(L-R:) Dr,. Michael Kress, Dr. Ann Lubrano, and Rector Tran Huu Vien, of the Vietnam Forestry University, Head of the Delegation from the National Institute for Educational Management of the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training

A thirty-eight member delegation from Vietnam’s Ministry of Education visited the College of Staten Island campus as a part of their ongoing effort to promote major reform in their nation’s Higher education program.

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The December 7 visit of the heads of Vietnamese Universities comprised the fourth such group to visit CSI in the last two years, sponsored by the National Institute of International Management in Vietnam.  They  were welcomed by a CSI delegation organized by the Center for International Service.  They were then led on a tour of the campus and the Interdisciplinary High Performance Computing Center followed by a talk by Dr. Michael Kress, Vice President of Technology Systems.

Dr. Kress discussed the collaboration of science research between universities and industries, a major issue in the Ministry’s plan to reform Vietnamese Higher Education.  “The focus on training Vietnamese teachers to teach English will provide business and educational opportunities for Vietnamese people to work effectively with people throughout the world who speak English,” Dr. Kress said in his remarks to the delegation.  He also went on to elaborate on the many collaborations that CSI has fostered with universities world-wide utilizing video conferencing.  “We started our first series of Virtual Classroom Events using 2 way video connections between New York, Turkey,  South Africa, and China.”

CSI, which has had a fairly well-known presence in Vietnam since 1997, will be conducting a working visit/study tour to Vietnam for a group of eleven faculty and staff in January led by Ann Helm, Director of the Center for International Service.  The exchange of ideas in meeting with Vietnamese counterparts actually aids the implementation of the country’s education reform.

“The Vietnamese come from a very established system of education based on memorization, specialization, and testing,” said Helm in a recent interview.  American universities, on the other hand, excel at practical application blended with theoretical learning techniques. Vietnam’s Ministry of Education is especially interested in US universities’ research capabilities.  In Vietnam, “usually, industry does the bulk of the research.”

The visit provides just one example of the far-reaching activities of the Center for International Service.  There are many opportunities for CSI to not only host Vietnamese leaders in an attempt to aid in their educational reform, but for Vietnamese students to study here as well.  “It is important to see that our outreach is reciprocal,” said Ann Helm.

CSI is partnered with the Post and Telecommunications Institute of Technology (PTIT) in Hanoi, Vietnam.  This articulation/transfer program consists of students completing two years undergraduate work at PTIT and then completing their junior and senior years at CSI, degrees from both institutions.

The purpose of such outreach programs is for CSI to “form partnerships” with universities  around the world in order to build programs and eliminate cultural and geographical borders.  According to Ann Helm, this partnership “is not just an idea” but an “opportunity for everyone” to collaborate with Vietnamese institutional partners not only to aid in the growth of the Vietnamese Higher Education program but to expand our borders as well.

Visit the Center for International Service online for more information about programs in Vietnam or call (718) 982-2100.  The Center for International Service is located on CSI Campus in North Administration building 2A, room 206.