A delegation from Fort Hays State University will depart this week for Saudi Arabia to participate in the International Exhibition & Conference on Higher Education.
Cindy Elliott, assistant provost for strategic partnerships and dean of distance learning, believes prospective students in that part of the world will see FHSU as an especially appealing place to pursue a college degree. "We are different," she said. "FHSU is a smaller university in a safe community in the United States, and yet we have abundant experience internationally."
FHSU established partnerships with universities in China more than a decade ago and currently has about 3,500 students there who are pursuing FHSU degrees. Also, StateUniversity.com, which bills itself as the leading website for college information, recently ranked FHSU as the safest campus in Kansas.
The higher education conference runs from April 16 through 19 in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The FHSU delegation includes Elliott and Dr. Houssain Kettani, professor of informatics and director of the Information Systems Engineering Program.
This will be the first time FHSU has attended the conference.
FHSU will be promoting the new engineering program. ISE is a multidisciplinary area of study that involves software, digital storage and retrieval, networks, human computer interaction, information security, digital design, and electronic media. Graduates in this field are in high demand at various governmental agencies and private companies. The delegation will also promote FHSU's English as a Second Language program.
Elliott said FHSU has 45 Saudi students on campus and hopes to attract more. "Our students from Saudi Arabia are extremely pleased with the environment of FHSU and Hays and with the quality of the education they are receiving," she said.
Most of the Saudi students in Hays are studying informatics after completing an intensive English language program.
While in Saudi Arabia, the FHSU delegation will travel to other cities to develop partnerships. "Our program in mainland China delivers joint bachelor's degrees to Chinese students without them having to study abroad in the United States," Elliott explained. "We hope to develop similar partnerships in Saudi Arabia in addition to recruiting additional Saudi students to Hays."