Dean's Blog

The Five I's: International

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In about six years (2019) Norwich University will mark its 200th anniversary and begin a third century of service. Not many American universities are as old as Norwich or have evolved over two centuries while embracing a consistent mission and vision. As we prepare for the historic 2019 anniversary we have also been working with the 2019 strategic plan to get us there, focusing on five key institutional priorities, or I5. The specific priorities are:

  • Improve learning
  • Inspire students
  • Information technology for all
  • Invest strategically
  • Internationalize the campus

I have undertaken some recent international travel to further the last “I” at both the university and CGCS levels. Let me tell you a little about the most recent travels to Thailand and Indonesia.

Norwich University has enrolled cadets from the Royal Thai Army for many decades and currently has five Thai students in the Norwich University Corps of Cadets. This association has been productive in many ways to foster friendship and build a personal connection between our militaries that would not otherwise exist. I should also add that six faculty from the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (CRMA) are Norwich University graduates, so there is a very direct connection and large alumni club in Thailand!

Last fall, LT General Porpol Maneerin, Superintendent of the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy visited the Norwich University campus with some of his senior staff to meet us and see their cadets. We had a wonderful meeting and agreed to visit the CRMA to explore ways we could work together more deeply, hence the recent trip I took with Phil Susmann, Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives, and President of Norwich University Applied Research Institutes

Our visit was wonderful and opened up many new lines of communication with the CRMA as well as the Royal Thai Air Force. The highlight of the trip was the signing of an agreement to work together on joint student and faculty projects, exchanging opportunities and sharing of work on our respective campuses. I am sure some wonderful activities will come from this effort and we are already planning to host several CRMA cadets on campus and send several Norwich Cadets to the CRMA in Thailand this spring. Additionally, I am excited as a social scientist about participation in the Ancient Roads Project started by the CRMA faculty. The project involves a multidisciplinary study of the ancient road system and its social-economic evolution in Southeast Asia using satellite imaging, various radar systems, archeology, engineering, economics, anthropology, and other related disciplines. One positive aspect of the project is the cooperation and relationships formed between Thailand and its neighboring countries, most of which are now participating in the project. I hope to be able to report more on this effort in the future and wish I had the time to jump into the study or write a master’s thesis from the project!

Our next stop was Jakarta, Indonesia, to follow up on a visit last spring by President Schneider, who spoke at the Jakarta International Defense Dialog. President Schneider also signed an agreement with the Indonesian military to explore how we might work together to further educational opportunities and research efforts. We visited the Ministry of Defense education command as well as the Indonesia Defense University to discuss joint academic ventures and are in the process of developing some interesting programming. In addition, we visited another university to explore opportunities for research, student and faculty exchanges, and ways to internationalize both of our universities. Technology has been a great enabler and will allow us to deliver academic programming in Indonesia and around the world. As many of you well know, technology enhances our ability to share experienced lecturers, panel discussions, faculty research, and student projects. I am excited about the future and hope to report on many wonderful activities that will enhance our curriculum and experience.

A quick update on the hockey puck contest is also in order. Winter conditions have fluctuated greatly in the past week with temperatures as low as -22F degrees followed by a front that brought warm air (45F degrees) and rain to campus this week. I am pleased to report, however, that the snow pile has consistently maintained a height of 6-8 feet so the puck is in no danger of emerging until spring!

Enough of my musings, it’s time to get back to the books!