A small, private university in eastern Romania and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore have signed an agreement to explore academic and cultural exchanges between the two institutions.

Dr. William B. Harvey and Dr. Heidi M. Anderson

Danubius University’s Dr. William B. Harvey, the first African American appointed leader of a European institution of higher education, visited UMES for a Thanksgiving-week signing ceremony where he was joined by President Heidi M. Anderson and campus leadership.

“One of our core goals at UMES is to produce graduates who are culturally and internationally aware, so our partnership with Danubius is one more step in that direction,” Dr. Anderson said.

Located in Galati, a port city of 286,000 on the renowned Danube River, Danubius has embraced an aggressive strategy of burnishing a reputation as “an international university that bridges the West and the East,” a tagline on its stationary says.

The agreement signed by Dr. Anderson and Dr. Harvey outlines a framework to guide leaders from both schools in work to establish exchange programs for undergraduates and graduate students as well as faculty, and collaborating on research.

The Association of Public Land-grant Universities’ international office helped Danubius this past spring make the connection with UMES, one of the nation’s 19 historically Black land-grant institution, as is North Carolina A&T University, where Harvey was dean of its School of Education.

Dr. Moses Kairo, dean of UMES’ School of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, represented UMES in mid-September on a fact-finding trip to Galati, where he attended an international conference on the impact of COVID-19 as well as met with a leading agriculture science official.

Kairo reported back to Anderson that he found Galati to be a vibrant eastern European city where English is widely spoken and said Romania “offers many contrasts (that) would provide a good basis for exposure (to) students.”

Danubius, with roughly 3,000 students, offers seven bachelor’s degrees – including “commerce, tourism and services” and “accounting and information technology management” – as well as master’s programs in such areas as criminal sciences, business management in commerce and tourism and security management in international relations.

Harvey was named Danubius’ chief executive officer – or “rector,” in European higher education job terminology – in January and maintains an office in Washington, D.C.  He has taught or served as an administrator at such institutions as the University of Virginia, Stoney Brook (N.Y.) University, North Carolina State and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  He has emerged as a leading voice who has pushed the higher education sector to focus on cultural and social factors affecting underserved populations.

Among the possibilities UMES and Danubius will explore are joint degree programs, ways to collaborate on best practices in teaching, assessment and institutional management and sharing technology expertise.

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