What does it mean to be a Global Land Grant University? - Part 1

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December 8, Roundtable Discussion - What Does it Mean to be a Global Land Grant University Part 1

Part 1 December 8, Roundtable Discussion NOTES

(0:00) Introduction

Ken expresses interest in taking some of the conversation from the December 7th presentations and subsequent discussion and making it more actionable.

What’s our global role as Penn State in regard to the Land Grant Mission and we created some context for that yesterday during the December 7th discussions.


  • Wayne Mackintosh
  • Modupe Irele
  • Larry Ragan
  • Keith Bailey
  • Pete Rubba
  • Michael G. Moore
  • Michael Adewumi
  • William C. Diehl
  • Melody Thompson
  • Janet May
  • Matt Rupert
  • Jean McGrath Bower
  • Ken Udas
  • Kelley Moran
  • Juan Xia
  • Daney Jackson

(2:35) Open Discussion

Ken Udas: Would anybody like to pull out one question or theme from yesterday’s discussion that they think might start some useful dialog here as a starting point.

Melody Thompson asked if the NASULGC report on Internationalizing the University had been discussed? As it was not, Melody Thompson & Michael Aduwami offered that the report was seminal and important for a number of reasons. It moves the Land Grant focus from local to global, highlighting that internationalizing the university extends beyond sending our students out, but also participating in collaborative efforts in research among scholars as well. We do not only extend, but we accept in partnership knowledge and research. The report represents a radical change in focus for the Land Grant Universities.

Reference - A Call to Leadership: The Presidential Role in Internationalizing the University October 2004 [1], A report of the NASULGC Task Force on International Education with a set of recommendations tailored for both the large, public, research-intensive universities and smaller public institutions.

Michael Adewumi adds that the report prompts us to ask, how are we influencing international students on our campuses and how are they influencing us? Most of the time we teach international students discipline content as part of an academic program, and when they go back to their home country there is no diffusion of knowledge back to the host US university. We think that these people just have to come and learn from us. We miss the opportunity to learn about our effectiveness and to practice this part of international education reflectively. It is a sign of self-centeredness on the part of many US educators.

Michael Adewumi references a more recent report that speaks directly to the ides of collaboration and partnership. The report points to the idea that US universities should start with partnerships rather then deciding on their own that they should do something in a developing country. Some universities are using the model of setting-up a university or university campus elsewhere in China for instance. (Michael Aduwami is not endorsing the model) It is an expensive proposition, where as a private university might justify it, it would be a long stretch for a land grant institution like Penn State. Partnerships, on the other hand, are probably the way to go.

(6:45) Are there exemplar programmes illustrating partnership?

Ken Udas asked if we at Penn State have exemplar programs that illustrate a partnership model? Is this part of yours and ASEDA’s approach?

Michael Adewumi offered that the current ASEDA program uses the partnership model. They developed the model starting with the assumption and expressing the assumption that there would be an equal partnership with African partners. This was new for the African partners because they are used to being treated as lesser partners in most arrangements, following instructions rather than shaping the project agenda as equals. Engaging as equals was very difficult for the African partners at the beginning, but as the partnership developed they responded and took leadership in some very novel and clever solutions to programmatic problems. There was a sense of freedom that generated value. The results have been incredible. For example:

  • A group of US undergraduate students go through a course with colleagues and students from Africa and they are getting a lot of data in a particular field. Last year it was about Justice in South Africa, so it was co-authored by faulty members here and at the University of Capetown. Students from the US and South Africa participated in the course, engaged in a lot of discussion, the US students visited South Africa, not to live at the University of Capetown, but to live in the village with the villagers. After the experience, the learners returned and gave presentations expressing the transformation that took place. Many expressed the initial misconception that they would go there and teach the South Africans, which was in fact not the case. It was an exchange, which challenged their assumptions. The program is being extended to Ghana right now.
  • How do we stem brain drain in Africa. The fear being that when students study abroad, they will not return to their home country. This is a major concern of many African governments. To help address this, they designed the programme so it is dependent on educational assets and interaction of both Penn State and the African partner. The students study at Penn State for the first year, but the classes are co-instructed with colleagues in Africa and most of the examples are focused on Africa and African problems. The students then pass their candidates examination and go back to their home institution and continue to work with their colleagues in Africa, working on an African, not Pennsylvanian problem. This is because if you bring an African student to Penn State to study a narrowly focused problem from a US/Pennsylvanian perspective, when you send that person back to Africa they will not be able to apply their learning. They feel that they are not very useful in Africa and leave. If they are instead engaged in Africa through their studies they will be able to work effectively. They currently have three students participating in this program, and it illustrates a true partnership.

There are a lot of challenges including tuition. Who gets what? Penn State and the Provost have been very supportive. The program has expanded from just the College of Mineral Sciences to all of the participating colleges. Institutional support beyond financial support is critical to success.

Part 1 December 8, Roundtable Discussion FILES

December 8, Roundtable Discussion - What Does it Mean to be a Global Land Grant University Part 2

Part 2 December 8, Roundtable Discussion NOTES

(0:00) Does the “deep partnership” model work?

Ken Udas asked if the “deep partnership” approach described here a way of hedging against the problem associated with programmes that are imposed externally, where to program might be well received because of infusion of resources, but when the program funding ends it leave a vacuum or is non-sustainable for other reasons such as the establishment of inappropriate relationships or the creation of unrealistic expectations. Does your model address some of these issues?

Michael Adewumi: Approaching the problem in partnership is absolutely critical, and is the strength of the ASEDA project model. Even if the African partners do not see a solution at first, they understand the problem and why particular solutions might not work. Starting with understanding the problem and context from the African perspective addresses a lot of the problems associated with many aid projects. This approach can be very beneficial to the US as well as Africa, for example, there are connections between productivity and health. There are similarities between conditions in parts of Africa and the US in which creative solutions from Africa can be applied to the US in ways that might not have been conceived with a US conceptual framework. Are there connections between poverty and resource richness? This question applies not only to parts of Africa, but also parts of the United States.

(2:45) Can we applied the US extension model to developing countries?

Ken Udas: If we think about how the extension model has work within the land grant mission, what are the things that we would have to consider relative to sustainability in developing economics? What would you have to do to localize the extension education model?

Michael Moore: The University of Wisconsin Madison (UW) had a long-standing commitment to the Land Grant Mission. UW made major investment in person resources in Kenya and it has apparently paid off in terms of higher education development. American efforts tend to be in and out of the environment very quickly, which either cases damage or are not able to maintain long-term impacts. When we are involved with interventions we should first, do no harm and second be there for the long-haul. In many ways project success leads to a loss of influence. Intervene carefully, intervene for sustainability, and intervene for withdrawal given success. There is power in extending from the university to the community.

Part 2 December 8, Roundtable Discussion FILES

December 8, Roundtable Discussion - What Does it Mean to be a Global Land Grant University Part 3

Part 3 December 8, Roundtable Discussion NOTES

(0:00) Models of Engagement

Melody Thompson: The extension model is changing. It is moving from a federally supported model to a more pay for services model. Which model might work in a developing environment?

Michael Moore: What should the stakeholders fear from the engagement. The risks should be made explicit.

Wayne Mackintosh: These relationships have to be non-zero sum partnerships, which points to long-term sustainability. What does the American partner get from the relationship that will keep it sustained?

Wayne indicated that Commonwealth of Learning (COL) would be interested in networking activities supporting PSU activities in Nigeria.

(2:20) The Importance of Educational Content

Modupe Irele: Content is a key area for developing online resources. There is the desire to development in a way that promotes easy distribution and deals with African peoples, and records African experiences. As mentioned during the presentation on the 7th, Africans tend not to be recorders of their history. Keeping it in Africa. Can one of the COL projects help do this?

Also on the 7th we talked about the types of instruction and culturally how people tend to receive instruction and use content. We identified that at least in Nigeria we tend to want to be lead and then eventually approach it critically, but we do need some sort of transition or aid to help use content in different ways and make it new. This is one way that Penn State can provide some assistance. One model would be short-term engagement, starting perhaps in secondary education, where different groups come together and explore different ways in which you can interact with content materials.

(5:50) Developing and Honoring New Perspectives Through Partnership

Melody Thompson: Although we give a lot of lip service to diversity in the US, we tend to have a pretty homogeneous leadership model. Should we look at leadership education from Africa, for instance, as being a melding of approaches to help us identify new and desirable features in the perspectives and practices of others?

Michael Adewumi: There is a parallel between the points made about different cultural notions and practices of leaderships and different manifestations of democracy. Democracy has existed in Africa for thousands of years, but just not the way we think about democracy here. For example in Nigeria if a man wanted to become President he would have to consult with and get approval from tribal leaders. From the Westerner’s eye, the tribal leader is an autocrat, but that is actually not true. If his people did not want him, he would be gone, but that is not the way that we think about Democracy. We always think about democracy in the model that we have here. So, we go to Nigeria and we lecture the leader on Democracy. So, when we treat democracy in international settings we have to take into account the cultural context.

Referring back to yesterday, the notion of teach and learner is also cultural it is not just psychological, because an elder person is respected in many African culture, so you look at the teacher as the elder, a respected person. You do not always agree with that person, but you respect that person. This has to be taken into consideration when a Westerner tries to understand educational arrangements in African cultures. It is not acceptable for the student to “oppose” or “argue” with the teacher.

Michael Moore: Could you comment on the ways that the Colonial regimes worked with the Chiefs.

Michael Adewumi: Of all the colonial powers in Africa, the British were the most successful. It is because the British recognized that the Africans had a very established system of governance. The British just built control structures on top of those that already existed, unlike the French, for example, who enforced the notion that their subjects were now French and that they now had to do things as in France. This never worked. The British enforced “indirect rule.”

Part 3 December 8, Roundtable Discussion FILES