Monday, February 24, 2014

UNC Charlotte Honored for Long-Standing, International Partnership

By Latricia Boone

UNC Charlotte has received the University of Cantabria (UniCan) Gold Medal award in recognition of the success of its long-standing partnership with the university. The ceremony was held in Spain on January 27, where the UNC Charlotte Provost Joan Lorden, along with a small delegation, traveled to accept the award on behalf of the University.

“I would like to express our sincere appreciation for this wonderful recognition,” said Provost Lorden. “Campus internationalization and exchange partnerships contribute significantly to our mission and to be recognized in this way from one of our oldest exchange partners is a special honor.”

Provost Joan Lorden accepts a Gold Medal in Spain.
The Gold Medal award is an honor of distinction, which UniCan gives to only one group or individual annually, recognizing an entity that has had an enormous impact on their campus. The award was presented by Teresa Susinos Rada, Vice Rector for Internationalization of the University of Cantabria. The Gold Medal awarded to the University  of North Carolina at  Charlotte  is to show  recognition  of the values of responsibility, solidarity and partnership in International  Relations, allowing a fruitful exchange between  geographically  and culturally  distant institutions, but institutions which are close in their interests and objectives,” said Rada. “This medal symbolizes these principles and it does so by embodying them in this institution, with which we have been maintaining long and invaluable bilateral relations.”

Provost Lorden was joined by Robert Johnson, Dean of the College of Engineering; Sheri Spaine Long, Language and Culture Studies; and Joël Gallegos, Assistant Provost for International Programs. Gallegos, who is very proud of the successful relationship that has been established between UNC Charlotte and UniCan, says the partnership underscores the importance of building strong international linkages. “Our international partnerships play such a critical role in the comprehensive internationalization of UNC Charlotte,” he said. “This special recognition highlights the value of our network abroad as well as our institutional footprint.”          

The University of Cantabria is one of UNC Charlotte’s oldest exchange partners, with more than 25 years of collaboration between the two institutions. Over the life of the partnership, more than 500 students from North Carolina have enjoyed the opportunity to study on the campus of UniCan, while also exploring the rich cultural heritage of Spain.

The University of Cantabria is a long-standing exchange partner.
Early on, the institutional exchange focused primarily on the semester in Spain program, which enables students at institutions across the UNC system to travel to Spain and study. Past engagement has included a successful collaboration between UniCan and the UNC Charlotte Colleges of Engineering and Arts + Architecture whereby students from Civil Engineering and Architecture would spend a summer in Spain working on a collaborative project.  UNC Charlotte faculty have also enjoyed the benefits of the Universities’ collaboration, serving as resident directors and spending an academic year at UniCan.

Today, the partnership is celebrated through bilateral exchanges between academic disciplines with a goal to proactively pursue engagement and research in areas such as Business Administration, Civil Engineering, Education, and Languages and Culture Studies.

Currently, there are a total of 18 students from six UNC system schools -- six from UNC Charlotte -- studying in Spain, as part of the exchange. According to Gallegos, UNC Charlotte is in discussion with UniCan about the possible expansion of the partnership.
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Latricia Boone, a member of the Office of Public Relations, is communications director for the colleges of Education and Health and Human Services.

Friday, February 21, 2014

PORTAL Harnesses the Power of UNC Charlotte

By Jared Moon

With the doors to the University’s newest building officially open, local media was invited to tour the newly minted PORTAL building for a first-hand look at the building and what it has to offer.

A marriage of vision and practicality, PORTAL—an acronym for Partnership, Outreach and Research to Accelerate Learning—is a $35 million facility designed to be a central hub for industry, academia and research, providing a place to connect the campus and the community for economic development. Robert Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development, and Paul Wetenhall, president of Ventureprise, UNC Charlotte’s business incubator, spoke with a cohort of journalists (representing the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Business Journal, WSOC-TV, TWC News 14 and Fox Carolinas) about the University’s commitment to economic development through collaboration with the business community and how PORTAL is a visible embodiment of that commitment.

Vice Chancellor Robert Wilhelm briefs media on the research and collaboration attributes of PORTAL.
The media tour got started in the building’s vast, contemporary atrium that possesses a more business friendly atmosphere, rather than academic. 

The space is designed to promote interaction and collaboration among tenants and visitors, and innovate by enabling academic, corporate and entrepreneurial communities to interact.

The atrium is surrounded by offices and meeting rooms, and features two conference rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass walls that serve as bridges spanning the upper levels of the atrium.

Driving MBA is a PORTAL tenant whose technology teaches safe driving.
Winding through the four-story, 96,000-square-foot building, the tour showcased the ample conference and seminar space available to tenants; a café that stimulates connections and eliminates the need to leave for lunch; roughly 25,000 square feet of office space for 20-24 young companies within Ventureprise (also housed in PORTAL), which also includes a student business incubator; and roughly 20,000 square feet on the fourth floor for corporate partners with substantive research and training collaborations.

Also calling PORTAL home is the Office of Technology Transfer, the University entity that identifies, protects and commercializes University research and intellectual property.  The office is one of the country’s best in putting intellectual capital to work. Considering the external orientation of PORTAL, the Office of Technology Transfer is a natural fit.

PORTAL will be officially dedicated Friday, Feb. 28.

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Jared Moon is communications coordinator in the Office of Public Relations.