Mason Signs MOU with Nigerian University System

Posted: November 20, 2009 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: November 19, 2009 at 4:49 pm

By Anne Schiller, associate provost for international projects

Representatives from Nigerian and Mason administrators signed a memorandum of understanding on Nov. 13. From left, Caption. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Representatives from Nigeria's National University Commission (NUC) and Mason administrators signed a memorandum of understanding on Nov. 13. From left, NUC Deputy Director Chris Maiyaki; Mason Provost Peter Stearns; NUC Executive Secretary Julius Okojie; and Mason President Alan Merten. Photo by Evan Cantwell

A delegation of administrative leaders from the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s National University Commission (NUC), the agency charged with reform and innovation in that country’s higher education sector, visited the Fairfax Campus on Nov. 13 to inaugurate a new relationship with Mason and sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Mason and the NUC.

The NUC delegation was headed by Executive Secretary Julius Okojie and Deputy Director Chris Maiyaki. In addition to President Alan Merten and Provost Peter Stearns, Mason was represented by professors from New Century College, the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering, and the College of Education and Human Development.

The MOU signing was followed by spirited discussion of potential areas of collaboration between Mason and Nigerian institutions.

Okojie noted that, following civil war in his country, many Nigerian students abroad did not return home, and the national university system entered a period of decline. Nigeria today has embarked on an ambitious program to strengthen its higher education system through faculty development training, curriculum revision, creation of new certificate programs and more.

George Mason University, Okojie emphasized, possesses the required expertise to advise the NUC on creating strong learning environments and attractive academic programs, as well as confronting the challenges facing Nigerian higher education.

Okojie plans to return in January 2010 to continue talks with the president, provost and Mason faculty members about next steps.

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