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UWC and University of Missouri celebrate 30 years of partnership

UWC and University of Missouri celebrate 30 years of partnership

The year 2016 marks a 30 year anniversary celebration of the partnership between the University of the Western Cape and University of Missouri (UM). The partnership which started in 1986 has helped more than 600 staff and students from the two institutions through exchange visits and collaborations.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UWC-UM partnership, two events have been organised. The first runs from 25-27 May 2016 at UWC, and the second at the University of Missouri Columbia Campus in September 2016. Professor Mike Middleton, Interim President of the UM System, and some 40 of his colleagues, both senior managers and scholars from all four campuses: Columbia, Kansas City, Roll and St Louis, attended the celebrations at UWC.

The UWC-UM partnership was the first to be elevated to the category of strategic international partnership.

The aim of the partnership is to advance mutual understanding between the institutions faculties and to promote collaborations in teaching and learning and research and community engagement, for the mutual benefit of each institution and the broader community each serves.

Reflecting on the partnership, Dr Joel Glassman who is a Director at International Studies and programmes at UM, said the exchange programme has provided the single most widely shared international experience for UM faculty in all disciplines.

Professor Chris Stroud, Director of UWC’s Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research, said the co-operation brings together an enthusiastic research cohort of complementary expertise (e.g. urban studies, education, child language development, African linguistics and sociolinguistics) that is amenable to a range of methodological approaches and theoretical interests.

Professor William Folk from the University of Missouri said the historic partnership has fostered ground-breaking basic and clinical research in healthcare for the African public.

Professor Ndiko Ludidi from the Department of Biotechnology at UWC said: “My participation in the academic exchange programme between the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Missouri came as a result of a successful application for me to establish collaborative research with Prof Robert Sharp of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group at UM from 30 March 2014 to 30 May 2014.”

He added that the partnership has enabled him to implement and improve on methods to simulate drought conditions for use in his laboratory at UWC in an effort to understand the molecular/genetic processes involved in the regulation of maize responses to drought.

Professor Charlene Africa said her collaboration with Professor McArthur from UM has significantly contributed to UWC’s research agenda, and the collaboration itself has afforded her the opportunity to continue to get assistance through her various networks, many of which she may not normally have access to.

Reflecting on his experience with collaborating with UM, Professor Chris Arendse from the Department of Physics at UWC said: “Through the UWC-UM exchange programme I also gained access to state-of-the-art characterisation facilities and expertise, which resulted in the expansion of my research agenda to include X-ray reflection for the structural characterisation of nanostructures and organic/inorganic structured heterojunction solar cells.”

Celebration events consisted of a welcome tea, the start of celebratory conference, a case study  of the youth of the Western Cape, a UWC-UM Community Engagement partnership, and a celebratory dinner which took place at UWC’s School of Public Health.

The celebratory conference for 25-28 May showcases collaboration with all four campuses of the University of Missouri in the areas of: a study of indigenous medical plants, food security, health sciences, linguistics, community development, chemistry, physics, plant sciences and student exchange programmes.

For more on the partnership and collaborations click on the links provided below: