IST Professor Forges Partnership with University of Auckland Faculty

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Following his trip last summer to Kazakhstan, Penn State Scranton Professor of Information Sciences and Technology Alan Peslak and a contingent of University representatives traveled this past winter to New Zealand to engage in a development workshop with faculty members from the University of Auckland.

The workshop was part of the Joint Collaboration Development Program, which is providing faculty teams from both universities with the opportunity to develop a long-term, self-supporting, sustainable collaborative teaching, research and service program supporting an institutional-level strategic relationship. The partnership also includes a competitive seed money request for proposals (RFP) jointly funded by both universities.

Upon returning from the workshop, Peslak and his colleagues, led by Tiffany MacQuarrie, assistant teaching professor of English at Penn State Beaver, successfully submitted a proposal to expand Penn State Beaver’s Experiential Digital Global Engagement (EDGE) program to include Auckland. It was one of eight separate projects within the Joint Collaboration Development Program to receive funding from the University’s Office of Global Programs.

Through EDGE, faculty from both universities will be able to develop collaborative virtual learning projects for students. This coming fall, students in Peslak’s IST 421 – Advanced Enterprise Integration: Technologies and Applications course will develop software for students in Auckland’s Asian Identities course.

Last fall, Peslak’s IST 421 students collaborated on an IT project with students at S. Seifullin Kazakh AgroTech University in Kazakhstan, one of several other international schools where EDGE has been successfully implemented.

Peslak was invited to take part in the Auckland project by Alexandra Persiko, strategic partnerships manager for Global Programs. “I applied and was accepted,” Peslak said. “I believe we had 12 to 15 people in total selected from the entire University.”

The multi-day workshop began with presentations given by members of the Penn State and Auckland delegations, as well as by members of the U.S. Embassy staff stationed in New Zealand.