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UNT Insider | July 2007 Issue | UNT to provide doctoral training to faculty in Thailand

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Moving Forward: UNT signs agreement to provide
doctoral training to faculty at Thai Rajabhat universities

From InHouse, UNT's faculty and staff news source

The University of North Texas will provide doctoral instruction to the faculty members from 35 of Thailand's Rajabhat Universities, which are seeking to improve their academic credentials and provide more comprehensive educational opportunities to their nation.

Gretchan Bataille signs agreement in Thailand

President Gretchen M. Bataille signs the agreement that will provide doctoral training to faculty at Thai Rajabhat Universities.

UNT President Gretchen M. Bataille and 35 Thai Rajabhat university presidents signed an agreement July 9 in Bangkok that will provide funding from Thailand to support faculty members' study in doctoral programs that will be coordinated jointly by UNT and the Thai universities. The signing ceremony was convened by Krissanapong Kirtikara, Secretary General for the Commission of Higher Education, Ministry of Education.

The Thai government intends for more than 30 percent of the Rajabhat faculty members to have doctoral degrees by 2014.

"This exciting new partnership between the universities of Thailand and UNT stands to make a tremendous difference in the quality of education and life for the people of Thailand, while also significantly enriching the educational experience for all UNT students," Bataille says. "It is my hope that UNT will engage in more of these partnerships, which seek to improve our global community and strengthen the quality of UNT's academic fiber.

"I am grateful to Dr. Panu Sittiwong, who is deputy president for international affairs at Uttaradit Rajabhat University and a proud UNT alumnus, for driving the effort to connect UNT with Thailand in this way." After the July 9 signing, Bataille met with Thailand's Interim Prime Minister, Gen. Surayud Chulanont, to discuss the importance of this partnership to the development and growth of higher education in Thailand. Then, the presidents participated in planning sessions to discuss how the universities will work together to provide doctoral education to the Thai faculty members, as well as online English education for Thai students and faculty.

Bataille says it is hoped that a project director position soon will be in place at UNT to oversee the placement of Thai faculty into doctoral programs that best suit their teaching assignments in Thailand. While studying at UNT, the Thai faculty will participate in workshops designed to enhance teaching skills and academic leadership. Because of the high volume of students, it is likely that some students will be placed in programs at other American universities.

Further planning of how the program will work will continue when the Thai university presidents visit UNT the week of Homecoming, which is Oct. 27.

In addition, plans are being made to develop opportunities for both UNT and Thai students beyond the doctoral education joint-study program. Possible examples include:

  • sending students in UNT's Teaching English as a Second Language program to teach and conduct research in Thai universities
  • sending Thai students in higher education administration to UNT to "shadow" administrators and participate in university governance activities.

More than 100 UNT alumni gathered July 9 in Bangkok to meet UNT's president and the other administrators, including Greg McQueen, senior vice president for Advancement, James C. Scott, dean of the College of Music, and Rebecca Smith-Murdock, interim executive director of International Studies and Programs, who traveled to the country for the agreement signing ceremony.

Bataille with Thai university faculty

There are more than 1,000 UNT alumni in Thailand, many of whom hold influential positions in education, business and government.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were as many as 200 Thai students studying at UNT each semester. From 1992 to 1998, the Thai Embassy placed Royal Thai Scholars in summer graduate preparation programs in UNT's Intensive English Language Institute. This program resumed this summer and 35 Royal Thai Scholars are currently studying at UNT. A similar program also takes place at the University of Delaware, the only other university selected to host Royal Thai Scholars.

"It is because of UNT's long and deep connections with Thailand, and the influence of our alumni in that country, that UNT was selected as the exclusive partner to provide doctoral education to the faculty members at the Rajabhat Universities," Bataille says.

In addition to the education ties to Thailand, UNT enjoys a unique musical relationship with His Majesty the King of Thailand.

In 2004, UNT distinguished alumnus Charn Uswachoke arranged for the One O'Clock Lab Band to visit Thailand to perform for the King in Hua Hin Palace, where UNT presented His Majesty with an honorary doctorate in music. The band also presented classes to music students at Chulalongkorn University and performed a sold-out benefit concert for the King's Charities.

His Majesty the King of Thailand first experienced the UNT One O'Clock Lab Band when he visited President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House and the band performed. UNT's jazz program is the nation's first and is consistently ranked the best.

Read other stories in this issue:

July 2007

About UNT Insider

The UNT Insider, a monthly e-newsletter, connects UNT alumni and others to the university by letting you hear directly from President Gretchen M. Bataille.

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