UNCP building ties to African continent


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Chancellor Meadors (center) meets South African representatives from PE TECHNIKON Professor Nicholas Allen (left) and Henry Wissink, Dean of the Faculty for Commerce and Government Studies.

Talks are underway with a South African university that may make UNC Pembroke a leading provider of graduate education for public administrators on the African continent.

Representatives from PE TECHNIKON, a leading South African university in Port Elizabeth, were on campus recently to meet with UNCP officials. Also on their itinerary was negotiating student and faculty exchange agreements.

Henry Wissink, a Public Management Professor and Dean of the Faculty for Commerce and Governmental Studies at PE TECHNIKON, and Professor Nicholas Allen are part of an international consortium putting together an online program to offer graduate degrees in Public Administration. UNCP may be the degree granting or home university for the consortium. The consortium may also include leading instructors from around the globe.

The South African professors lectured to several classes, delivered two workshops for faculty and administrators and met with Dr. Roger Brown, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Nicholas Giannatasio, Director of UNCP's Master's of Public Administration program; Dr. Alex Chen, Associate Vice Chancellor for International programs; and Chancellor Allen C. Meadors.

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Dr. Roger Brown (right), Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNCP, meets with Dean Wissink from PE TECHNIKON University of South Africa.

"We were pleased to have professors Wissink and Allen visiting UNCP," Chancellor Meadors said. "It is another indicator that we are becoming a recognized university in our global society. We look forward to engaging in follow-up discussions with this and other universities in South Africa."

Professor Wissink talked about PE TECHNIKON and explained his mission at UNC Pembroke.

"With 10,000 students, we are the leading technology university in South Africa with a career focus in science, engineering and technology," Prof. Wissink said. "We are about to merge with two nearby universities to become a comprehensive university with an enrollment of 25,000."

"UNC Pembroke would have a strong presence in Africa, if the consortium works," he said. "It's not too far-fetched an idea that your university will be the leading university for training public administrators in Africa."

The consortium will rely on Internet-delivered courses that would use another product imported from the South African University.

"The other project we are working on is an (Internet) learning management program called CyberCampus," Dean Wissink said. "It is similar to Blackboard software, except it uses the open source concept that points to content rather than captures it."

CyberCampus has benefits for small universities with limited resources because it charges user fees instead of license fees, Dean Wissink explained.

"We hope to roll out some Public Administration courses with the software," Dr. Chen said.