COLA keeps close ties with well-known US universities

COLA KKU strengthens relationship with well-known US universities and aims for Educational Transformation

From October 13-19, 2019 – The College of Local Administration (COLA) administrators consisting of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Supawatanakorn Wongthanavasu, Dean of COLA; Assoc. Prof. Dr. Peerasit Kamnuansilpa, Advisor to the Dean for Research and International Collaboration; Dr. Sirisak Laochankham, Assistant to the Dean for Research and Academic Services; and Mr. Narong Kiettikunwong, Assistant to the Dean for Academic Affairs, visited the network universities in the United States due to the invitation of these universities. The objectives of this visit were to strengthen long-lasted relationship and develop collaboration further on academic affairs, research, and academic services.     

On October 13, 2019 – COLA-KKU administrators discussed with Dr. Sang Kim, Director of Asian Affairs Center of University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). Dr. Sang Kim is the coordinator between MU and COLA-KKU. With his assistance and coordination of COLA, MOU since 2013 led to curriculum for KKU’s humanities and social sciences research supported by KKU Research Department. This curriculum aims for research theme development, research conducted in the form of partners between lecturers from MU and KKU, practical use, and research publication at international level. Then COLA administrators discussed with Emeritus Prof. Charles Sampson, a senior professor of Truman School of Public Affairs. He taught PhD students of DPA Program at COLA-KKU and was one of coordinators for KKU and MU that have over 10-year history together. The topic for academic textbook in the topic of Comparative Local Government between Thailand and the USA was discussed and prepared. On October 14, 2019, COLA attended the meeting to learn from lecturers and research team of Smart City Research Group, University of Missouri-Columbia. Researchers of various disciplines work at this research group at College of Engineering whose Simulation Lab can test research results before put them into practice. Mostly, the research group is granted by states, national organizations, and private sector. The research themes focus on smart mobility, smart traffic, smart water management, etc. The conceptual framework of smart city conducted by this group focuses on sustainability, and the research have to be able to apply to public or private sector rather than in theory. Receiving research scholarship from Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI), COLA-KKU visited the network universities to study the process that had influence on innovation and digital business development. The project started with big and open data emphasized on 3 pilot smart city – Khon Kaen, Phuket, and Chiang Mai.    

On October 15, 2019 – COLA discussed with Prof. Charles Menifield, Dean of School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers State University of New Jersey—Newark. Besides the dean, there were also administrators consisting of Dr. Gregory Porumbescu and Dr. Pengju Zhang. The topic mainly discussed was Public Administration co-curriculum 3+2 between COLA and SPAA, that is, students will obtain bachelor’s degree by enrolling 3-year course at COLA and master’s degree by enrolling 2-year course in the USA. The MOU for this curriculum is going to be signed in January 2020. Visiting SPAA this time, COLA has collaborated with Prof. Charles Menifield, a well-known public finance expert of the USA, for more than 10 years. He was a lecturer of COLA’s DPA course for PhD students, and now he is Dean of SPAA famous for Management and Leadership.

From October 16-17, 2019, COLA visited University of Michigan at Ann Arbor as invited by Center for Southeast Asian Studies. COLA was invited to join roundtable discussion on October 16 by Center for Southeast Asian Studies. The topic was The Current State of Local Governance, Decentralization, and Politics in Thailand. This session was attended by many participants – scholars, students, and people who were interested in Southeast Asian Studies. Prof. Allen Hicken, a Political Science lecturer and expert on city and governance in Thai as well as Southeast Asian context, started the session. Conducting research in the topic of Local Politics and Governance in Southeast Asia with University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Australian National University, COLA had an opportunity to join the discussion and present initial findings prior to full report, which is going to be presented in the near future.  

On October 17, 2019, COLA discussed with John Ciorciari, Director, International Policy Center; Daniel Ellis, Global Engagement Program Manager; and Tricia Schryer, Recruiting and PPIA Coordinator. The topic discussed was Dual Degree Programs – interdisciplinary and inter faculty courses within Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan. What is obtained from the discussion could be practically applied to COLA’s curriculum, such as, developing interdisciplinary curriculum, developing subjects which are interchangeable to save time for students, creating value added courses by combining with other majors. These ideas could reduce gap between careers in different fields. Instead, they would become more various alternatives for students and train them well before working in public and private sectors. 

On October 18, 2019, COLA discussed with Professor Ronald Tammen, the founder and former Director of Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, College of Urban and Public Affairs (CUPA), Portland State University (PSU). Now he is President of the TransResearch Consortium (TRC) in the USA. He is also an important person that keeps close ties between COLA-KKU and CUPA-PSU. With his collaboration, the MOU of both parties was signed in 2015. Now there are exchange program for lecturers teaching DPA which is co-curriculum for PhD students, workshop for Smart City Development, co-host at international symposium on GPML, connecting COLA to Public Administration community including the USA, China, and Japan. The objectives of this discussion were to 1) review and refresh collaboration between two institutes and prospective projects; 2) develop co-curriculum for bachelor’s and master’s degree (3+2) with PSU; and 3) discussing about inviting Prof. Tammen and lecturers from PSU to be Organizing Committee for international symposium on Local Governance in Phuket in 2020.

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News/ photos: Dr. Sirisak Laochankham 

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