UNI Rector Aldo Urbina Villalta and OHIO President Roderick McDavis

UNI Rector Aldo Urbina Villalta and OHIO President Roderick McDavis

Photographer: Rebecca F. Miller

UNI delegation visit

Members of the UNI delegation met with OHIO President Roderick McDavis, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin and Department of Civil Engineering Chair Gayle Mitchell.

Photographer: Rebecca F. Miller

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OHIO signs memorandum of understanding with Nicaraguan engineering university

A delegation from Nicaragua's Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (National University of Engineering, UNI) visited Ohio University's Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology last week to discuss ways to partner on education and research.

According to Gayle Mitchell, chair of the Department of Civil Engineering and director of the Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment, the visit was a follow-up to a trip she and colleagues made to UNI in December 2011.

Mitchell said during the recent visit, the groups shared information on education, research, and future opportunities for collaboration.

"As a comprehensive university dedicated to engineering, UNI has an enrollment of 10,500 students, providing several avenues of opportunity for future education and research," she said. Potential collaboration includes UNI sending their bachelor's graduates to OHIO for advanced degrees, to perform research, and to work with the Ohio Program of Intensive English.

The groups developed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate mutual cooperation for sustainable scholarly activities and international education in an effort to stimulate and facilitate the intellectual life and cultural development of both institutions.

UNI rector, or president, Aldo Urbina Villalta, Dean of Civil Engineering Oscar Gutierrez Somarriba, Director of International Relations Isidro Antonio Rivera Guadamuz and International Liaison Julian Bendana Guerrero were among the visitors.

Villalta, who noted that both UNI and OHIO were founded in the month of February, just 179 years apart, said the intention of the visit was to establish a strategic alliance with Ohio University.

"A stronger institution can also learn from the one with less experience," he said. "Higher education contributes to solutions to the problems that humanity is facing. This relationship will allow the exchange of knowledge – programs, research, innovation, transfer and academic actions – that will benefit both universities."

Villalta and colleagues visited with OHIO President Roderick McDavis, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit, as well as the department chairs of electrical, mechanical and chemical engineering.

They toured the Academic & Research Center, Stocker Center and the Russ College's Accelerated Pavement Load Facility and Asphalt Laboratory in Lancaster, Ohio. They also saw presentations by International Student and Faculty Services and the Ohio Program of Intensive English and offered their own presentations.

Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin said he thought the visit was fruitful.

"UNI has strong alignment with our interests and research in renewable energy and transportation, and is also interested in advanced education for a new generation of university faculty," he said. "We believe this is significant for both UNI and the Russ College."