Pennsylvania colleges, universities sign agreements to promote international education

New partnerships also will further expand exchange, research opportunities for students, faculty

Contact: Kenn Marshall, (717) 720-4054 or (717) 329-0809

​Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Global and Education Hub, which comprises both public and private colleges and universities in the state, has signed a pair of new international partnership agreements developed to promote the PA schools to students in India while providing a variety of exchange and research opportunities to students and faculty from here, as well.

The initiative, which began nearly seven years ago, already has resulted in the establishment of a pair of educational centers in Mumbai and Bangalore to strengthen collaborations between Pennsylvania and India institutions.

New agreements have been signed with Jeh and Ness Wadia of the Wadia Group and Neerja Birla of the Aditya Birla Educational Trust. They are described as “purely academic partnerships” intended to create strategic alliances and partnerships among the organizations and the participating colleges and universities that are members of the State System and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP).

Current participating schools are Bloomsburg, California, Indiana, Kutztown, Millersville, Slippery Rock, Shippensburg and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania; Gwynedd Mercy University; Harrisburg University of Science & Technology; Valley Forge Military College; York College; the Community College of Philadelphia; and Montgomery County Community College. Participating partners frequently change, depending upon program needs.

The agreements with the Wadia Group and Aditya Birla Educational Trust call for participation in pre-university programs in schools in India; student and faculty exchanges; academic partnerships, including research, program development and the offering of summer courses and programs; pre-medical/medical training in the health sciences; and professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators, including training in academic governance and leadership.

The Wadia Group’s Modern Education Society (MES) operates colleges and institutes in Pune and Mumbai that are known for excellence in education, sports and extra-curricular activities. The Wadia Group also established prestigious teaching hospitals that specialize in the care of women and children. A corollary agreement with Go Airlines, a Wadia subsidiary, allows participating Pennsylvania schools to provide professional development for GoAir employees and administrators in human resource management, cybersecurity, data analytics and other business practices.

The Aditya Birla Education Trust operates the Aditya Birla World Academy, an international school; the Aditya Birla Integrated School, which serves children with special needs; and Mpower, a center for mental health education. The Aditya Birla Education Academy works with teachers, with the goal of equipping them with “cutting-edge skills and modern tools to enhance their abilities and modes of teaching” as well as preparing them to take on leadership roles in schools, colleges and universities. 

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education comprises 14 public universities, which combined enroll the largest number of Pennsylvania residents among all four-year colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. With nearly 100,000 degree-seeking students and thousands more enrolled in certificate and other career-development programs, the State System is a vital contributor to the Pennsylvania economy, generating an estimated $6.7 billion of economic activity annually. Collectively, the State System universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas. The universities have nearly 800,000 living alumni, the vast majority of whom reside in Pennsylvania.
The State System is undertaking a System Redesign, which began last year with a top-to-bottom review of the universities and the Office of the Chancellor. As a result of that review, the Board established three priorities: ensuring student success; leveraging the universities’ strengths; and transforming the System’s governance structure. The Board also affirmed its commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of all 14 institutions within the System so that each may continue to serve students, its region and the Commonwealth. To view regular updates of the redesign, go to www.passhe.edu/taskgroup/Pages/Default.aspx
The State System universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. The universities also operate branch campuses in Oil City (Clarion), Freeport and Punxsutawney (IUP), and Clearfield (Lock Haven), and offer classes and programs at several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and in Center City in Philadelphia.

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), the only statewide organization that serves exclusively the interests of private, non-profit higher education within the Commonwealth, exists to complement and support the work of campus leaders. With a membership of 92 private colleges and universities within Pennsylvania, AICUP serves almost 300,000 students, or 51% of all students seeking four year degrees in PA. 

AICUP provides a variety of services and programs tailored specifically to the needs and situation of private, non-profit higher education. These services include cross-sector research surveys/studies of trends and directions in higher education, and legislative/public policy advocacy in Harrisburg and Washington on issues that matter most to higher education.  AICUP also oversees 27 different collaboration programs, where multiple institutions work together to more efficiently and effectively deliver goods and services to member institutions and students.  For a complete list of AICUP’s member colleges and universities, visit www.aicup.org.