One of the important roles of the Office of Global Affairs (OGA) is to foster and coordinate institutional partnerships. In this context, “institution” typically implies a university or academic institute, but many times the programs and activities include partnerships with government agencies, companies and non-government organizations (NGOs). There are many existing and evolving global partnerships in various departments and colleges at Purdue. The OGA focuses on identifying and fostering efforts that involve, or could involve, a number of departments and colleges. In addition, we are working with colleges to identify countries/regions of strategic importance, with an eye toward developing “anchor” institutions in those regions.
There are myriad potential partners – OGA receives partnership requests from international institutions on a weekly basis, and clearly there are not resources or bandwidth to support them all. There are a few attributes that form the basis for strong and sustainable partnerships, and help us define priorities for institutional partnerships.
As with many personal relationships/partnerships, the act of learning about a partner often allows us to learn much about ourselves. I have always known Purdue as a very collaborative place – it’s very easy to knock on someone’s office door and start a conversation about a joint project. Some of that same spirit has allowed us to engage with top-tier institutions around the world.
Early in our discussions with TEC, Marco Anderson and Alfonso Chacon made an initial visit to Purdue. They were fresh from a visit to another major US university that provided little opportunity to discuss specific programs. They left Purdue with over 25 business cards and excitement about the corresponding partnership opportunities. They were quite impressed with the interest from multiple departments and the potential for joint activities in education, research and commercialization. Even in cases where the partner institution is in the midst of building programs, Purdue people are quite willing to look for areas of overlapping interest and to develop peer-to-peer interactions. This Purdue spirit, coupled with the strength and relevance of our academic programs, provides us a very strong platform on which to build deep and enduring partnerships around the world.
David Janes, PhD
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Faculty Coordinator for Institutional Partnerships, Office of Global Affairs