Group Title: International focus
Title: International focus. Vol. 16. No. 3.
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 Material Information
Title: International focus. Vol. 16. No. 3.
Series Title: International focus
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publisher: Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publication Date: March 2005
Subject: University of Florida.   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00076678
Volume ID: VID00004
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida

Full Text

Al PP R 5 Z 0 05

March 2005

Vol. 16, No. 3


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UF/IFAS International Programs Office of the Vice President for Agriculture & Natural Resources Gainesville, Florida 32611

CALS develops international distance education programs

The International Programs Of-
fice and several departments
have been bringing distance ed-
ucation at UF/IFAS into the interna-
tional arena. The soil and water sci-
ence department and the entomology
and nematology department under the
leadership of chairmen Ramesh Reddy
and John Capinera, respectively, have
blazed the trail for distance degree
programs in the College of Agricultur-
al and Life Sciences.
Through the UF/IFAS partnership
with CIAT the International Center
for Tropical Agriculture efforts are
underway to link international re-
search centers and foreign universities
with UF departments offering distance
education degrees. A pilot project,
funded in part by USAID, will bring
students from Africa to the UF curric-
ulum without leaving their homes. In-
ternational Programs is exploring link-
ages with other regions as well.
The master's programs allow inter-
national students to obtain master's de-

From the director
Florida and Georgia
Share international interest
By Roger Natzke '
A recent meeting '
with Ed Kanemasu.
director of Interna-
tional Programs at the
University\ of Georgia. ..
and his assistant di- A.

grees without taking courses on the UF
campus. Application and admission
processes as well as credit require-
ments are identical to those of on-cam-
pus students.
Master's programs for international
students will be offered in soil and wa-
ter science and entomology and nema-
tology in the fall. Individual courses
already are being developed in other
Delivery of course materials varies
with departments and programs. Soil
and water science relies on a Web-
based course delivered through DSL.
Some of these courses involve using
GIS, which needs high speed Internet
service. Another method is to send
CD-roms with course material on
PowerPoint presentations. Students in-
teract with their faculty by e-mail and
in chat rooms, and they can take Web-
based exams.
Another potential component, video
conferencing, allows real-time instruc-
tion for collaborating institutions that

rector, Vicki Collins. "as very fruit-
ful. In the meeting we re% iewed the
international efforts at the two schools
with the intent of gleaning good ideas
from each other. Georgia continues to
ha'e strong programs across the
globe. In man\ cases Florida and
Georgia are interacting with people
from the same country and the same
See Florida and Georaia, p. 2

have compatible equipment.
As part of the initial program, four
pilot students from Colombia were en-
rolled in UF/IFAS distance education
classes in three departments during
the fall semester. The experience of
the students and faculty provided
feedback for improving the program.
An evaluation of the program showed
that students and CIAT found the
courses extremely useful and identi-
fied some issues to be addressed re-
garding connectivity and advantages
and disadvantages of methods of de-
livery. Another cadre of pilot students
is expected in the fall semester, this
time expanding to locations in Kenya
and Uganda, Africa.
This is just the beginning of explor-
ing new designs for international grad-
uate degree programs and institutional
capacity building, said International
Programs Director Rober Natzke.
More innovative ideas are needed as
UF creates opportunities to link inter-
national students to distance education
degree programs in UF/IFAS.
In FebnmarN. Natzke established the
International Distance Education
Committee and charged it w ith de% el-
oping a strategy and business plan to
assure successful ero% th of an inter-
SeeDistance education, p. 2

I. F[, l~T OF


Telephone: 352 392-1965 FAX: 352 392-7127 Website:

Distance education, from p. 1
national distance education programs
in the College of Agricultural and
Life Sciences.
With the formation of the Interna-
tional Distance Education Commit-
tee, CALS has established an institu-
tion-wide commitment to making dis-
tance-learning programs available to
international students. CALS has set
a fee of $300 a credit for distance
learning, a third of the cost of out-of-
state tuition for master's credits.
In the fall of 2005, the first dis-
tance education master's students
from CIAT begin their program in
soil and water science. A student
starting next fall is focusing on the
value of environmental services in the
Andes basin.
Entomology and nematology offers
international distance education mas-
ter's degrees based on a program de-
veloped for students in Florida. The
programs one in entomology, the
other in pest management accept
any qualified student, regardless of

Florida and Georgia, from p. 1
With the MCC having just ap-
proved the first of their compacts with
Madagascar there appears to be a real
opportunities to get involved with one
or several of the 16 countries that are
eligible for grants. The key to being
successful in obtaining a subcontract
on one of these grants will be heavy ily
dependant upon having the right con-
tacts with the leaders in those coun-
trie.s. The level of trust achieved as a
result of knowing someone and having
worked with them \\ill be extremely
valuable in developing working rela-
tionships. Here is an area where our
two institutions can complement each
other with our multiple contacts. Each
of our institutions has graduates in
leadership positions in the targeted
One would anticipate that with the
time constraints that the countries w ill
have in initiating programs and being

location. Because the programs are
not research degrees, students are not
required to have access to an exten-
sive research laboratory. Students
will need contact with their UF/IFAS
adviser when they take their final
exam or defend their final project.
Students at research centers such
as CIAT could incorporate a research
dimension into the program. Ento-
mology is a specialized field. It is not
available at many agricultural univer-
sities abroad, so it is important that
UF/IFAS offer this program without
limitations in location, Capinera said.
Students who don't want to pursue
the entire degree or cannot meet the
standard for acceptance can take
courses via distance education and
obtain a certificate in entomology or
pest management.
Agricultural education and com-
munication has a distance education
master's program for Florida exten-
sion agents and students. The depart-
ment is considering modifying the
program and making it available to

able to show results quickly, that the
amount of work included in each sub-
contract will be relatively large. The
MCC administrators simply will not
have the time to deal with a multitude
of small projects. Thus with the team
approach we are more likely to have
both the expertise available and fac-
ulty free to do the work %when the
schedule demands.
Kanemasu and I met recently
with the agricultural leadership of the
MCC in Washington to gain more in-
sight into the strategy for getting in-
volved. Honduras and Nicaragua are
likely to be two of the next countries
that sign compacts, and we look for-
ward to play ing a role in their de el-
opment projects.
Roger Natzke is senior associate dean
and director of International Programs
Contact )

national and international students.
Many international students preparing
for a career in extension look to uni-
versities in the United States, said
Nick Place, an associate professor in
the department. Because the program
is based largely on social science, the
cultural context of students in the
home country is useful for research.
The initial phase of international
distance learning for agricultural edu-
cation and communication involves a
joint course development project with
CIAT. Vicente Zapata, researcher with
CIAT's Rural Innovation Institute, vis-
ited UF/IFAS in March to explore the
design and establishment of a dis-
tance-learning course in participatory
methodologies for rural development.
Distance education offers enormous
cost savings to students and funding
agencies such as USAID. There are no
travel and living expenses, and those
with full-time jobs can continue their
work. The $300 per credit hour cost
also is a strong incentive. Students do
not need to obtain visas.
Faculty do not yet see large num-
bers of international students enrolling
at UF/IFAS through distance educa-
tion programs. Graduate students need
to w ork under the supervision of a UF/
IFAS faculty member, with an adviser
in their home university who is quali-
fied to meet the standards required by
UF/IFAS. These students may need
sophisticated laboratory equipment.
A significant issue is the demand of
time on the UF/IFAS faculty member,
\ ho must deal with each distance edu-
cation student on an individual basis.
De\ eloping course materials, partici-
pating in chat rooms, corresponding
by e-mails are just a few of the ele-
ments of a distance education course
that require more time per student than
a similar. campus-based class.

( Lisette Staal.
Nick Comerford nbc @ifas. ufl. edu


Millie Ferrer brings
Millie Ferrer, UF/IFAS' new asso-
ciate dean for extension, brings
international background and a com-
mitment to a multicultural population
to her work. Interaction
with people of other cul-
tures, whether they are in U
the United States or
abroad, is a positive ex- -
perience, Ferrer said.
"The more we learn Ferrer
from people of other cultures and we
share what we have learned, the stron-
ger we will be," she said.
Ferrer was named associate dean in
January. Previously she served as inter-
im associate dean. Extension Dean
Larry Arrington said Ferrer's interna-
tional background is crucial to carrying
out the Cooperative Extension mission.
"Dr. Ferrer brings a wealth of
knowledge and experience to the posi-
tion of associate dean," Arrington said.

Egyptians observe
Administrators and faculty from
E-.Egyptians universities visited UF/
IFAS in March to see how UF/IFAS
tailors its programs to meet the needs
of Florida agriculture.
The first group of 18 was com-
poseds deans, department
heads and businessmen. E- '
The second group was
composed of 17 faculty.
The visits were ar- ,
ranged by International
Programs as part of the .'
Agricultural Exports for -
Rural Income Institution- Egyptian edu
al Linkage Cooperative an expe e
Agreement, a project managed by the
Midwest Universities Consortium for
International Activities.
UF/IFAS' role involves biotechnol-
ogy development, market development
and capacity building. The two visits
mark a major step in capacity building.
Five participating Egyptian univer-
March 2005

s international background to extension
"She has demonstrated a high level of ly those that lack the resources of
commitment to diversifying our pro- United States, have a separate ext
grams to reach the multicultural popu- sion system or no extension system
lation in Florida. She is committed to all. One role of UF/IFAS is to sha
internationalizing our programs knowledge with other nations so t
through faculty development efforts." they can extend the benefits of re-
Ferrer believes that an understand- search to their farmers and family
ing of other cultures is important to Ferrer served as extension spec
extension agents and others working in family, youth and community s
with Florida's multicultural popula- ences in Orange County. She is a
tion. Many communities have grow- tive of Puerto Rico and received t
ing numbers of immigrants, many bachelor's degree from Inter-Amc
from Latin America and some from University of Puerto Rico in hom
other regions. It is crucial that agents economics education. She receive
have an understanding of other cul- master's degree from New York t
tures and an empathy for immigrants versity and her Ph.D. from Florid

experiencing a new culture.
Extension also has a responsibility
to share knowledge beyond the
boundaries of Florida, Ferrer said.
The United States' land grant system
integrates teaching, research and ex-
tension. But many nations, particular-

UF/IFAS structure
sities are revising their curriculum to
better meet the needs of the agricul-
tural industry.
The administrators and business-
men visited UF/IFAS departments to
review curriculums and structures.
These officials are re-
vising courses to in-
clude more interactive
learning, hands-on ex-
Sperience and critical
S, m thinking.
During a three-week
stay, the faculty group
gators tour
tal garden, are attending lectures
tal garden. and preparing a busi-
ness analysis. Using several Florida
businesses as their laboratory they are
learning techniques to manage an op-
eration, plan for expansion and secure
( Roger Natzke,

m at
tre its

d her

State University in child development.
SMillie Ferrer, )

Travel awards granted
International Programs has awarded
the second international travel
grants to support international work in
agriculture and natural resources.
Twelve faculty members received
the grants, which are awarded twice a
year. Recipients are listed on Interna-
tional Programs website, http://
Visiting scientist
Ponphen Jitareerat, faculty at King
Mongkut's University of Technol-
ogy Thoburi, is conducting collabora-
tive research with Amy Simonne, UF/
IFAS researcher in family, youth and
community science.
Jitareerat, in the Division of Post-
havest Technology, School of Biore-
source and Technology, and Simonne
are researching microbial intervention
technologies to enhance safety and
quality of selected fresh herbs used in
many ethnic food dishes.
Amy Simonne


Office of International Programs
University of Florida
Office of the Vice President for Agriculture
and Natural Resources
P.O. Box 110282
Gainesville, FL 32611-0282

PO BOX 117001

Agreement with Bangalore focuses on silicon research

A growing awareness international-
y of the importance of silicon in
the life of plants and crop performance
is the foundation of an exchange with
University of Agricultural Sciences in
Bangalore, India.
Lawrence Datnoff, UF/IFAS lead
researcher on the role of silicon in
plant disease resistance, is the program
manager for the cooperative agree-
ment, which will foster the exchange
of research information.
This cooperative agreement broad-
ens the linkages with India, where UF/
IFAS already has four cooperative
agreements centered on topics such as
alternative energy, forestry, and mo-
lecular biology and genetics.

Silicon research at UF/IFAS
For the past 16 years, Datnoff and
other UF/IFAS researchers have ex-
plored the importance of silicon in dis-

ease resistance in rice. In the past few
years, the research has expanded to in-
clude silicon in turf, bedding plants
and ornamentals.
UF/IFAS hosted the first interna-
tional conference on the importance of
silicon in plant health and soil produc-
tivity in 1998.
Bangalore Associate Professor
Nagabovanallik Prakash contacted
Datnoff last year because of a growing
awareness in India of the role of sili-
con in plant health and crop produc-
tion. Silicon supplements have recent-
ly become available in India, but re-
searchers are unsure of the crucial in-
formation such as specific benefits,
application rate, and application tim-
ing. There is no national database on
silicon availability in Indian soils.
Under the cooperative agreement,
faculty will seek joint funding for re-
search and the establishment of a joint

specialized "referral laboratory" on
silicon in agriculture with a vision to
recognize the importance of silicon
across numerous plant species.

International workshop
Program managers have proposed
an international workshop of scientific
experts, technocrats, policy makers,
extension workers and industrialists
from key institutions and agencies that
are involved with soil fertility.
The workshop targets students, sci-
entists, entrepreneurs, extension per-
sonnel involved in educating farmers
on best production and environmental-
ly sound growing practices, health of-
ficials and nongovernmental organiza-

Lawrence Datnoff, p

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