New Agreement With University in Finland

Published: December 2, 2014

As a visiting professor in 2012 at Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences in Mikkeli, Finland, Dr. Abey Kuruvilla saw opportunity to connect one of the country's top applied sciences universities with his home campus, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Dr. Kuruvilla is an associate professor in the UW-Parkside Business Department and serves as special assistant for international relations to Chancellor Debbie Ford.
Working with Mikkeli's Head of Business Marja-Liisa Kakkonen, the culmination of Dr. Kuruvilla's vision took place Nov. 25 when a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two institutions creating pathways for student and faculty exchange. 

The partnership enables students from UW-Parkside to study in Finland during a regular semester or choose from a variety of summer course offerings at Mikkeli that engage students from many countries. Six students from Mikkeli will be able to spend a semester at UW-Parkside as part of their graduation requirement. Additionally, the agreement allows the Finnish students to complete their foundation courses during the exchange so they may return to Parkside after earning their degrees and enroll in a graduate program. 

Beyond student opportunities, the partnership creates exchange opportunities for faculty and administrative staff and the development of short-term study abroad programs. The signing ceremony was conducted via web stream during which Chancellor Ford emphasized the importance of addressing higher-education challenges and creating new and meaningful international learning experiences for students. 

Mikkeli University Rector Heikki Saastamoinen said he was proud to add UW-Parkside to his university's impressive list of international partners. Mikkeli and Parkside are similar in size and share common visions and synergies. UW-Parkside Provost Fred Ebeid said the agreement aligns well with Parkside's vision of creating a global classroom for its students in preparation for the 21st century international economy. Dr. Ebeid stressed the success of Parkside's existing partnerships with other countries and the excitement of the first such partnership in Scandinavia. 

Following the signing, Dr. Kuruvilla presented Rector Saastamoinen with a poster titled "Universities United" designed by UW-Parkside art student Nicole Hughen, winner of the Provost's Art Competition Award. Dr. Kakkonen and Dr. Kuruvilla then spoke to students in several Mikkeli classes, sharing the vision of the partnership and encouraging them to apply for the exchange opportunity. 

Chancellor Ford also invited Rector Saastamoinen to visit Parkside in fall 2015 to engage with the broader communities in Kenosha and Racine.  

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