Academic journal article NACTA Journal

International Infectious Disease Management: A Case Study of Internationalizing Curricula

Academic journal article NACTA Journal

International Infectious Disease Management: A Case Study of Internationalizing Curricula

Article excerpt

Abstract

Global perspectives in agriculture are critical to the safety of food and agricultural resources, trade and consumers globally, yet very few opportunities exist for their study. North Dakota State University and Makerere University in Uganda responded to this need by developing a joint Master of Science and Graduate Certificate in International Infectious Disease Management and Biosecurity in 2011. The program requires completion of 30 credits with core courses offered jointly by both institutions. The program is innovative, learner-centered, with student engagement, empowerment and responsibility. There is interdisciplinary learning, problem-based learning and service learning, with cross pollination of teaching methods from both institutions. Graduates of this program will have a better understanding of international agricultural, animal health and biosecurity issues, making them much more viable in today's competitive job market. This unique program within the US and African educational systems is the first US-Africa trans-Atlantic degree addressing integrated disease management and international biosecurity. The following components of the aforementioned program will be discussed: program development; overview of the program; successes; challenges faced; opportunities; and recommendations for the way forward in internationalizing curriculum on two campuses across continents.

Introduction

An increasing interdependence among the nations of the world poses important challenges for today's scientists and policy makers. Foodsecurity, transboundary pandemics and bioterrorism are just a few of the global problems that face all nations, yet globalization of research and education has failed to keep pace with these challenges. An international solution is required for this global need. North Dakota State University (NDSU) Department ofVeterinary and Microbiological Sciences in partnership with the Faculty ofVeterinary Medicine at Makerere University (Mak), Kampala, Uganda developed collaboration to enhance the international content of college curricula and promote globalization of research and education with the intent of providing a globally engaged workforce of scientists. As a first step in this collaboration, NDSU and Mak developed a summer abroad course in 2007, International Animal Production, Disease Surveillance and Public Health. The summer course involves international travel to Uganda for four weeks of experiential learning on topics related to tropical animal production systems; animal health; national control of zoonoses and epidemics/epizootics; biosurveillance and biosecurity; public health practice; and food safety in the tropics in contrast to the US (Ekiri et al., 2013). As a direct result of the success of this initial interaction, NDSU and Mak were awarded a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Higher Education Challenge grant in 2008-2011 to develop a joint Master of Science (MS) degree in International Infectious Disease Management and Biosecurity.

The MS program is designed for students from any university in the US, Africa or other parts of the world who hold a bachelor's or professional degree with a background in biological, health and related sciences. Persons who do not currently have a background in biological sciences would be eligible for the program after completion of appropriate pre-requisite course work. Students from the US enrolled in the MS program are required to spend time in Uganda to complete the core course, International Animal Production, Disease Surveillance and Public Health. United States and Ugandan students are required to complete at least two practicum credits (one semester) at the partner institution. The strength of the program draws upon faculty at Makerere and research opportunities in Uganda, which complement faculty expertise and research resources at either University. The ongoing collaborative scholarly activities are instrumental in building a foundation for a true partnership. …

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