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$1.1 Million Grant Supports Transatlantic Forest Resource Management Degree

A new grant awarded to North Carolina State University, along with Michigan Technological University (MTU), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the University of Helsinki (UH), will fund a dual master’s degree program that will encourage European and North American collaboration in forest resource management. The $1.1 million grant is jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and the European Union’s European Commission, Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency.

The program, called ATLANTIS – Actions for Transatlantic Links and Academic Networks for Training and Integrated Studies – will fund students to complete a trans-Atlantic master’s degree program in forest resources. Graduates of the program will possess professional knowledge, language and intercultural communication skills invaluable for successful forestry careers in international environments.

“Due to historical, cultural and geo-climatic reasons, European and North American approaches to forest resource management practices are different in many respects that are often wedged within national tradition,” says Dr. Bronson Bullock, associate professor of forest biometrics and timber management in NC State’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. “We hope graduates of this dual-degree program will have an international perspective on forest management that will allow for innovative solutions for global forestry issues.”

“Developing dual-degree programs is one of the most important internationalization strategies at NC State because it integrates global perspectives into the academic experience for both faculty and students and builds institutional commitment to international programs,” says Dr. Bailian Li, NC State’s vice provost for international affairs.

The two-year dual master’s degree program is composed of disciplines of scientific and educational excellence from each partner institution. Approximately four to five students from each university will be selected each year, from fall 2009 through spring 2012. Students will spend a total of one year at either NC State or MTU, and one semester at both SLU and UH. All students will meet the requirements for master’s degrees from one university in the United States and one in Europe and receive degrees from both universities.

The grant funding will also allow for an exchange of academic staff and researchers, increasing collaboration between institutions.

“Our hope is that the ATLANTIS program will cross train students, allowing them to emerge as leaders that can look at forestry from a global perspective,” Bullock says.

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