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Appalachian establishes educational exchange in Vietnam

Professor Bao Le Nguyen, center, vice provost and director of academic affairs at Duy Tan University in Vietnam, and Dr. Lorin Baumhover.jpgBOONE—Appalachian State University has signed a formal agreement with Duy Tan University (DTU) in Vietnam paving the way for student and faculty exchanges at both institutions.  The agreement was signed Nov. 19 by Dr. Lorin Baumhover, provost and interim executive vice chancellor at Appalachian, and Professor Bao Le Nguyen, vice provost and director of academic affairs at DTU.

Professor Bao Le Nguyen, center, vice provost and director of academic affairs at Duy Tan University in Vietnam, and Dr. Lorin Baumhover.jpg
Professor Bao Le Nguyen, center, vice provost and director of academic affairs at Duy Tan University in Vietnam, and Dr. Lorin Baumhover, right, provost and interim executive vice chancellor at Appalachian State University, formalize a faculty/student exchange program between the two institutions. Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor for international education and development, looks on. (Appalachian photo by Marie Freeman)

“There are many reasons why it is important for Appalachian to have a presence in Vietnam,” said Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, associate vice chancellor for international education and development.  “Many experts have noted that Vietnam is the new economic hot spot with the same potential for economic growth and development that China has had. Vietnam has a population of more than 86 million, making it the 13th most populous country in the world. At its current growth rate, it may soon reach the top 10 spot.  Moreover, the U.S. is Vietnam’s second-largest trade partner overall, after China.  According to the Open Doors 2010 Report recently issued by the Institute of International Education, Vietnam is among the top 10 countries in the world that send degree-seeking students to the U.S.”

During Professor Nguyen’s visit, Appalachian administrators and faculty explored ways to facilitate student and faculty exchanges between the two institutions.  Immediately, DTU will provide logistical ground support for Appalachian’s Walker College of Business program to Vietnam, led by Department of Management faculty members Dr. Ben Powell and Dr. Heather Dixon-Fowler.

The five-week program will focus on social entrepreneurship and international entrepreneurship with visit Da Nang, Hoi An and Ho Chi Mihn City. The program was so popular among students, it was filled in less than two weeks.

“Student response to the Walker College of Business’ Summer Entrepreneurship Program in Vietnam solidified Business Advisory Board members’ and Dean Randy Edwards’ belief in the importance of Vietnam to students,” Powell said.

“The new relationship with Duy Tan University will play a critical role by facilitating the development, implementation, and future expansion of our program.  Vietnam and Duy Tan University have a very bright and exciting future, and this relationship opens a door to this future for our students,” said Dixon-Fowler.

Another program to Vietnam will be led by Dr. Robert Wayne Van Devender from the Department of Biology.  The three-week program will focus on biodiversity, conservation, and biogeography as applied to Vietnam.

Beginning in fall 2011, three to five DTU students will study at Appalachian for a semester and Appalachian students will go Vietnam to study at DTU under a direct exchange arrangement. This means that Appalachian students will pay Appalachian’s tuition and fees and housing to study in Vietnam.  The Vietnamese students will do the same. Appalachian students may apply their financial aid toward their study in Vietnam. Students in various academic disciplines are encouraged to participate in the Appalachian-DTU Exchange Program. Several courses at DTU are offered in English.  Additionally, students will have the opportunity to take Vietnamese as a second language and Vietnamese culture courses.

DTU also has interest in exploring a curriculum exchange program with Appalachian in hospitality management, and banking and finance, as well as a 2 + 2 academic program.  Under the 2 + 2 program, DTU students would study for two years at their home institution in Vietnam and come to Appalachian as degree-seeking students for two years. After their two years at Appalachian, DTU students would earn a degree from Appalachian.

“I am very excited about Appalachian’s new partnership with Duy Tan University. Vietnam is a country with a strong emerging economy and it will be greatly benefit our students and faculty to interact with DTU.  This partnership in Vietnam will contribute to the Walker College’s international initiatives around the world,” Edwards said.

With the partnership in Vietnam, the university and Office of International Education and Development continue long-range plans to broaden faculty and student exchanges to institutions other than those in Europe. Appalachian now has exchanges with universities in 27 countries.

“Having already had collaborations with four other universities in the United States, I still find our new relationship with Appalachian State University to be especially attractive and beneficial,” said Nguyen.  “In particular, the model of student and staff exchange at Appalachian is very innovative and promises to be sustainable. As the biggest private university in the seaside city of Da Nang, our Duy Tan University hopes to become a major destination for Appalachian students and faculty members who want to study, teach or research in Vietnam and South East Asia.”

DTU has a student body of 18,000 students, a faculty of more than 318, and 200 invited visiting professors and associate professors from well-known national and international universities.  The university has undergraduate and graduate majors in 15 colleges or departments:   Engineering, Architecture, Information Technology, Business Administration, Accounting, Tourism, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, Political Theory, Electronics and Telecommunications, International Education, Environment, Medicine and Pharmacy, and Graduate Studies.

Established in 1994 and located in the city of Da Nang, DTU is the first and largest private university in Central Vietnam. Da Nang is the third largest city in Vietnam with a population of 1 million.  The city is famous for its natural environment and attractions including China Beach, the Marble Mountains, Hoi An and My Son.