International Grant Facilitates Student, Faculty Exchange

DOE Mobility Grant to Facilitate Student/Faculty Exchange Program

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been selected as one of the recipients of a $194,000 ATLANTIS Mobility Grant from the U.S. Department of Education and the European Union.

The four-year, highly competitive international grant will facilitate student and faculty exchanges between UW-Eau Claire, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Austria's Management Center Innsbruck and Germany's Braunschweig University of Technology. The exchange program will emphasize the vital role of information and communication technology in the world today, focusing on entrepreneurship, global collaboration, and IT management and research.

Dr. R. Matthew Germonprez, assistant professor of information systems in the College of Business, who co-authored the grant and will coordinate the UW-Eau Claire portion of the program, said he is delighted that UW-Eau Claire students will be able to benefit from this extraordinary opportunity.

"The nice part about this grant program is that U.S. students studying in Austria and Germany will not only pay only local tuition, they will receive a $5,000 stipend for living expenses, which means that approximately $120,000 of the $194,000 will go directly to students," Germonprez said. "And those students will be studying at two very prestigious European institutions. Braunschweig University of Technology is one of the oldest, largest and most academically challenging institutes of technology in Germany," he said. "MCI is a much newer institution, established in 1995-96 by the University of Innsbruck and other institutions, but it's known for its high-quality practice-oriented study programs and its strong links to the international business world."

The U.S. side of the partnership came about because of Germonprez's professional connection with Dr. Deepak Khazanchi, associate dean and professor of information systems and quantitative analysis for the College of Information Science and Technology at UN-Omaha, which had already established a relationship with MCI. The two co-wrote the grant with Dr. Dirk Mattfeld of TU-Braunschweig and Drs. Aleks Groth and Peter Mirski of MCI.

"We will able to have two or three UW-Eau Claire students study abroad each year for the four-year duration of the grant," Germonprez said, noting that UW-Eau Claire will split the $194,000 U.S. portion of the grant with UN-Omaha. "We will be preparing for the program all this next year, but students will apply this fall to begin the program in the fall of 2010."

Germonprez expects that the nature of the two European institutions will mean that the majority of UW-Eau Claire applicants will be students interested in international business, information systems and management or related areas such as computer science.

UW-Eau Claire also will host two to four students from the European partner institutions a year. Students studying from the EU will also be given a financial stipend and will take part in joint meetings and field trips to visit U.S. corporations.

Additionally, the grant provides faculty the opportunity to visit students studying abroad as well as giving them an opportunity to run lectures and workshops at the partner schools. The faculty visits will be shorter, generally one week, and are meant to encourage international collaboration among faculty and institutions.

"Innovative programs like this one go a long way toward fulfilling the goals of our strategic plan, offering our students a globally infused, transformative educational experience," said UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich.

Germonprez, who joined the UW-Eau Claire in 2005, received the 2008 UW-Eau Claire Excellence in Teaching award, and this year he was UW-Eau Claire's nominee for the U.S. Professor of the Year Award sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Only 25 schools across the nation received ATLANTIS grants this year, including the State University of New York, Michigan Technological University, UW-Madison, Purdue University, DePaul University, Temple University, and the University of California-Irvine.

UW-Eau Claire received a three-year ATLANTIS grant in 2001 for a project involving UW-Eau Claire, Ohio's Capital University, Florida International University and universities in Finland, Germany and Italy. The goal of that program was to educate students about global changes in healthcare and develop nursing leaders with astute cultural understanding.

Source: UW-Eau Claire News Bureau

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