WORKSHOP ON INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Date: April 28, 1992
Location: Mace Lodge, Austin Cary Forest
Time: S:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Sponsors: Office of International Studies and Programs
International Programs, IFAS
Program Coordinators: Max R. Langham
D. Mitchell Flinchum
WORKSHOP ON INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Current UF leadership at the highest levels seems supportive of a strong international
involvement. It is also a time of national debate on the directions U.S. technical assistance should
take. During this period of new looks, it is appropriate that we at UF review our international
efforts and thinking. The guiding principle of the Workshop is to think openly as a community
of scholars about ways we can strengthen our comparative advantages as an institution in doing
international work. If successful at the end of this workshop we will have made progress toward
the specific objectives of:
1. gaining insights into our strengths and weaknesses and interest in international
2. improving our model of institutional-building assistance,
3. better positioning ourselves to market our services in a mode of responsiveness,
sensitivity, and flexibility, and
4. providing input into the national debate on new directions assistance should take.
The method that will be used in the workshop is to discuss postulated issues with benefit of
experiences--especially those we have had with our AEP project at the University Center of
Dschang and with the cooperative agreement established between the University of Yaounde and
the University of Florida.
Investments in Human Capital and Some problems
The process of helping countries with investments in human capital has great payoff. There is no
better way to win the minds and hearts of people than by helping add to their stock of
knowledge--essentially because such additions are a prime determinant of growth in their
productivity.' One does not have to be long in a developing country to realize that it is the
'In an early study of the U.S. economy, Denison estimated that about 2/3 of the growth in
output per unit of input in the U.S. economy during the 41-year period 1929-69 was attributable
to factors made up predominantly of advancements in knowledge.
investment in human capital that have provided the most sustainable payoff to past USAID
programs.2 It is also clear that current levels of investments in human capital remain quite
inadequate and that there are too few good indigenous colleges and universities.
The U.S. cannot be all things to all people. However, we do have the capacity in our universities
J, q to assist with the tasks of helping the less developed countries establish the human capital needed
0- for at least one good land-grant-type institution in any African country that has a strong internal
a' commitment for such assistance. By increasing the capacity of countries to educate their own, to
discover new knowledge through science, and to disseminate such knowledge to those who can
profitably use it, we will have indeed "taught them to fish." We will have also provided them with
a basis for an effective demand to buy the items they want from our "catch". It is a win-win
Our assistance is needed for both U.S.-based and in-country training. Investments in individuals
for study in the U.S. toward advanced degrees is essential for developing a human capital base for
the long-term sustainability of an indigenous educational capacity. Investments in advanced
degree training are long-term. The average time required for study for the Ph.D is 4 plus years
beyond the baccalaureate. Added time is required for experience to learn how to effectively use
/1 the knowledge in a real-world context. The time required for such investments to bear fruit and
,t/ the fact that they are embedded in an individual do not make them very attractive from a political
.0 ',, perspective. We need to continually recognize that not everyone favors such investments in
human capital--particularly when they are embedded in citizens of a foreign land--and that
A USAID needs our support in selling the need for such efforts to our political leaders.
Long- and short-term training are complements and any involvement of U.S. universities should
imply a willingness of its faculty to develop an on-going relationship dedicated to a continuation
of the dialogue and interchange required for professional growth. Indeed, the concept of a life
time of study is being increasingly recognized as a necessity in most areas of human endeavor.
Brief periods of study are continually needed to update skills and to teach new techniques.
Whether long- or short-term the training should be designed to teach teachers so that a local base
exists to pass the knowledge on to others.
There is considerable good will toward U.S. universities in most developing countries. People
throughout the world recognize the excellence of higher education in the U.S., and significant
numbers in positions of responsibility have fond memories and respect and owe much to their
higher educational experiences in our country. This is a positive factor which should help to
assure a role for U.S. schools in future USAID efforts.
2Even more striking in Africa is the observable long-term impact of mission schools run by
churches. Nearly every person in a position of leadership can trace his or her education either
directly or indirectly to such schools.
However, the U.S. educational establishment can no more rest on its past laurels than other areas
of competition. The message for universities is not unlike that for automobiles--there must be a
good product and it must be well marketed. We have erred on both counts. Our staffing of
projects has not always reflected the average quality of our tenured faculties, and institutional
rigidities have not always permitted us to sell our services well. Our reluctance in U.S.
universities to compete and come head-to-head with agencies such as The World Bank and private
consulting firms is often interpreted by USAID as one of disinterest and inflexibility.,
Partly as a consequence, USAID has been moving away from projects which involve long-term
investments in human capital in favor of quick-look or short-term projects which exploit the
comparative advantages of consulting firms. USAID often use these quick-look projects manned
by a consulting firm as a basis for justifying contracts between recipient governments and USAID
missions which are, in turn, carried out in-house by the USAID missions. Such procedures have
led to a current fad in USAID of attempting to bring about institutional change by performance
contracts with local governments. As a specific example, two projects in Cameroon pay ROC in a
series of steps to privatize certain economic functions in coffee and fertilizer marketing. And like
all USAID projects such efforts require periodic evaluations. A general weakness of such
valuative studies is that they attempt to measure effects that have had insufficient time to be
observable in the system and the evaluations are more "cooked" than real. We submit that such
efforts which attempt to substitute for investments in the human capital required to understand
why changes are needed and how best to initiate them in the context of local cultures will in most
cases fail. Furthermore, we would argue that long- and short-term human-capital investments
which utilize the comparative advantages of universities are essential and cost-effective elements
of a development strategy.
There are grounds for dissatisfaction by USAID with past efforts by universities. Some of these
are associated with the excess demand for trained people and do not result in a loss to the
development process. The international market for people trained at advanced levels results in
some leakages of recipients of training--almost always with the best and brightest. This means
that the payoff will spill out and not be captured for its planned use. However, there can also be
spillins and the fruits of some other investments captured. There are also leakages to positions not
directly associated with the nature of the training investment. The investment in an agronomist
may be lost to an administrative position. Often such assignments in developing countries seem to
exploit titles resulting from human capital investments rather than the knowledge base embedded
in them. If there is a reasonably free market for trained people, we should probably relax and
place more faith in the market. The bottom line is that we should probably concern ourselves
with increasing the supply to meet the excess demand and not worry so much about such leakages
which probably have a net positive benefit in the total scheme of the development process.
As indicated earlier, the long-term nature of investments in human capital make them more
difficult to support among politically-based constituencies often concerned with their short-term
survival. This is probably no small factor in USAID's planning since they must justify their
budget each year. We need, as universities, to provide more support for USAID as they seek
budget appropriations for funds for the development of the institutions needed for human-capital
Universities must share blame for past weaknesses in the training of foreign students. Until the
early 1980s many universities used double standards. Particular weaknesses were in professional
training at the highest levels. The excess demand which existed for graduates led to the excuse
that students would move into administrative duties and need not be guided by the same
standards. Often students were shuttled into rather empty courses with little substance or into
courses based on advanced scientific technology that was either nonexistent in home environments
or too costly to become a part of sustainable programs. Also, admission standards were relaxed,
often with the blessing of USAID, to accommodate applicants well positioned politically for
selection for study.
In short, there are grounds for concern about efficacy of past USAID institutional-building
projects contracted to U.S. universities. However, in the early 1980s double standards for foreign
students began to disappear in most university programs as these institutions better understood the
needs abroad and as the background qualifications of foreign applicants improved. Nevertheless,
there is a large number of mid-career professionals whose research and professional efforts suffer
as a consequence of several factors. First, they generally have not had access to good libraries and
the advantages of interchange provided by the annual programs of strong professional associations.
Secondly, their home institutions seldom effectively provide for sabbatical experiences and travel
to professional meetings, and thirdly, if trained before the late 1980's, their study probably
suffered a bit from the double-standard problem. Nearly all would benefit from a sabbatical type
experience and this matter should be addressed as we look to the future with institutional building
Issues for Discussion on Future Directions of
International Involvement at UF
Except for the opening session, the program is organized around issues for discussion--some of
which are posed as questions. We hasten to add that intellectual space is infinite and knows no
boundaries--so none of the questions or issues should be interpreted as trying to put any faculty
member in a box with respect to their professional work. The issues are offered more in the spirit
that we cannot be all things to all people and that we must as a University do quality work if we
are to make a meaningful difference.
The opening session is designed to provide background on the AEP in Dschang. Hopefully, this
background will help us more fully use the experience of this project as we look to the future in
the discussion of issues. Speakers in Session I are asked to review such things as objectives,
achievements (including quality aspects of what was done well and poorly), probable effects
(including long-term sustainability issues), and lessons for the future.
In sessions 2 and 3, a written position is presented on issues for an opener to use as he or she sees
fit, i.e. the opener can agree and strengthen the position or disagree and challenge it. Hopefully,
challenges will end with a new position for group discussion.
8:30 a.m., Introductory Remarks on the Purpose and Plan of the Workshop
Max R. Langham
8:40 a.m., Session 1.--Background information on Cameroon:
Chairman: James M. Davidson
From the Perspective of the Director: Hugh Popenoe
From the Perspective of the Chief of Party: Peter A. Hartmann
From the Perspective of a Member of the Design Team for Phase II: Daniel L. Schankland
Spt T- From the Perspective of the Director General: Jean Mfoulou
10:00 a.m. Open Discussion
10:30 a.m. Coffee
10:45 a.m. Session 2.-- Issues:
Chairman: Madelyn M. Lockhart
I. What areas of cooperation, types of technical assistance, and institutions should we target
for a continuing relationship?
Opener: Uma Lele
Discussion Position: Areas of cooperation and technical assistance can be as diverse as our UF
programs and should in our opinion be driven by meaningful educational and instructional
opportunities which can be developed within that diversity. A guiding principle should be to
think University wide for sources of program support with the objective of strengthening our
Priorities for involvement should be with institutions which have educational and research
responsibilities as their main products. We should also give priority to cooperative efforts from
which we can benefit and grow as an institution. We should avoid purely service, water-carrying
activities which, in execution, have little opportunity for professional growth and development.
We should avoid the temptations of rent-seeking bureaucratic behavior.
2. What can the University of Florida do to better structure itself for international work and
to prepare faculty for both short- and long-term overseas assignments?
Opener: Larry J. Connor
In his brief tenure John V. Lombardi has set a positive tone for international work. Over time,
his influence will have an impact. However, more is needed at the college and departmental
levels. When new people are interviewed for positions, they need to get a clear signal that we
view international work as an integral part of our life as a university and that we have an
expectation that all faculty be aware and involved in this dimension of our academic life from the
perspective of their position and discipline. And, at some point in the future they may be called
upon to participate directly in the area of their expertise.
12:15 p.m., Lunch:
1:00 p.m., Session 3: Issues (continued)
Chairman: Doris A. Tichenor
3. In Cameroon, we are charged with assisting in the creation of a land-grant-type
university. This type of institution of higher education implies strength in the research
and outreach components. It also implies meeting the educational needs of people for a
better life. In this sense the land-grant model implies a private versus bureaucratic
clientele. How can we foster research and outreach efforts to improve the lives of
individuals in the top-down environments of most developing countries?
Opener: Max R. Langham
Discussion Position: Our assistance must be research driven with the objective of solving problems
associated with the fundamental needs of peoples lives in a modern world. Studies on the benefits
of outreach programs indicate that these activities have high payoff when there is useful
information to extend. For this reason, the process must be research driven. In developing
countries, applied research has been shown to give higher rates of return on investments while in
developed countries more basic research activities show higher rates of return. This research on
returns to research implies, therefore, a division of labor in our cooperative research ventures
with less developed countries.
In most developing countries there is an over investment in outreach activities. The problem is
the lack of reliable knowledge for the decision environments which exist. Extension type
activities cannot substitute for the missing and needed research to create such information. This
problem is exacerbated by the lack of human capital investments needed for strong applied
research programs. It is also doubtful if research in a university environment of developing
countries as called for by the land-grant model can survive for long in the absence of graduate
programs. Our position, therefore, is that work in Cameroon should move increasingly toward
simultaneously establishing stronger research and two or three M.S. programs in departments with
the research personnel to support them. We should also encourage USAID toward this model of
greater emphasis on research versus extension.
4. How can individual faculty members and units of UF better serve our international efforts
from a stateside position?
Opener: D. Mitchell Flinchum
There are needs for short-term training. Most of us are rather insensitive to such needs--mainly
because they have not been a part of our professional agendas. We need to develop a greater sense
of awareness as to how our work may contribute to the demand for information and training in an
international setting. Those who have had international experience may have a better image of
the environments or context for such information. However, we all have access to colleagues with
such experience and we can all take a bit of time to familiarize ourselves with the basic
requirements of our institutional efforts in the international arena.
We also need to develop programs in a collaborative mode with our international counterparts.
Close collaboration is particularly needed in the development of research and outreach initiatives.
5. Closely related to nearly every issues is the important issue of long-term sustainability of
Opener: Chris Andrew
Discussion Position: Too often, particularly with technical assistance programs, the issue of
sustainability is framed as the question, "What can we do that will assure that what we have started
will be sustainable after we leave?" Perhaps the old adage "You can't go home", with a slightly
different interpretation, is applicable here. Stated positively, the sustainability issue should be
framed as, "What can we do after the formal technical-assistance project has ended to assure a
continuing progressive relationship?" We need to concern ourselves more with building intellectual
and institutional community. If we can do that successfully, the sustainability and perhaps
funding issues which dominate our thinking will both become more tractable.
The model which focuses on continuing and strengthening relationships has implications for the
types of personnel we involve. We should target candidates for involvement who have 5 to 10
years experience and will be around for a continuing relationship. Also, we should foster the
expectation that at least a short-term foreign assignment is an institutional expectation of every
3:00 p.m., Coffee
3:15 p.m., Session 4 Where to from Here and Summary:
Chairman: Uma Lele
Panel on "Where to from Here?": Rratd-hen, Terry L. McCoy, C.P. Patrick Reid, and
Workshop Summary: Lawrence W. Libby
4:30 p.m. Workshop Adjourns