University of Nebraska on the mission to collaborate with Indian Universities

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New Delhi, Dec.10 (ANI): The University of Nebraska is eager to collaborate with Indian educational institutes and universities in the field of research and institute student exchange programmes.

President of the Nebraska University James B. Milliken was in India on a ten-day visit which concluded Wednesday, to meet with Central and State officials, university and research institute leaders, foundations and the private sector to discuss opportunities for collaboration with the University of Nebraska.

It was part of an expanded global engagement initiative, designed to increase the University's international collaborations, create additional opportunities for Nebraska University (NU) students and faculty abroad, and offer new study and research opportunities for Indian students and scholars.

Talking about the objective of his India trip, President Milliken said: "Well there were several dimensions to our visit. But it starts with an interest that University of Nebraska has in expanding opportunities for our students to study abroad, both graduate and under graduate students, opportunity for students from abroad to study at the (Nebraska) university. About 10 percent of the student body right now are visiting from abroad and studying, I think it adds enormously to richness of the university of Nebraska, offers opportunities for our students to live and work with students from around the world."

"We have interest in expanding opportunities for our faculty to collaborate with faculty in similar disciplines around the world. And, we are looking for ways for the university as an institution to develop relationships that provide a broader platform to our faculty to collaborate with others to address challenges, work together in a sustained way," Milliken added.

Milliken pointed out that the research collaborations and partnerships would involve faculty in India and the faculty in the U.S. working together. That might involve some travel between the two and some period of time may be spent by Indian faculty in the U.S. and vice versa. But the core is not hiring Indian faculty. "Our institutional goal is mutual collaboration, equal partners collaborating in activities that benefit both institutions and both countries," he said.

Asked why would Indian students opt for Nebraska University when they have universities like Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) offering plethora of courses, Milliken said: Well, of course, it's a great development. It's very important dimension of high education. We have our own distance education programs. My own university has about a thousand courses online, 50 degree and certificate programmes that we are offering. You can get a Ph.D from the university of Nebraska online. We are trying to offer more courses, more degree programmes around the world."

A big believer in distance education. Milliken said that in his State universities were accessing students 400 miles away. "I am all for Distance education ..........I also think there will always be place for physical residential delivery," Milliken said.

Talking about the proposals, Milliken said it could be split into two components ...

"One is the research collaboration that we are talking about water, agriculture, bio fuels where we are looking our scientists matched up with Indian scientists and this was the discussion that we had in Washington and we had here ......it's completely apart from students exchanges. But these are research collaborations at the faculty level that we are interested in."

"On the students exchange area, ........all disciplines will be open......we would like students in English, in history, in engineering, in mathematics, in all areas whatever they are interested in. It's same for our students, we are saying to them look at the menus before you, the range of options and we have looked into and tried to make available for your opportunities and wonderful institutions in India. Look at the range of options the University of Nebraska will encourage them investigate....," he added.

Milliken said he found great receptivity to the offer to look for areas of mutual interest for collaborations. The discussion would be studied and looked forward to. By Sandeep Datta (ANI)

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