UMaine, HELP University sign five-year academic, research agreement
A memorandum of understanding signed Dec. 3 between the University of Maine and HELP University, Malaysia will enhance educational, scientific and cultural cooperation between the two institutions.
In a virtual ceremony, HELP president and co-founder Paul Chan and John Volin, UMaine executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, representing the University of Maine System, signed an MOU to establish a five-year partnership. Areas of focus include undergraduate and graduate student educational transfer pathways, joint research activities and collaborative programs, and faculty exchanges.
“This MOU lays a foundation to be creative and innovative in exploring new academic and research collaborations,” said Volin. “Partnerships such as these send a strong positive signal that we are advancing and growing our international relationships, and they highlight the importance in the broader educational enterprise.”
Chan noted the partnership benefits for students, faculty and staff at both universities.
“In Asia, there’s a great concern about climate change, sustainability issues, and UMaine is conducting this type of research,” Chan said. ”Hence, besides the dual MBA program that we’re discussing and the other credit transfer programs in business, psychology, education and so on, we would like to include research, staff development and training. I want to emphasize mobility because we want young Americans and our young Asians, who are both the future leaders of the world, to get to know each other.”
Initial academic collaborations for students that are being considered include a 2+2 transfer pathway for undergraduate business majors, a dual MBA program, a 3+1 transfer pathway for undergraduate psychology majors, and a graduate pathway in global policy.
Also being explored: research collaborations, faculty visits and exchanges, and professional development certificate courses.
Discussions with HELP University on collaboration possibilities were led by Muralee Das, an assistant professor of management in the Maine Business School; and UMaine Office of International Programs director Orlina Boteva and Lucy Sommo, director of international student recruitment.
“With this partnership, UMaine has a unique opportunity to forge a constructive partnership to increase its international student enrollment from Southeast Asia,” said Boteva.
HELP University, a private university in Malaysia, has a strong global composition of international students in its campuses in Malaysia. It also has international franchises in various parts of Asia. Since 1994, more than 4,500 HELP students have studied at some of the 100 U.S. and four Canadian partner universities through the American Degree Transfer Program. HELP University also has strong partnerships with Australian and United Kingdom universities.
HELP University offers a wide range of degrees in the social sciences, humanities, computing and business analytics. It has 14 post-graduate programs, including the Master in Economic Crime Management, Master of Data Science and Master of Applied Business Analytics. HELP is the first university to be granted approval to offer the DBA and three master’s that recognize prior-experiential learning. It has recently initiated the Center for Regenerative Sustainability and collaborates with Thought for Food, a global key influencer in food sustainability activities. HELP has won many awards for its achievements, including the Forbes best performing education institution in Asia Pacific below $1 billion.
Norm O’Reilly, dean of the Graduate School of Business, emphasized the future opportunities for the MaineMBA through a dual MBA degree with HELP.
“The fact that students would receive two MBA degrees, one from each institution, is not to be underestimated in the current global environment. This partnership has the potential to diversify the student experience, internationalize our classes, share knowledge and graduate leaders with a global perspective,” he said.