Alfred State College, in conjunction with Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is participating in the Humphrey Fellowship program, which brings to the United States accomplished mid-level professionals from designated countries that have a wide range of development needs.
Institute of International Education (IIE) and the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recently announced a new initiative for the 2007-08 academic year to extend the international perspectives the Humphrey Fellowship Program brings to the current 15 host universities to other institutions of higher education and their local communities through an "Associate Campus Partnership Program." The initiative is intended to create alliances between existing Humphrey host campuses and colleges, universities, or community colleges that serve students who many not have opportunities to work with international visitors, such as the Humphrey Fellows. IIE anticipates that these alliances will benefit both institutions, as well as offer Humphrey Fellows opportunities to engage with faculty, students, and Americans beyond those of their host campuses. (Funding for the program is provided by the US Department of State and the program is administered nationally by IIE.)
Alfred State is the first "pilot" associate campus arrangement for the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program currently hosted by Cornell University. As a designated associate campus, Alfred State is hosting individual and group visits by 2007-08 Humphrey Fellows and, in partnership with the program staff at Cornell University, is arranging a series of professional, social, and volunteer activities on campus and in the rural Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania communities surrounding the campus. In addition, collaborative activity will bring together faculty and staff resources from both institutions, as well as from several other partner institutions representing the public, private, and non-profit sectors, for exploratory discussions, action research, and capacity building related to rural development in the multi-county region of Western New York State and Northern Pennsylvania served by Alfred State.
Alfred State seems especially well positioned to advance the objectives of the Associate Campus initiative: the College has begun a major effort to strengthen its longstanding academic programs in agriculture, emphasizing environmental and economic sustainability and emerging market opportunities for sustainably produced food. The institution strengthening program now under way offers Humphrey Fellows in the fields of agriculture, environmental/natural resource management, and rural development (the fields most commonly represented in the Cornell Humphrey Fellow cohort) an opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways to the conceptualization, implementation and management of applied agricultural research, extension and community development programs by sharing their experience and perspectives with US professionals and community stakeholders.
Clearly, among the most important reasons for this partnership is to enrich the Humphrey Fellowship experience. Fellows are keen observers of American culture and have often commented that people in many upstate New York communities are "different" from those they encounter in Ithaca. The current Fellows enthusiastically endorse the Affiliate Campus idea and have helped with initial conceptualization of the Cornell-Alfred partnership.
Also, both Alfred State and Cornell view the Associate Campus program as a potential catalyst for broadening and deepening their existing collaboration, by drawing upon Cornell faculty and extension staff resources to strengthen the capacity for teaching, applied research, and outreach in agriculture and for assuming a more active role in the community and rural development of the Western New York and North Central Pennsylvania region.
There is yet another benefit: Humphrey Fellows represent a significant pool of talent and experience for agricultural and rural development in New York State and across the region. As the publicly supported Land Grant University for the State of New York, Cornell's mission includes not only teaching and research, but also extension/outreach to citizens and their communities across the state.
Group and individual visits to Alfred will take place throughout the academic year. While the Fellows are in the Alfred area, time for informal interaction with students, faculty, staff, and local citizens will be scheduled. Also, as faculty of a college of technology, Alfred faculty members enjoy strong networks with the farm community and the broader set of organizations, both public and private sector, that comprise the food and agriculture industry. In its affiliate campus role, Alfred will organize opportunities for Fellows to interact with professional counterparts..
Several of the Humphrey fellows, who first visited ASC en masse in August, returned earlier this month to attend Ag Skills competitions, to meet with emeriti faculty from Alfred State, and to be introduced to local farmers in areas of interest to the fellows.
Founded in 1978 in honor of the late senator and vice president, the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program Fellows are nominated by US Embassies or Fulbright Commissions, based on their potential for leadership and a demonstrated commitment to public service in either the public or private sector. The Program fosters an exchange of knowledge and mutual understanding, through which the United States joins in a significant partnership with developing countries. It is a very prestigious program -- only about 150 participants are selected each year from nearly 5,000 applicants worldwide. Cornell hosts Fellows in the fields of agriculture, environmental/natural resource management, and rural development; 14 other leading US universities host Fellows in other fields. The Humphrey Fellowship is a non-degree program.