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Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Joins US Faculty Scholars Teaching in Vietnam this Spring

Feb. 21, 2009

Hanoi, Vietnam, and Washington, D.C., February 20, 2009 - The Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) is pleased to announce that the first group of American professors has begun to teach at Vietnamese universities as part of its new U.S. Faculty Scholar Grant Program.

The U.S. Faculty Scholar Grant Program contributes to the VEF mission of bringing the U.S. and Vietnam closer through educational exchanges related to science, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and technology. American faculty teach in English at Vietnamese universities in their fields of expertise. Teaching may be conducted either on-site in Vietnam or by interactive, real-time videoconferencing from the U.S. VEF serves as the sponsor and organizer while the Vietnamese universities serve as the host and the U.S. universities cooperate in the collaborative program. The U.S. National Academies assists VEF in the selection of Faculty Scholars.

Michael W. Michalak, the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam said: "The new VEF U.S. Faculty Scholar Program is an outstanding U.S. funded program which reflects one of our Mission's top priorities of enhancing American cooperation with Vietnam in the area of education. I believe it will also serve to support Vietnam's efforts to further reform and develop its higher education system."

Teaching during the spring term 2009, two VEF Faculty Scholars are teaching on-site at Vietnamese universities for the full spring term, and two are teaching via videoconferencing from the United States. U.S. Faculty Scholars, who are teaching by videoconferencing, are on-site for at least a week at the beginning and also at the end of their courses.

In residence in Vietnam, Dr. Dennis Berg, Professor at California State University, Fullerton, is teaching Scientific Research Design and Methods and Analysis at two universities in Ho Chi Minh City: Hoa Sen University and Open University. Berg commented: "With a focus on increasing the research and analytical capacity of both students and faculty, my VEF Faculty Scholar grant consists of teaching classes, mentoring young faculty, conducting teacher training seminars, and working with university administration on a variety of projects and issues directly related to the quality of higher education in Vietnam."

Also in residence in Vietnam is Dr. Lee MacDonald, Professor at Colorado State University, who is teaching Hydrologic Processes and Effects of Land Use and Field Measurements in Hydrology at Vietnam Forestry University, Xuanmai. MacDonald stated: "The equipment and associated training provided through the VEF grant will provide a long-term strengthening of the teaching and research capabilities of Vietnam Forestry University, particularly with respect to assessing runoff, erosion, and climate change. By emphasizing experiential learning and problem solving, these courses will provide to the students a deeper educational experience and an enhanced ability to adapt their knowledge and understanding to a wide range of future issues and conditions."

Teaching by videoconferencing, Dr. Benjamin Kelley, Professor and Dean at Baylor University, is teaching Biomechanics at Hanoi University of Technology (HUT). Kelley commented: "As the HUT Advanced Biomedical Program expands, courses in areas like Biomechanics will help make graduates competitive from both an international and workforce perspective. VEF support through the Faculty Scholar Program is enabling a rapid rise in the influence of biomedical engineering in the university and in the national economy."

Dr. Alain Montegut, M.D., Associate Professor at Boston University is teaching a course by videoconference, entitled Introductory Course for the Master's in Family Medicine for Medical Educators, at Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy and at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City. Montegut stated: "The improvement of primary care services for the rural poor is a priority for the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Vietnam with whom the Global Health Primary Care Initiative of Boston University (BU) has been working since 1995. The support by VEF for this work through the U.S. Faculty Scholar Program has led to an expansion of the programs and improvement of the quality of the resources available both to BU and to the MOH. The VEF-sponsored course is the first accredited Continuing Medical Education course in Vietnam."

The Vice Minister of Science and Technology (MOST), Dr. Le Dinh Tien, said: "The U.S. Faculty Scholar Program is an excellent initiative of VEF and will have significant effects. MOST greatly appreciates VEF's efforts in continuing to contribute to the development of science and technology in Vietnam."

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) Deputy Director General of the Department of Higher Education, Dr. Nguyen Thi Le Huong, said: "MOET fully supports the U.S. Faculty Scholar Program initiated by VEF. MOET hopes to develop advanced teaching curricula at the Vietnamese host universities and to build sustainable collaboration between U.S. and Vietnamese universities."

Acting Executive Director of VEF, Dr. Lynne McNamara, stated: "The U.S. Faculty Scholar Program is a significant initiative of VEF, bringing outstanding American experts to Vietnam to teach for at least one full academic term. Without a doubt, this new VEF program will have a lasting impact on higher education in Vietnam."

An initiative of the U.S. Congress, the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) is in its sixth year of operations. Among its other programs, the VEF Fellowship program has placed 267 Fellows at 68 top U.S. graduate research institutions, mostly for doctoral degrees. In addition, the VEF Visiting Scholar Program provides opportunities for Vietnamese to pursue post-doctoral programs at U.S. universities for up to 12 months. VEF Fellows and Visiting Scholars are required to return to Vietnam after completing their academic programs in the U.S.

PRESS RELEASE Contacts:

In the U.S. - Dr. Lynne McNamara, Acting Executive Director: 1-703-351-5053

In Vietnam - Dr. Phuong Nguyen, Country Director: 84-4-3936-3670