The Malta Independent 25 June 2019, Tuesday

A-State enters agreement with American University of Malta

Thursday, 28 March 2019, 10:31 Last update: about 4 months ago

Forging a new international relationship for Arkansas State University, Chancellor Kelly Damphousse met with officials of the American University of Malta last week to conclude a new dual-degree and global classroom location for A-State.

"This week we establish another unique learning partnership for Arkansas State, and it has the potential to broaden opportunities for our students and faculty and to open new pathways for learning," Damphousse said.  "Our colleagues at American University of Malta share our commitment to student and faculty development and to the sharing of knowledge across the globe."

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"We at AUM seek partners and partnerships so that we can better achieve our mission," President Lewis Walker of AUM said. "When we share resources, ideas and risks, we are stronger and wiser. Our road ahead is not without challenges. Today, we walk it with greater confidence because we walk it with a new and valued friend in Arkansas State University."

The alliance between Arkansas State and AUM creates dual-degree opportunities for students at both universities.  Students who opt into the program will receive degrees from both universities.

During the visit, Damphousse also met with the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and toured the future expansion sites for AUM.

Located along the Grand Harbour of Malta in the town of Bormla, AUM was established in 2016 with new facilities and plans for continued expansion. The flagship building, formerly part of a British naval facility that proved indispensable to the Allied cause during the Second World War, was extensively renovated. AUM has continued expansion plans along the harbour front and on seaside property along the southern coast of Malta.

"The setting for AUM is awe-inspiring, almost in the shadow of Fort St. Angelo, one of the national symbols of Malta," Damphousse said.  "For centuries, this island has stood as one of the most important locations in the Mediterranean, and I am excited for the exchange of culture and ideas that this partnership will bring to our students and faculty."

At the beginning, two degree programs are available for the dual-enrolment plan: business administration and finance.  The two universities will begin work on several additional programs for future years.  Students seeking to join the dual program will require department head approval.

Arkansas State students who take this opportunity would take their first year in Jonesboro, and then attend their sophomore and junior years in Malta before finishing up their coursework back on-campus in Jonesboro.

International students starting at Malta will take their early courses at AUM, with the addition of enrolling in one online A-State class each semester. In their fourth year is composed of all A-State courses. The AUM students would either take their senior year A-State courses in Jonesboro or online.

When each double-degree program reaches more than 10 students enrolled, AUM will host an Arkansas State faculty member in Malta for a one-week seminar with the AUM-based online students.  AUM will cover housing costs for faculty during the seminar while A-State will handle travel costs.

The AUM alliance joins current formal site agreements between Arkansas State and universities in Japan and upcoming in China.  Damphousse sees the AUM agreement and projects like Campus Queretaro as the natural extension of A-State's global initiatives.

"Our university has a long history of international agreements and programs starting back for decades. starting with the Saudi project and South Korean programs guided then by Dr. Mossie Richmond and Dr. Afak Haydar," Damphousse said.  "Under the leadership of Dr. Thilla Sivakumaran, our Global Engagement and Outreach division is taking that legacy and expanding it with the 21st century use of online courses and enhanced study abroad opportunities."

The agreement also adds Malta as a potential seminar or study abroad location for A-State faculty/staff members.  AUM will provide classroom space, and assist with arranging housing and other logistics for short-term A-State courses conducted at Malta over the summer or winter breaks.

"Currently we have two faculty-led programs that are in the planning stages for summer 2020 courses in Malta," Sivakumaran said.  "This joins existing programs like our session at Saitama University in Japan, and in other international locations. Our agreement with AUM gives us another site location for our faculty members to create unique learning experiences for our students."

Dignitaries from both universities commemorated the agreement with a signing ceremony at AUM on Malta, attended by Malta's Minister for Education and Employment, Evarist Bartolo.

The agreement begins with the fall 2019 semester at Arkansas State.  Students interested in joining the new dual-degree programs should contact Sivakumaran at [email protected] 
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