BUFFALO, N.Y. -- As part of a national program to help
internationalize higher education in that country, one of Vietnam's
most competitive universities has entered into a partnership with
the University at Buffalo to begin teaching UB's undergraduate
mechanical engineering curriculum to its own students next
Under the Vietnamese government program, 14 of Vietnam's leading
universities are eligible to apply for support from Vietnam's
Ministry of Education and Technology to model specific degree
programs after U.S. programs chosen from across the
Vietnam selected only UB's program to model in mechanical
Under the program, UB's Vietnamese partner is the Thai Nguyen
University of Technology (TNUT), located about 40 miles northwest
of Hanoi. TNUT currently enrolls approximately 12,000 students,
mostly in science or technical degree programs.
"Out of the 350 or so accredited mechanical engineering programs
in the U.S., the Vietnamese government has chosen to model its
program after ours," said D. Joseph Mook, Ph.D., professor in the
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the UB School
of Engineering and Applied Sciences and UB's primary contact with
the Vietnamese government. "It's a very welcome testimonial to the
quality of our mechanical engineering program."
Last week, a seven-person delegation from the Vietnamese
government and TNUT, led by Phan Quang The, Ph.D., its vice rector
for academic affairs, and including the university's rector, Nguyen
Dang Binh, visited UB to launch the partnership.
They observed classes and laboratory sessions, collected
textbooks and curricular materials and met with UB President John
B. Simpson; Stephen C. Dunnett, vice provost for international
education; Harvey G. Stenger, Jr., dean of UB Engineering, and
other officials and faculty from the Department of Mechanical and
"They want to teach our mechanical engineering program on their
campus in English, as we teach it," said Mook. "They plan to copy
both the content and the academic style of teaching to the fullest
TNUT faculty will visit UB for extended periods to observe and
interact with UB faculty and students while UB faculty will, in
turn, travel to TNUT to help advise faculty on developing the
program and to review their progress. Some UB faculty also will
teach in Vietnam.
Mook said the partnership will be mutually beneficial.
"Currently, we have about 30 students from Vietnam on campus,"
he said. "UB's goal is to open a bigger pipeline for their students
here. Vietnam's ministry of education will fund 15,000 graduate
students in foreign degree programs over the next decade and we'd
like to compete for the best and the brightest."
Mook added that UB's longstanding interest in international
education is now being mirrored at all U.S. institutions of higher
"Many schools are desperately trying to increase international
enrollments, which is critical to success in many disciplines," he
said. "International experience is just as important to our
students. We need to educate our students as to how to best compete
and win on the world stage. One way to do that is to make our own
students more knowledgeable about the rest of the world."
Mook added that the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace
Engineering also is eager to establish new study abroad
opportunities for UB students in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Technology will provide
TNUT with funding to build learning and teaching facilities to the
same standards required by UB's curriculum and to support the
exchange of personnel between the two departments, he said.
UB also will be assisting TNUT's efforts to gain accreditation
from the American Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET),
which accredits eight programs at UB, including mechanical and
In the future, the program also may involve an exchange program
for students between the two campuses.
The partnership was initiated with the help of the Institute of
International Education, the largest organization supporting
international education in the U.S.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, a flagship institution in the State University
of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive
campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic
interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and
professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at
Buffalo is a member of the Association of American