences as a "bouquet of wonder for both students and faculty." Frese said he looks forward to a collaboration between the two universities.
William Naugle, Ph.D., and Amy Salsgiver, CU's director of social equity, helped to facilitate the agreement between the two universities. Naugle is a former Clarion University employee who now works with Clarion University on a contractual basis.
In August 2019, Naugle relocated to Amman, Jordan, as a Fulbright Teaching English as a Foreign Language Scholar at the University of Jordan before eventually accepting a position as an assistant professor and acting head of the Department of Languages at Al Hussein Technical.
Before the pandemic, Naugle and a colleague dreamed up collaborations that could connect students across the globe. When the pandemic hit, the timing was right to test these collaborations through videoconferencing.
During the pandemic, Clarion and Al Hussein Technical University had students engaging online. Some students from Amy Shannonhouse, Ph.D., and Amanda Coradi's education classes tutored some of Dr. William Naugle's Jordanian students in basic English and conversation. They also connected with students in Morocco and Spain for the same purposes.
"Throughout the entire time that I've been in Jordan, I've stayed connected with Clarion, working on various international projects, so the partnership between HTU and Clarion was a natural growth from the collaborations with Clarion faculty and my work here in Jordan," Naugle explained.
Both university presidents, Ismael Al-Hinti, Ph.D., of Al Hussein Technical and CU President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, Ph.D., agreed the partnership is beneficial to each university and its respective students.
"We at Clarion are very excited to extend our global partnerships," said Pehrsson.
Pehrsson said the open exchange of ideas yields a global perspective and understanding.
"Thank you Dr. Pehrsson for making this happen," Al-Hinti said.
This isn't the only country with which Clarion has been engaged.
Clarion has helped to create a webinar series on cross-cultural mental health awareness and practices with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico in Ponce, Puerto Rico and the Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah, in Fez, Morocco. The first one was held April 8 and the next is scheduled for June 29.
Some of Clarion's Communication Sciences and Disorders students also benefitted from a collaboration when they were able to serve as English tutors via Zoom to Spanish students with developmental delays.
Other ongoing international projects include video exchanges and reflection papers between Clarion students in a freshman seminar class and students at Al Hussein Technical and Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah in Fez, Morocco, and a collaboration between Clarion's School of Education and a K-12 school in Barcelona, Spain.