The School of Social Sciences has its fair share of visitors these days. This is a much welcomed development, because a good measure of an academic institutions’s worth is when visitors arrive wanting to work collaboratively with it. On SSS’s side, such outside interests must be properly vetted and the capacity made available to entertain them so that benefits from these exchanges could be fairly shared by all.
Earlier in the year SSS was host to a number of international visitors including one for the Indonesian Institute for Scientific Research (LIPI). The latest group of international visitors arrived at SSS on 24 September 2007 from MacQuarie University. It was a group made up of 2 senior lecturers from the Department of Human Geography, Dr. Kate Lloyd and Dr. Robyn Dowling and 7 undergraduates. Their visit to SSS was preceded by an experience of rural life via a homestay visit of several days to Kiulu, made possible with the help of Encik Gaim Lunkapis who is also a PhD candidate in Human Geography at MacQuarie.
Prior exchanges with MacQuarie via email by the Committee for the Internationalisation Programme as well as several internal committee meetings proved essential for making this visit a successful one. Members of the Committee included: Associate Prof. Dr. Fadzilah Majid Cooke, Dr. Ramzah Dambul, Puan Jurry Foo, Encik Oliver Valentin, and Encik Dinik Sylvester. Others who gave their moral support in the background are the Dean of SSS, Dr. Asmady Idris and Dr. Balakrishnan.
The Committee drew up a short and long term list of planned sharing and exchange activities that could be beneficial to all as follows:
• DATA SHARING ON GLOBAL ISSUES , E.G. CLIMATE CHANGE
• INFORMATION EXCHANGE ON INNOVATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH, METHODS AND TECHNIQUES
• STAFF AND STUDENT EXCHANGE
• FELLOWSHIPS FOR SSS STAFF AT MACQUARIE
• TO HOST MACQUARIE STAFF ON SABATTICAL
• SHORT TERM VISITS FOR UNDERGRADUATES
• SHORT TERM ATTACHMENT FOR POST-GRADUATES IN LINE WITH NEW POLICY AT U.M.S OF PROMOTING INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE FOR STUDENTS
• JOINT POSTGRADUATE SUPERVISION
• COLLABORATION THROUGH JOINT RESEARCH GRANT APPLICATIONS, PUBLICATIONS, AND THE HOSTING OF CONFERENCES
What is important is the discovery that MacQuarie shares similar interests with SSS. At the half day dialogue held for the visitors, Dr. Kate Lloyd informed those present that MacQuarie wants a long term relationship with UMS; is very interested in establishing a field school for students; and, in return, wants to welcome SSS undergraduates to share their research facilities in two localities in Australia. The first is in the Northern Territory where students from UMS can learn and observe works being undertaken on Aboriginal Australia. The second is in the Sydney metropolis where SSS students can participate in the experience of research into changes affecting metropolitan life in Sydney.
In the long term, MacQuarie is also interested in joint postgraduate supervision as well as in staff exchange. More importantly, both SSS and MacQuarie will be interested in working towards signing a Memorandum of Understanding. The latter means more detailed (but exciting) work to be undertaken by the Internationalisation Committee at SSS in the near future.
SO,CONGRATULATIONS SSS AND WATCH THIS SPACE.