UNIMAS-USF Education and Research Partnership

Sarawak, Malaysia - UNIMAS and University of South Florida (UNIMAS-USF) education and research partnership was forged through a Memorandum of Understanding.

UNIMAS and University of South Florida (UNIMAS-USF) education and research partnership was forged through a Memorandum of Understanding in 2002. The objectives of this partnership are summarised below:

Objectives of the Partnership

To design and develop a sustainable collaborative international partnership between UNIMAS and USF that combines the strengths of both institutions in achieving common program goals and objectives. Expected Outcome: A sustained formal relationship between UNIMAS and USF.
To design and adapt curriculum models and area emphasis as a foundation for program development and collaboration in curricula for area studies (including social studies and Islam), educational reform-teacher education and public health policy and management.
Expected Outcome: 4-6 academic courses developed, 20-30 educators trained in specific education areas and public health policies and administrative practices.
To develop applicable faculty development opportunities at both Universities, which enable both institutions to better serve their research and educational missions.
Expected Outcome: Reciprocal exchanges of 6-8 faculties, 4-6 graduate student placements in mutual exchange areas consistent with the Universities and partnership objectives.
4. To design curricula and research agendas utilizing e-learning and distance learning.
Expected Outcome: Sustained e-learning curricula, research projects, and professional activities.
Anticipated Collaborative Research and Education Opportunities

1. Continuous academic and research exchanges of faculty and undergraduate and graduate students across campus.

2. Operationalising the UNIMAS-USF Research Center based at UNIMAS. The proposed center will serve the educational and research interests of a broad and diverse professoriate, and initial concentration will address the immediate needs and interests of both Universities in the following areas:
• Indigenous populations/culture and language, an the island of Borneo
• Local/national/international public health concerns
• Identification/assessments/provision of services to children/adults with disabilities
• Southeast asia regional educational/cultural/health/political and social sciences issues

3. Research opportunities between the two institutions to include the following:
• Public Health Issues: SARS, Avian Flu, Malaria, Dengue, Parasitic Infections, HIV/AIDS.
• Sustainable water supply/distribution and management; biodiversity, rural access to ICT.
• Disability research into incidence, structural change and disability of children.
• Indigenous People /Culture/Arts, poverty, Native Customary Lands (NCL) rights.

Some Major Programs & Activities: Up-to-date

2000-2003: Two Fulbright Scholars, Prof Dr. Michael Churton-Special Education (2000) and Dr. Robert Lawrence- Fine and Applied Arts (2003) had a short attachment at UNIMAS.

2002: Under the US Department of Education International Programs - Short Term Study Abroad Grant of US$65,000, allowed Prof Dr. Michael Churton to lead a group of 12 USF faculty and 2 community college members in conducting a 5 week study/research tour of Borneo.

2004-2007: US Dept of State Educational Partnership Grant of US$150,000 was obtained by USF to continue with the partnership. It focuses on three primary content areas which includeEducation, Public Health, and Area Studies (multitude departments). Activities to date under this grant include:
i. April 2005: Vice Chancellor of UNIMAS and 3 other senior management personnel visited USF and an MOU was signed. The designation of a UNIMAS-USF Research Center (facilities) at UNIMAS by the VC of UNIMAS. Dialogs were carried out with 5 colleges from USF.
ii. October 2005: Twelve (12) USF faculties attended a week long curriculum development program in the areas of Public Health, Special Education, and Area Studies at UNIMAS.
iii. January 2006: Two (2) UNIMAS faculties were offered fellowship by USF and admitted to the USF Doctoral programs in Special Education (Jayapragas Gnaniah) and in Measurement and Assessment (Jecky Miseng).
iv. June 2006: A graduate student (Elizabeth Cooper) in the College of Public Health and Department of Anthropology, USF completed an internship in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UNIMAS.
v. August-December 2006 Activities
a. A senior faculty member, Assoc Prof Dr Hew Cheng Sim from UNIMAS underwent a staff exchange program, and was attached to the Department of Anthropology, USF for one semester under the Women Studies program.
b. A Special Education Workshop/Curriculum Development with UNIMAS and Batu Lintang Teachers Institute was conducted by 3 officials from USF at Batu Lintang Teachers Institute, Kuching, Sarawak
c. Two (2) UNIMAS undergraduate students enrolled in a Special Education course offered by USF in the fall semester 2006 via e-Learning.
vi. March-April 2007 Activities
Four (4) officials from UNIMAS will participate in a week long curriculum development program including a panel presentation at the International Anthropology Convention in Tampa, Florida, and will have dialogs with USF colleges on faculty research and exchanges. Delegation will include the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics & Internationalization), Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Head of the International Relations Unit, and Dean of the Centre for Applied Learning and Multimedia
vii. June-August 2007 Activities
a. Exchange of 3 USF faculties to UNIMAS, in the areas of Anthropology, Psychology and Language.
b. A faculty from USF (Prof Dr Michael Churton) will conduct a research on disability in Kapit Division under the US Department of International Education Research Grant.
c. A Special Education faculty will visit UNIMAS to conduct 2-3 courses in special education with UNIMAS, and will discuss the establishment of the Institute on Disability Education and Research (IDER) in UNIMAS.

Contact Person: Prof Dr Peter Songan – [email protected]