Special Report by iNEER Correspondent

6 May 2000, Carbondale, IL

A high level delegation from the Silesian University of Technology (SUT) in Poland recently completed a successful tour of U.S. institutions to explore common areas for future cooperation.

The group was composed of Wojciech Zielinski, Vice Rector for Education, Remiguisz Sosnowski, Vice Rector for Science, and Jerzy Barglik, Director of Graduate Studies. In the U.S. from April 25 Ė May 5, 2000, they held what were described as "highly productive" talks with administrators, faculty and students at the University of Missouri in Rolla, Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Located in one of Polandís main industrial centers in Upper Silesia, and the second largest technical university in the country, SUT was established in 1945 as a major state university. Today, it has 27,000 students, with campuses in Gliwice and Katowice.

The delegationís visits resulted from preliminary discussion held last year in the Czech Republic during ICEE-1999. "We discovered that SUT shared a lot of common interests with the campuses in Carbondale and Rolla, mainly because of our abundant coal supplies," said Sosnowski.

Zielinski said he was pleased to make the trip, and noted that the time is ripe for increased cooperation between Poland and the U.S. in engineering education. He stated: "Our University has started a restructuring of its syllabuses to meet the demands for university education and continuous professional development of the workforce. Because of this, there is an excellent opportunity to develop more cooperation."

At Southern Illinois University, the visitors were hosted by George Swisher, Dean of the College of Engineering. He told them: "We welcome you and believe we have much to share and to learn from one another. We look forward to increased interaction."

Dr. Vittal Rao, Director of Intelligent Systems Center and Rutledge-Emerson Professor of Electrical Engineering, hosted the Polish visitors at the University of Missouri-Rolla. The delegation was able to spend nearly two days visiting with faculty in Mechanical, Electrical, Mining and Metallurgical Engineering Departments, and in Intelligent Systems and Materials Research Centers. UMR Vice Chancellor for Student and International Affairs, Wendell R. Ogrosky, told the group: "Through the work of Dr. Rao and other faculty, UMR has developed a deep interest in sharing ideas on engineering education. We believe your visit will result in a relationship in which the exchange of ideas will be mutually beneficial."

Enroute back to Poland, the delegation spent a few days in Washington, DC and paid a courtesy call to the National Science Foundation in Arlington, VA.

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