John S. Russin
The LSU AgCenter has enjoyed much historical success with capacity-building projects around the world. Our researchers, educators and students have labored to innovate, educate and improve lives for citizens not only of Louisiana and the United States but also those of emerging countries. Fittingly, these international programs largely have been supported by competitive federal and private sector initiatives.
Changing federal funding strategies, coupled with increased need for value return to Louisiana, have highlighted the importance of sustained program development in selected, strategic global regions.We believe that regionally focused programming that plays to our strengths and leverages our private sector and diplomatic relationships will enable development of comprehensive, rewarding partnerships with key universities and companies.
The LSU AgCenter Global Network, formerly the Office of International Programs, will showcase the international components of our four-fold mission (teaching, research, extension and economic development) within a growing network of strategic university and private sector partners. Further, we will serve LSU faculty, staff and students who have interest to work and study internationally. The following new vision and mission statements will guide toward our goals.
VISION:Louisiana State University will become the premier U.S. University in Central and Eastern Europe and Central America and the Caribbean Basin for agriculture and related sciences.
MISSION:We will develop enhanced international opportunities for faculty, students and staff; leverage partnerships for improved value return to LSU and Louisiana; cultivate opportunities for international research and technology development; and recruit international students and scholars at all levels.
Program activities will focus on growing the strongest possible partnerships in two target regions: Central and Eastern Europe and Central America and the Caribbean Basin. Partnership efforts will bring opportunities to LSU faculty, staff and students and engage industry and embassy partners to promote value return to Louisiana.
In recent years, we have leveraged our strengths to craft a network of international partnerships that we believe will establish LSU as the premier U.S. university in these targeted regions. Successes achieved thus far arise from our unique approach to capacity building. Like many universities, we train international undergraduate and graduate students to lead 21st century initiatives in agriculture, food, natural and renewable resources and the environment. But we take these foundational programs a step further. We work alongside current and emerging university leaders to provide mentorship and training in areas that will be key for relevance and engagement in their respective regions of the world.
Our efforts will be multifaceted and include joint research and technology projects, administrative mentoring and capacity building, student and faculty exchanges, and appropriate private sector partnerships that we will leverage to develop opportunities for international internships that will produce a globally engaged workforce. We will focus further on recruitment of LSU undergraduate and graduate students for study abroad programs and internship and practical training opportunities. Long-term goals also include dual degree programs with selected partner universities based on mutual academic interests.
We will internationalize the LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture through strategic reciprocal partnerships and to establish our identity as the premier U.S. university in Central and Eastern Europe and Central America and the Caribbean Basin for agriculture and related sciences.
John S. Russin is the director of the LSU AgCenter Global Network.
This article appears in the spring 2018 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.