August 24, 2016

Nebraska formalizes link with Thailand university

The University of Nebraska has started to expand academic collaborations with King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Bangkok, Thailand.

While teaching wildlife population analysis in Thailand this summer, Nebraska’s Larkin Powell and George Gale joined Sakarindr Bhumiratana, president of King Mongkut’s University, in the signing of a general memorandum of understanding agreement. The accord continues through 2021 and can be extended as needed.

“It was an honor to represent Nebraska at the signing ceremony,” Powell said. “Their students are very similar to ours, but they are studying tigers and other species with deep, deep conservation concerns in the tropical forests of Thailand. Perhaps more than any other time in my career, I feel like my efforts are benefiting our planet when I provide a course to their students.”

For more than 12 years, Nebraska faculty — including Powell, John Carroll and Drew Tyre — have taught a wildlife populations course at King Mongkut’s University. Each visiting faculty member has put a unique spin on the course, which covers population modeling and analysis of survey and mark-recapture data for wildlife species.

In the agreement, the two universities outline past involvements and a desire to enhance student exchanges between the institutions, including study abroad, short course and graduate programs. The agreement also calls for faculty exchanges to enhance expertise in complimentary areas of interest.

Among common interests is King Mongkut’s University’s involvement in Mekong River initiatives, which meshes with Nebraska’s research on food, fuel and water. Other shared interests listed in the agreement include natural resources management, agriculture, nature conservation, and land and water management.

King Mongkut’s University is the youngest higher education institution in Thailand. It gained autonomy in 1986 and was recently named Thailand’s top institute for research productivity.

Nebraska faculty from biological systems engineering and agronomy and horticulture are already engaging with students and faculty from King Mongkut’s University. The School of Natural Resources has served as a home for a King Mongkut’s faculty member on sabbatical, which resulted in a book co-authored by researchers from both institutions. The School of Natural resources has also hosted its first doctoral student from the Thailand university, while Powell is hosting a second doctoral student this fall.

For more information on the new agreement, click here.