The Fulbright Specialist at UEB - VNU

Prof. Alicia Cook at the first meeting with Board of leaders of UEB
In the Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) 2011, Prof. Alicia Skinner (professor at Colorado State University - CSU, U.S.) had worked at University of Economics and Business - VNU for six weeks (from June 15, 2011 to July 19, 2011).

At the University of Economics and Business (UEB), the Fulbright Specialist - Prof. Alicia Skinner Cook had worked and consulted: Faculty of International Business and Economics, School of Business, Human Resource Office, Research and Partnership Development Office, Center for Student Services, Center for International Training and Education and Center of Higher Education Quality Assurance.

The Fulbright specialist at the presentation with FIBE (20th June 2011)

Meeting with faculties, Professor always requested their trategic development plan then giving advices to them. She consulted leaders of Faculty of International Business and Economics (FIBE) and School of Business in quality enhancement, standards and advanced method in approaching scientific research. Simultaneously, the Fulbright specialist discussed and conlsulted evaluation programs which are conducting in the U.S. universities, and the most practical way in to perform. How to review a program (course) periodically (1 years, 3 years and 7 years) was mentioned in her lectures. She introduced a unique course named “Executives MBA progam” that has been delivered in Colorado State University to School of Business.

In 2 days working with Human Resource Office, Dr. Cook presented the tenure and promotion plan for lecturers, evaluation criteria in teaching, research and services aspects. Professor also mentioned the relevance in organizational structure between UEB and Massey University (New Zealand, a partner of UEB). Some part of give model and system could be successfully applied to UEB - VNU. In addition to that, she described how important the role of HR department is at UEB. She also said: "when building the evaluation criteria for lecturer, it is ideal to have at least a professor from each faculty in order to have the most relevant, efficient one".

Working with HR department

Having been worked more than a week with the Research and Partnership Development Office, Prof. Cook gave advices in building relationship with local partners. She pointed out some potential collaborative activities such as "smart lecture theatre"; or "office equipments sponsor" for UEB's offices. She emphasized the necessary of mutual benefits in collaborating with local enterprises, organizations.

Dealing with issues in managing research and projects, Prof. Cook gave extensive comparison in both research department at CSU and UEB. She said “Managing research programs are critical and necessary to both UEB and researcher”. At her university, part of the research grant is shared to relevant departments then they may re-invest for their own activities. She provided some potential funds and foundations that have research in Vietnam; the U.S state fund sponsors to their universities in order to promote linkages and conduct research with Vietnamese universities.

The Fulbright Specialist Program is designed to award grants to qualified U.S. faculty and professionals, in select disciplines, to engage in short-term collaborative 2 to 6 week projects at host institutions in over 100 countries worldwide. Eligible activities include short-term lecturing, conducting seminars, teacher training, special conferences or workshops, as well as collaborating on curriculum planning, institutional and/or faculty development.

In developing international partners, Prof. Cook shared her invaluable experiences and claimed that "in order to have more activities after signing the international memorandum of understanding, immediately building regular cooperation and have strong joint activities". Especially, she presented some guidelines for writing successful proposal letter, how to compose the International Memorandum of Understanding.

In 4 days meeting with the Center for International Training and Education (CITE), professor raised the crucial role of alumni program. She emphasised “focus on friend-raising rather than fund-raising”. She gave 12 useful tips for creating collaborative academic programs with U.S. universities. According to the specialist “do market research, seek for demand from enterprises in order to have broad and practical views in opening a joint degree such as Master of Finance and Banking, PhD of Business Administration”. She spent one day to gave presentation to leaders and staff of the center about: marketing and advertising, recruitment plan, internationalize standards. The consistency in goals and missions between UEB and CITE is critical and asserted in professor’s presentation.  

Working with the center for student services (CSS), Prof. Cook indicated the important role to play of the center in future students’ selection. Apart from advicing about alumni program development, she mentioned about the importance of post graduate students in the university. The necessary of information desk (with a big question mark) in assisting new students enrolling courses at orientation day was also indicated in her meeting. According to professor, on-campus accommodation is critical part when students choosing a university. It is essential to have a “housing” topic in UEB’s website in order to help tenants and landlord share the information.

The next department in The Fulbright Specialist progam with UEB is Center of Higher Education Quality Assurance (CHEQA). The professor described international standards uses in evaluation, accreditation activities in U.S. universities. MA. Sai Cong Hong - acting director of the center presented the highly necessary in evaluating lecturer performance. Prof. Cook mentioned the combination of teaching and research performance. In research evaluation “it is inappropriate to use number of publications as an indicator, it is even more important to evaluate the impact of the research and look for whether the research has published in international reputation journals” she said. When lecturer involves in research activities, they can have more up to date information and technology as well as teaching method globally. After the meeting, the CSU expert also provided excellent materials relate to program review, accreditation methodology to CHEQA. 

Besides working with UEB's departments, Prof. Cook attended the 2011 Graduation Ceremony (bachelors and masters) and visited the university's facilities.

Prof. Alicia Skinner Cook (left) discusses with UEB's Rector - Prof. Nguyen Hong Son

After 6 intesive working weeks at UEB - VNU, Professor Alicia Cook gave advices in building modern university management; internationalize degree program development: strategies, curriculum follow advanced standards; shortens even minimizes the gap between research and practice in hands of leaders and policy makers in higher education; at the same time to help lecturers, directors and officers of UEB get more advanced knowledge in terms of university management (model, system, policies and strategies, evaluation and accreditation, etc)

Departments received advices and consulting from Dr. Cook showed strongly appreciate and positive feedback to her in relations to: the feasibility, relevance and effectiveness. Moreover, faculties or offices may apply some given models, strategic plans and programs that the Specialist presented.

Dr. Cook may become the connection to open more development co-operations between Colorado State University and UEB.

Hopefully, there will have more international professionals and experts come to work and assist UEB and faculties in terms of strategic plans, development policies and quality assurance in consistent with stated goals and missions.

Prof. Cook has valuable experiences in both teaching and research. She had held many important positions in Colorado State University, U.S. (CSU) - the leading research university of U.S. such as: vice provost for international program, vice provost for Faculty Affairs, Acting department head (department of Human development and Family studies), etc. Moreover, Prof. Cook also have many books and publications which were published in the top reputation journals in the U.S. and international such as: The Horizons, International education, Journal of family and economics issues, etc.


Tuan Anh - Mai Anh

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