College signs first international "2 + 2" agreement
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Penn State Harrisburg has signed its first international articulation agreement, a “2 + 2” program with India’s NMAM Institute of Technology of the Nitte Education Trust.
Under the agreement, Nitte students who complete the first two years of undergraduate study at their home institution and meet Penn State Harrisburg admission requirements may complete their final two years at Penn State Harrisburg to earn a Penn State degree in engineering, engineering technology, or computer science.
“This arrangement illustrates our strategic initiative to expand international partnerships and programs,” said Penn State Harrisburg Chancellor Mukund Kulkarni. “In the past 10 years, for example, our enrollment of international students has increased 75 percent. Enhancing the diversity of our student body and seeking global partners in research and education serves the University mission, contributes to the vitality of Central Pennsylvania, and helps to ensure that our students are well-prepared for the future.
“When it was created more than 40 years ago, Penn State Harrisburg was primarily an upper division institution focused on providing academic programs for juniors and seniors who had transferred from other locations,” Kulkarni said. “The 2+2 arrangement with Nitte fits well with this historic emphasis, as well as with our current expanded mission.”
Established in 1986 and located an hour from Mangalore, India, in the southern state of Karnataka, NMAM Institute of Technology is one of four engineering science and technical institutions within the Nitte Education Trust. NMAM offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level programs and is recognized by the All India Council for Technical Education and the National Board of Accreditation, both based in New Delhi, India.
“Given Penn State Harrisburg’s historic strengths in engineering and engineering technology – 20 percent of our degrees are conferred in engineering and related majors – the match with the Institute made sense programmatically,” said Omid Ansary, Penn State Harrisburg interim senior associate dean for academic affairs. “In developing the 2 + 2 agreement, we are pleased to have hosted Nitte President N. Vinaya Hegde and his colleagues at our campus, and to have visited the Nitte campus in India several times,” Ansary said.
According to Ansary, the connection with Nitte began as a result of a faculty research collaboration in 2008. Since then, several more business and engineering faculty members have forged working relationships with Nitte faculty, he said.
Nitte has begun promoting the 2+2 program to prospective students. The seven majors available to them at Penn State Harrisburg will include civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering; computer science; electrical engineering technology; mechanical engineering technology; and structural design and construction engineering technology.
The Harrisburg area should be a supportive environment for Nitte students, said Marie-Louise Abram, Penn State Harrisburg director of international programs and external relations. “More than 2,000 Indian families live in the region. In addition, Central Pennsylvania is the home to several corporations with significant international interests. TE Connectivity (formerly Tyco Electronics), HARSCO Corporation, and The Hershey Company have expressed support of the program,” she said.