Pacific University strengthened its collaborative relationship with the United Kingdom's York St. John University through a unique Internet signing ceremony on Tuesday, May 11.
Pacific president Lesley Hallick and York St. John acting vice chancellor David Maughan Brown communicated by videoconference and signed a Memorandum of Agreement that enhances the terms of a Student Exchange Agreement the two institutions formed in March 2008.
The memorandum is a three-year agreement that formally expands the partnership to include visiting faculty exchange, academic information and other programming materials. It also calls for the development of joint research programs, conferences and other academic offerings to enhance the research and educational processes at both universities.
Hallick, Provost John Miller, Vice Provost of Research Chris Wilkes and faculty members Jules Boykoff (politics and government), John White (occupational therapy), Larry Lipin (history), Rebecca Concepcion (exercise science) and Cheleen Mahar (anthropology) took part in the ceremony from Pacific's Forest Grove campus.
Brown, Dean of Arts Steve Purcell and Director of YSJ International David Moulds represented York St. John from its location in the U.K.
"We're delighted to be here and be celebrating the success of the exchange so far," Hallick told Brown via videoconference. "Particularly exciting, and the reason we have such a showing of faculty here, is that we're very excited about starting this next phase of faculty exchange. We're delighted at the way this relationship has been progressing and eager to take the next steps."
Brown reciprocated, saying York St. John is delighted to be partaking in the relationship as well.
"The memorandum formalizes the burgeoning relationship between the two institutions and is part of a larger plan here at Pacific to expand international programming and increase the University's exposure," associate professor Boykoff said. He and Purcell are serving as liaison officers for the agreement.
Pacific and York St. John are very similar in structure, as both have a strong liberal arts college and a growing health care component. Pacific's interest in the partnership began with a desire to both expand overseas study opportunities for undergraduate students, and develop its international programming in many different disciplines.
Provost John Miller said the partnership supports the themes of President Hallick's vision that emphasizes discovery, globalization and diversity.
"The Memorandum of Agreement is the next step in broadening and deepening our partnership with York St. John, and is built on a successful student exchange agreement currently in place," Miller said. "The key here is that this is our first faculty exchange agreement. It will not be our last."
Miller said the agreement formalizes a working relationship in which faculty from one university will visit the other to teach and collaborate on research and creative activities. He noted that two York St. John faculty members spent time at Pacific this semester and that several Pacific faculty will visit York St. John to do the same next year.
"One of the five priorities of Pacific as we look to the next decade is the international and globalization of our programs," Hallick said. "So this is absolutely in keeping with our strategic vision and we're delighted to take this next step."
Following the signing, the contingents toasted participated in a non-alcoholic cider toast to celebrate the agreement.