Charles E. Kline, associate professor of educational administration, is helping the State Pedagogical University of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar adopt the academic-credit system used by U.S. colleges and universities. At present, students at the Mongolian university take exams at the end of each school year and receive only a mark that says they passed or didn't pass.
"Academic credit is a foreign concept to them," said Kline, who has been to Mongolia twice in the last year to meet with educators and administrators. "Giving credit affects how you organize teaching, assign grades and dole out teaching loads."
Another wrinkle to converting to a credit system, he said, is that Mongolian law requires all government workers, which includes faculty members, to spend a certain number of hours on the job. Using a credit-hour system, professors will have to determine how many credits the courses are worth as well as how much time they spend in class preparation, actual teaching, grading and other academic activities.
"Hopefully by the year 2000 they'll have converted to some type of system using credit hours," said Kline. "It'll probably be a compromise between their current system and using credits, as they phase this in."
Current activities between the School of Education and its Mongolian counterpart consist mainly of e-mail and faxes between faculty members to arrange cooperative research efforts. Also, Kline asked the Purdue faculty to gather duplicate copies of textbooks to send to the Mongolian university. With English replacing Russian as the second language of instruction, the Mongolian faculty sorely need English textbooks, he said.
The School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Agriculture are partners with the Mongolian National University of Agriculture in Zaisan, Ulaanbaatar. One part of the agreement provides for the exchange of veterinary faculty and students, giving Mongolian faculty the opportunity to receive advanced training in basic medical procedures and clinical training. The agreement also asks the Purdue veterinary faculty to assist in developing a library system by supplying books.
The Mongolian project will benefit from the results of another international effort by the veterinary school, said Dr. A.Y. Nour, Purdue's director of international programs in veterinary medicine. Purdue, in cooperation with three other U.S. veterinary schools, recently received funding from the National Security Education Program to enhance international animal health education.
"We are hoping to use the outcome of the project as a model for targeting areas such as Mongolia," Nour said.
The School of Agriculture's involvement is in the initial stages, said David J. Sammons, associate dean and director of international programs in agriculture at Purdue. The Mongolian agricultural university's main interest is in soil management and soil resources, Sammons said.
"We're in the embryonic stages of the relationship with the Mongolian agricultural university," Sammons said. "We're excited about this because we have a tradition in the School of Agriculture that affirms international collaboration, and Mongolia offers us a new and distinctly different locale in which our faculty might work."
CONTACTS: Kline, (765) 494-7299; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nour, (765) 494-5136; e-mail, email@example.com
Sammons, (765) 494-8466; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org
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