By IESHA SWILLEY | The South End
Originally published July 31, 2012
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The Wayne State College of Engineering is seeking to broaden its reach and increase opportunities for students globally through connections and partnerships with international universities.
The college has welcomed leaders from numerous countries, with the most recent visit by Turkish delegates who came July 17 to discuss potential opportunities for collaboration in areas of automotive engineering and education.
This visit came about after WSU delegates visited Turkey in June 2012 for a presentation by Turkey’s Prima Civitas Foundation, an economic development organization that leads initiatives addressing Michigan’s economic challenges.
COE Dean Farshad Fotouhi presented engineering research to the 13 delegates who attended, and Provost Ronald Brown talked about engineering research from a medical standpoint.
Universities that were represented were Istanbul Teknik University, Yildiz Technical University, Beykent University and Ist Kultur University, all in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as Ege University and 9 Eylul University, which are both located in Izmir, Turkey.
Among the various partnerships that were discussed, a “3 plus 2” program that is being finalized is one of the highlights, Fotouhi said. This program would allow engineering students to study at some of the international universities the college is partnering with to increase their knowledge and understanding of global markets.
He said he believes this is essential for preparing students for the workforce and considers it one of the pillars of getting a good education.
“The better students are familiar with global economies and technologies, the better prepared they will be for the workforce,” Fotouhi said.
One primary area of research and education that will potentially be enhanced through such programs is automotive research and activities. These activities, Fotouhi said, will focus on building green technologies such as electric vehicles using alternative energy and making cars more environmentally friendly. This is also the main purpose of the EcoCAR 2 competition in which WSU will be represented.
Fotouhi also said the college is finding partners with other international universities, not just those in Turkey; they are seeking diversity for the benefit and overall preparation for engineering students.
“We are not looking to partner with schools in one particular region,” he said. “We have had discussions with delegates from France, Spain, Italy and the UK, among others.”
Various delegates visit the university on a monthly basis, which helps make WSU more visible and well-known internationally, Fotouhi said.
COE Marketing and Communications Associate Director Kristin Copenhaver said she considers the visits “an attempt to reach out to international leaders and engage the college’s involvement.”
With a large population of international students and faculty at the college, many of the connections made with these universities were made through current faculty.
Fotouhi said WSU alumni are represented at these universities, making partnership more easily attainable. He said he believes the presentations made were wellreceived by the delegates and has high hopes for the college.