News for NMU Employees

Brazilian Program Funding Repurposed

An NMU student exchange program with two Brazilian universities ended earlier this year, but NMU has received an extension to use the remaining $50,000 from a U.S. Department of Education grant program to explore new collaborative initiatives in the country. Kevin Timlin (International Programs) said the funding, unspent by another U.S. university because of low student participation, will be repurposed. It will support NMU delegation visits to Brazilian universities, faculty/staff developmental grants and on-campus events that promote Brazilian culture.

Through the DOE program, Northern developed active partnerships with two institutions: Federal University of Lavras (UFLA), which has a reputable business program and is located in Brazil’s “coffee-producing capital”; and the Federal University of Rural Amazonia (UFRA), which specializes in fisheries, biology and environmental sciences.    

“We had a very successful summer program with MBA students from UFLA  here this summer,” Timlin said. “To build on that and the past exchanges, David Rayome (Business) and I will travel to UFLA in order to strengthen  that relationship. We are in a good position to develop collaborative opportunities related to faculty and student exchanges, joint research, and dual-degree programs. Another delegation composed of Jill Leonard (Biology), Susy Ziegler (Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences) and I will travel to UFRA to investigate similar opportunities related to their disciplines.”

Developmental grants worth $30,000 also have been awarded. A campus-wide request was sent out last April for proposals to develop new collaborative initiatives between NMU and Brazilian partners. Jim Cantrill (Communication and Performance Studies) will pursue a multi-faceted project related to climate change, the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympiad and cross-cultural environmental communication studies. J.D. Phillips (Mathematics and Computer Science) will perform collaborative algebra-related research with a Brazilian colleague. Rachel Harris (Center for Student Enrichment), Hugo Eyzaguirre (Economics) and Mitchell Klett (Education, Leadership and Public Service) will take an exploratory trip to establish collaborations in economics and academic service learning. While there, Harris also will look into new student volunteer service abroad programs at a sea turtle refuge and in Amazon River communities.

“Northern has played a lead role in the U.S. Department of Education’s grant program, which has been in effect since 2009,” Timlin added. “It is titled ‘Brazilian and U.S. partnership for people, planet and profits: Fostering socially, environmentally and sustainable entrepreneurship.’ We received permission to repurpose any unspent funds toward new initiatives, as long as they contribute to one or more of the original program objectives. These developmental grants, delegation visits and the on-campus activities still to be planned fall in line with the intent of the program. We look forward to expanding on the relationships already established in Brazil.”