Utah State University's College of Natural Resources is currently developing an organized approach to its international activities.
Greg Perrier, assisted part-time by Richard Cincotta, will coordinate the program in its initial year. Both are assistant research professors who have wide international experience.Perrier said three of the five academic units in the college are relatively advanced in international activities. These are the Range Science and Geography and Earth Resources Departments and the Watershed Science Unit.
In the Departments of Forest Resources and Fisheries and Wildlife, faculty members who have worked internationally have generally been involved in research and exchanges on an independent basis, but are currently integrating themselves into the broader array of issues.
"We have identified seven international activities of interest to the college. We teach courses with international focus. We advise international students on both the graduate and undergraduate level, and we plan to maintain and promote those contacts.
"We have conducted short courses dealing with international aid and hope to initiate new summer courses," Perrier said. "We have independent research done by faculty, where they find their own funding and do their research in another country."
The College of Natural Resources is currently working out collaborative agreements with a private university in Mexico, the Instituto Technologico y de Estudio Superiores de Monterrey, and with the Institute Agronomique et Veterinaire Hassan II in Rabat, Morocco. These agreements will provide for exchange of students and faculty and for collaborative research, Perrier said.
There is also a possibility for a similar arrangement in Iceland, he said.
A proposal for federal funding to help establish the exchange has been presented to the U. S. Department of Education. Perrier said there is a better than average chance that the proposal to the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education will be viewed favorably, since the college is pioneering student intern programs in natural resources.
The sixth international activity of the college is short-term consulting in foreign countries by faculty members.
Finally, the college is interested in implementing donor-funded development projects. Currently the College of Natural Resources is involved in a proposal for a project in Mali, West Africa, where USU would be a sub-contractor, and hopes to take a lead role on a watershed project in Morocco. It is coordinating proposal preparation for a research program for sustainable agriculture and natural resource management, funded by the U. S. Agency for International Development.
This interdisciplinary effort also involves the departments of sociology, agricultural and irrigation engineering, and economics, Perrier said.