University signs sustainable partnership agreements with Poland

College of Business teams up with Warsaw School of Economics to foster faculty, student exchanges

Elliott Parker, Gov. Brian Sandoval, Mehmet Tosun and Krishna Pagilla in Poland this fall to sign partnership agreements.

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11/27/2017 | By: Anne McMillin |

The University of Nevada, Reno, in conjunction with Gov. Brian Sandoval's office, continues to reach across the globe to create academic and business relationships with the goal of establishing sustainable partnerships for the benefit of the state and the University.

This fall, representatives from the College of Business, accompanied by faculty from the Colleges of Science and Engineering and the Desert Research Institute, joined a delegation from the Governor's Office of Economic Development for a trade mission to Poland that yielded long-term agreements to further education and research opportunities between the state of Nevada and Poland.

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"With more than 15,000 Polish immigrants and 40,000 people of Polish descent calling Nevada home, our special relationship has been strengthened by cultural ties and now I am thrilled to return to Poland to formalize trade and educational opportunities between our two dynamic economies," said Sandoval during the trip in October.

This is the second such trip for University representatives to travel to Poland since negotiations and talks began in 2015.

On this trip, agreements were signed between the College of Business and the Warsaw School of Economics, and between the Nevada Institute of Autonomous Systems and Institute of Aviation in Warsaw.

The Warsaw School of Economics and the University's College of Business, guided by their desire to expand cooperation and an exchange of ideas between scholars and students of both institutions, concluded their five-year agreement on direct scientific and teaching cooperation.

To accomplish this goal, both universities agreed to promote academic collaboration based on their respective academic and educational needs. Initiatives include:

  • Joint research activities and publications 
  • Organization of joint events, seminars, conferences and academic meetings 
  • Exchange of scholars/staff and students 
  • Joint academic programs 
  • Collaboration on entrepreneurship promotion including academic start‐ups' development and exchanges as well as joint acceleration programs 
  • Sharing of good practices in regional economic development, cooperation with local businesses, commercialization strategies and relations with alumni 
  • Exchange of materials and publications of common interest

Elliott Parker, associate dean for undergraduate programs within the College of Business, who also went on this fall's trip to Poland, said the agreement follows other international efforts by the College of Business, creating programs in London, Toronto and Singapore, and signing cooperation agreements with Lanzhou University in China.

Parker said part of the appeal of forming partnerships between Poland and Nevada is that both are geographically located next to larger economic entities (Germany and California, respectively) and that both are seeking to reinvent themselves following difficult economic times.

"Nevada is business friendly with attractive tax incentives and is working hard to elevate the quality of its education programs so our workforce is more attractive to companies coming here. We are trying to re-invent ourselves as the new Nevada. Poland also has had to re-invent itself, in moving from a socialist state to a democratic one."

Mehmet Tosun, chair of economics within the College of Business, said there is great advantage to the partnership between his department and the larger Warsaw School of Economics.

"This agreement gives us visibility in Europe and there is benefit to teaming up with global partners and an elite partner like the Warsaw School of Economics." Tosun explained. "It is special because now we have a formal exchange agreement for students and faculty. It gives us the opportunity to connect with European institutions curious about the American marketplace and offers them the potential for entry into the U.S. market. "

Sandoval and Marshal Sławomir Sosnowski of Poland's Lublin Province also signed a letter of intent for a joint acceleration program bridging Nevada and the Polish region. Lublin hosted the Nevada-Poland Innovation Summit focused on gaming, water technologies, autonomous systems and photonics and fiber optics. Nevada institutions involved in the acceleration program include the University, IGT, DRI and UNLV.

According to Tosun, the joint acceleration program between Nevada and Poland's Lublin Province will have many benefits for both institutions including a compressed timeline for execution, training for Polish firms coming to Nevada, continued exchanges between faculty in 2018 and beyond with plans being developed to create exchanges for students (as early as the 2018-2019 academic year) and the development of videoconferencing capabilities.

"The importance of these agreements is in the visibility it gives us and the benefit to teaming up with a global partner so that we give the impression that Nevada is very much open for business. The Warsaw School of Economics has a good reputation among an elite group of institutions in Europe," Tosun said.

"This could develop into a healthy relationship between Nevada and Poland and the University and the Warsaw School of Economics; there is a lot of interest on their part to work with us," he said.

Parker added that the ultimate goal for the University is to expose its students to the rest of the world and give its faculty the opportunity to teach and connect with their counterparts in other countries.

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