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Oklahoma State University

School of Global Studies and Partnerships to receive Department of State Grant for Ethiopian Higher Education

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The School of Global Studies and Partnerships in the Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development.

Oklahoma State University (OSU) has received a commitment from the U.S. Department of State to partner with other U.S. partners to offer a comprehensive, professional development training institute for Ethiopian higher education administrators in collaboration with Texas Tech University and Ohio State University.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs pledged a grant of $502,957 from the University Partnership Initiative to a consortium of universities, including Oklahoma State University, Texas Tech University, and Ohio State University. The funding, which began Oct. 1 and will run through the end of April 2024, will allow U.S. partners to establish the Education Administration Leadership Summer Institute during the summers of 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The US university partners have worked with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE) to design the summer institute to prioritize and identify the needs of Ethiopian universities aligning with national priority areas. The project will involve 50 higher education administrators from Ethiopia, who will study ways to improve academic leadership and increase the retention among administrators trained in leadership, management and governance.

The OSU representatives to the initiative are Dr. Randy Kluver, Dean of SGSP and Dr. Vivian Wang, Director of Global Partnerships. The training will be co-facilitated by experienced Ethiopian leaders who have demonstrated success in Ethiopian higher education, and U.S. faculty, staff and guest experts will lead interactive sessions.

“This project is designed to raise the professionalization and quality of Ethiopian higher education,” Kluver said. “As the number of Ethiopian universities has risen, there has emerged a critical need for the professionalization of the administrative side of the universities, and this project is designed to do that.”

 Plans for this latest endeavor began in October 2019. Representatives from Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Ohio State, along with delegation members from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Indiana University, met with MoSHE to strategize how the U.S. universities could address specific needs within Ethiopian higher education.

The institute will be held over three summers. Each summer will include three weeks of training in Ethiopia and the U.S., with travel dependent on the global health situation at that time. Training will include experiential living and learning opportunities, real-world applications, team building, conflict resolution and interactive, professional and personal development with designated mentors.

Participants will assess their abilities to apply critical management skills to identify, understand and overcome the challenges of organizational change. They will learn to identify developmental priorities and opportunities for innovation on campus; how to support entrepreneurship and commercialization; and ways to improve government relations. They also will learn to evaluate the impact of new initiatives and alliances; how to create supportive environments for faculty and students; and understand diversity and inclusion in higher education leadership.

 The first cohort will participate in the summer institute in 2021. The comprehensive, interactive training program will begin with 3-5 days of in-country training workshops at the Ohio State campus in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, followed by an additional two weeks visiting the US campuses of Ohio State, Texas Tech, and OSU.

In 2022, the second cohort will complete the institute, with top participants from the first cohort assisting in training the second group. Additionally, all participants from both cohorts will work with mentors assigned from the U.S. partner institutions, and all participants from the first cohort will report on the progress of their projects.

During the final summer in 2023, faculty from each U.S. university partner will offer training workshops at Addis Ababa for both cohorts and help university administrators establish a mentorship program within their respective institutions. Both cohorts will report on the progress of their projects and receive a certificate from the U.S. institutions, signed by MoSHE.

Oklahoma State University has a long history in Ethiopia.  The university partnered with the Ethiopian government to create a new university and technical high school in the early 1950s, and nearly 300 OSU faculty and staff spent some time in the nation to create those institutions, as well as an agricultural research station.  President Burns Hargis gave an address in 2019 at one of the two universities, Haramaya University, and other OSU faculty have been active in the nation recently as well. This project continues and builds on OSU’s legacy in Ethiopia and further cements the decades long partnership with the nation.  OSU’s partnership began in 1951 as a result of the leadership of Henry G. Bennett, the president of Oklahoma A&M College, who was appointed by President Harry S. Truman to lead the Point IV program, which was later renamed the US Agency for International Development.

 MEDIA CONTACT: Lyn Putnam | School of Global Studies and Partnerships | 405.744.5496 | lyn.putnam@okstate.edu

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