FHSU joins partnership with Italian university that emphasizes environmental sustainability

Fort Hays State University and St. John International University of Italy have agreed to a unique partnership that could provide the foundation for an innovative new International Bachelor's Degree. 

A delegation from SJIU -- Foundress Lorenzina Zampedri, President Piero Ceria and Provost Dennis Bava -- traveled to Hays and met Monday with Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, and Cindy Elliott, assistant provost for strategic partnerships and dean of distance learning, to confirm details for the partnership.

With Bava acting as interpreter, Zampedri spoke in Italian and emphasized that the timing of the partnership was especially fortunate because of the benefit it would provide to students during this period of economic difficulty. "A university education helps young people respond to the challenges of the future," she said, adding that she believes study-abroad programs have special value.

FHSU and SJIU officials are hopeful that a student exchange may happen as early as the fall of 2010. The partnership evolved after an FHSU professor, Dr. Steve Trout, learned about SJIU during a trip to Europe and saw the potential for collaboration. Representatives from the two schools met in October 2008 in Boston to begin discussions.

Zampedri said during the Monday meeting that she and the other SJIU officials were interested in FHSU because the two schools shared social values. SJIU offers undergraduate degrees in Art History, Business Administration, Environmental Architecture, Environmental Science and Film Studies. It offers graduate programs in Business, Arts Administration and Architecture, emphasizing the environment in its curriculum. 

She said FHSU's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint through peak shaving of electrical usage and other energy-saving initiatives showed its commitment to environmental sustainability.

President Hammond said he was especially impressed that SJIU had sought and received U.S. accreditation to issue college credit. Gov. John Lynch of New Hampshire signed legislation on Aug. 10 giving degree-granting authority by his state to SJIU. Hammond said the U.S. accreditation would greatly facilitate his vision for transferring credits in an International Bachelor's Degree, in which a student would attend college in a different country each year for four years. FHSU, SJIU and Sias International University in Xinzheng, China, have entered discussions for the new degree, meaning that only one more partner university would be needed. 

SJIU is located just outside the city of Torino, in Vinovo. The campus is housed in Della Rovere, a renaissance castle dating back to the 16th century. The main administrative office is located in Concord, N.H.

SJIU offers an authentic Italian experience in a city that is important commercially and culturally, and that has the distinction of being the last artistic urban center in Italy to remain largely undiscovered by mass tourism. Torino was selected as the site for the university because of its reputation as a European business center, its forward-thinking achievements in the fields of research and technology, and its architectural historic beauty. There are countless opportunities for internships with local businesses looking to meet the demands of the global market. Provost Bava pointed out that Torino is home to Fiat, which recently acquired ownership in Chrysler.

For program applications and information on upcoming conferences and workshops at St. John International University, or to request brochures, visit www.sjiu.it or call its U.S. office at (603) 227-9100, or the university campus directly at Castello Della Rovere in Vinovo, Italy, +39 011-550-9248. 

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Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu