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Mount Kenya University in academic partnership with US university

By AUGUSTINE ODUOR and ALLIE HINGA | September 1st 2016

Mount Kenya University has signed an academic partnership with Clarke University of the United States of America.

The agreement shall see MKU students undertake exchange programs with the Catholic college in Dubuque, Iowa, USA.

A statement by MKU says that Clarke has partnerships with other universities that would allow Kenyan students exchange opportunities in various countries around the world.

Clarke's vice president for academic affairs Susan Burns said the university already has agreements allowing for student exchanges in Ireland and Denmark.

"This deal opens the world up to MKU students and this is what it boils down to," said Burns.

MKU founder and chairman Dr Simon Gicharu said the university stands to benefit a lot from the USA University.

"The goal of the partnership is to develop student and faculty exchanges, as well as to develop research collaborations and classroom exchanges," he said.

Gicharu said MKU is a fast growing university that requires strategic partnerships.

"We are only 20 years old, so it is important to learn from a school like Clarke. My work is to provide the leadership and to make sure the resources are there to make it happen," said Gicharu.

Burns said the university is also keen to expose their students to the global world.

"We are very interested in our students being globally and inter-culturally engaged, so it gives our students the opportunity to learn more about themselves and others," Burns said.

Donna Anderson, director of international programs at the university said having students from other countries on exchange, results into strategic friendships with Clarke students.

"They are helping internationalize our campus. We live in a world that is so connected and interconnected that (students) have to be aware of who they are in the context of the larger world," Anderson said.

Director of international student services and study abroad, Phyllis Garfield, said the university is part of a consortium of schools in the U.S, Europe and Russia, through which teachers and students can study abroad.

"I think any time that we add different voices and different experiences to our university, then that's going to make the experience of our domestic students better, as well as our international students," said Garfield.

The officials spoke when representatives from MKU visited Clarke University last week.

Clarke University is a liberal arts and sciences university, established in the year 1843.

It was chartered by the State of Iowa in 1910 and first accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1918.

The institution was named Clarke College in 1928 and in 2010 became Clarke University.

Currently it has 30 undergraduate and 6 graduate programs, including a best-in-class adult education program.

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