Serving as the foundation for future collaboration, representatives of Howard University and East Carolina University signed a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions on Oct. 26.
Describing it as “the beginning of a great partnership,” LaKesha Alston Forbes, ECU’s associate provost for equity and diversity, said the MOU had been in the works for more than a year.
“Howard University is a real leader in higher education today,” she said. “This is the beginning of what we hope will be a long partnership.”
The MOU lists four specific areas of focus – potential partnerships in exchange programs for faculty and students; exploring the establishment of a semester-long program for ECU employees and students on Howard’s Washington, D.C., campus; developing pipelines for linking the universities’ undergraduate and graduate programs; and establishing lines of communication to encourage collaboration in research, scholarship, public service and other creative activity.
ECU Provost Ron Mitchelson and Howard Provost Anthony Wutoh said the agreement will benefit both institutions.
“One of the things that is exciting to us,” Wutoh said, “is that we do have a number of programs in common that we can build upon, such as our medical schools, health sciences, business and education. We have a number of areas where faculty and students can collaborate and develop research synergies.”
Wutoh said possible student exchanges and pipeline programs would link Howard’s undergraduate students to ECU’s professional and graduate programs and ECU’s undergraduates to Howard’s.
Both provosts mentioned the differences in campus settings – Howard’s urban location in Washington, D.C. compared to ECU’s rural setting – along with the differences in histories and strengths as a benefit to students and faculty.
The opportunity for administrative collaboration should prove helpful, Wutoh said. Howard is beginning an academic prioritization review, which ECU completed in 2011-12, and Wutoh looks forward to learning from ECU’s process.
ECU’s provost echoed the importance of the opportunities that the MOU provides for both universities.
“The strength of any individual and any university is, at least in part, determined by the strength of its relationships,” Mitchelson said.
Celebrating its sesquicentennial, Howard University is a private, research university composed of 13 schools and colleges, including a law school and medical college, with approximately 11,000 students.