From Vision Into Reality
By Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Staff Writer
The genesis of the Chicago State Trans-Atlantic Agreement, or CSTAA for short, goes back to 2012 when Mr. James Gomez of Rainbow’s Push Coalition International Division planted a seed that has now resulted in a watershed moment for Chicago State University. On May 2, 2016, Chicago State University and Edwin Clark University of the Delta State of Nigeria signed an initiative that offers reciprocal accreditation through International Exchange Opportunities on both continents for interested students.
Inspired by a conversation initiated by James Gomez, Dr. Ewa Ewa, and CSU’s former president Wayne Watson commenced the discussion back in 2012 about a possible educational partnership between the two schools. Considered by some as an outcome of the Global African Partnership Forum that seeks to promote improved dialogue between Africa and the United States; the two schools have raised the bar in exposing students to a global perspective.
Says Dr. Angela Henderson, CSU Provost “We are looking forward to bringing authentic academic and global experiences to both continents while working with instructional programs towards successful student outcomes.” The university which hosted the first Global Africa Partnership Forum in 2014 seeks to “stimulate trade and exchange of ideas which will lead to more sustainable development for all parties,” according to a press release.
According to Dr. Ewa I. Ewa, the international programming will expose students and faculty to a rigorous curriculum in Pre-Law, STEAM, Business and Social Services among other classes. Areas of collaboration will include:
- Exchange of undergrad students from Edwin Clark University in study abroad programs through Chicago State University with the objective of enrolling students in courses appropriate to their year and area of study and providing access to cultural activities as part of the study abroad experience.
- Exchange of graduate students with the objective of enrolling students in select graduate programs for which admission requirements are met.
- Exchange of academic projects, course information, seminars, conference and any other data and information of common interest.
- Provision of an opportunity for faculty to explore common interest with the goal of developing joint projects and other collaborative initiatives.
- Support reciprocity in other university activities of common interest.
A statement put out by the university states that CSU is the oldest independently accredited public university in Chicago. A foreigners-friendly institution, with a mission of creating an informed global community of scholars, CSU is the only public university in the great state of Illinois that offers a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies (IS) and commits to a multicultural learning environment.
Originally founded in 1867 as an experimental teacher training school, the institution has evolved into a multipurpose university committed to meeting the needs of students from across the United States and the world at large. The university offers Baccalaureate, Masters, and Ph.D. degrees with professional certificates in various areas.
Edwin Clark University (ECU) is a multidisciplinary institution established by the Edwin Kiagbodo Clark Foundation (EKCF) in 2015. Named after Edwin Kiagbodo Clark who was appointed Commissioner of Education by General Yakubu Gowon, he sees the powerful role that education plays in national development and cohesion. And articulates the view that education is about empowerment, creativity, and encompasses character building and a good sense of judgment.
The two schools, after years of planning and negotiations by Vice Chancellor Timothy Olagbemiro, Dorothy Charles Koko, Foundation Secretary of Edwin Clark University of the Delta State of Nigeria and Dr. Thomas J. Calhoun have finally cemented a much needed trans-Atlantic educational partnership.
“Chicago State University aims to be the best urban public university in the Midwest, said Dr. Thomas Calhoun, CSU president. We are working aggressively to develop relationships internationally with high-quality institutions across the globe. In today’s global economy it is important for our students and faculty to work and learn cross-culturally, fostering relationships that will support the advancement of our university”
“This is a great opportunity for both Universities,” said Dr. Angela Henderson, Provost of CSU.