IU partners with Australia's top university to create Pan-Asian Institute
Earlier this month, IU President Michael McRobbie joined with the chief executive of the Australian National University -- that nation's top-ranked institution of higher education -- in signing a partnership agreement for the creation of a jointly operated Pan-Asian Institute.
The new institute will combine the complementary academic strengths of the two universities into a single research and teaching enterprise with expertise that encompasses a broad range of Asian countries.
IU Bloomington and IUPUI have long been considered academically strong in Central Asian studies and languages, as well as programs concentrating on China, India, Japan and Korea.
ANU, located in the Australian capital city of Canberra, is considered to have one of the world's leading programs focusing on Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Taken together, the institute will provide students at both universities with an almost unparalleled range of academic expertise about Asian countries, cultures, history and languages.
Signing the Memorandum of Friendship and Cooperation on behalf of ANU was Ian W. Chubb, vice chancellor and president of the 16,700-student institution.
The memorandum sets out a three-year implementation plan for a wide variety of academic programming, including establishment of joint language courses, some of which may be offered via interactive video, extended faculty visits and exchanges, expanded overseas studies opportunities for students and credit transfers for designated courses.
Interactive video courses at ANU to be made available to IU students include Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese languages. Likewise, ANU students will have access to IU's courses in languages such as Pashto, Uzbeck and Uighur.
"IU students and faculty will greatly benefit from having access to the academic talent and resources at ANU, which is world-renowned for its expertise in Southeast Asian studies," McRobbie said. "And we hope ANU students and faculty will find equal benefit in having access to our highly regarded programs in Central Asian studies and languages."
The agreement is in keeping with IU's international strategic plan, which calls for establishing partnerships with top-ranked universities overseas to provide opportunities for IU students to take advantage of high-quality academic programs that will help them understand the history, politics and social structure of other nations.
Details of the agreement were worked out in several negotiating sessions among ANU representatives and Patrick O'Meara, vice president for international affairs, his staff and faculty from across IU.
"This is the direction in which we should be moving," O'Meara said. "Rather than duplicating resources at these two great institutions, we now have the ability to combine extensive mutual holdings and faculty interests in exciting and creative new ways."
The new center will be headed by co-directors, one at each university, who will jointly oversee its programs and academic offerings. At IU, the co-director will be Heidi Ross, professor and director of IU's East Asian Studies Center.
"It is a privilege to be involved in the creation of the Pan-Asian Institute, which has benefitted from the energetic participation of faculty from many disciplines," Ross said. "The resources that ANU and IU bring together across the hemispheres are extraordinary, including talented faculty and students who will join together in globally informed exploration of issues -- energy, transmigration, sustainable development -- critically important to our mutual future. This must be a central mission of higher education, to engage educators and students in the building of multilateral institutions that embody the most creative, interdisciplinary and pluralistic knowledge, thinking and action."
ANU, which focuses heavily on graduate-level programs, was ranked No. 1 in Australia and Southern Hemisphere and 16th in the world by the London Times Higher Education Supplement.