UGA Signs Five-Year International Agreement To Work With University of Twente in Netherlands

March 20, 2001

ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia has signed a five-year international cooperative agreement with the University of Twente in the Netherlands — which boasts one of the worlds top instructional technology programs — to jointly develop educational and research programs in that field.

The agreement, developed by the department of instructional technology in UGAs College of Education, calls for faculty and student exchanges, study abroad, collaborative research programs, seminars, workshops, and service programs.

Initial efforts will focus on joint research and development efforts with faculty and student exchanges to be worked out by the end of the first year, said Kent Gustafson, interim director of the COEs School of Professional Studies.

The opportunity to work with one of the premier IT programs in the world on cutting-edge research is exciting, said Gustafson. They are doing groundbreaking research in the area of computer-based tools for curriculum design and their work in computer-based support for designing and managing distance learning also is noteworthy, as is their work in high-end educational simulations and games.

Lloyd Reiber, professor and acting chair of UGAs department of instructional technology and Jan vanAkker, professor and chair of the University of Twentes department of curriculum have been appointed to coordinate the development and implementation of the collaborative effort.

The agreement also presents an opportunity for other UGA units to establish relationships with the Dutch university whose faculty have expressed interest in working with UGAs Institute of Higher Education and New Media Institute among others. The agreement was signed by UGA President Michael F. Adams and Frans van Vught, Rector of the University of Twente, which is located in Enschede, The Netherlands.

We are also exploring the possibility of a joint Masters degree to be offered worldwide in distance learning format. I also anticipate that some our students will be able to study there as the relationship matures, said Gustafson.

Faculty and students of the two schools have taken part in many informal activities over the past few years. The relationship began when Gustafson participated as an external member of a doctoral dissertation committee. Since that time other IT faculty at UGA have played that role. Several UGA faculty have published numerous joint articles and made joint conference presentations. Gustafson and Rob Branch, an associate professor of instructional technology were co-editors of a recent book with three University of Twente faculty.

There have been numerous faculty visits in each direction. About eight of their faculty came here for several days last April and 20 of their students will be here for 10 days in April this year, said Gustafson.

The new agreement is just one of several active international projects COE departments have developed. Instructional Technology also has cooperative education and research programs with Edith Cowan University in Australia and the Royal Danish Academy of Educational Studies; counseling and human development services with the University of Jvaskyla in Finland and St. Petersburg State University; recreation and leisure studies with Christchurch Polytechnic in Christchurch, New Zealand; science education with West Visayas State University in the Philippines; and elementary education with the Universidad Veracruzana in Veracruz, Mexico.