Texas Tech University

Office of International Affairs Awarded $500,000 Department of State Grant

Amanda Castro-Crist

May 13, 2021

International Cultural Center

Texas Tech University will lead a comprehensive, professional development training institute for Ethiopian higher education administrators in collaboration with Oklahoma State University and Ohio State University.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs has named Texas Tech University's Office of International Affairs (OIA) as the recipient of a $502,957 grant as part of its University Partnership Initiative. The funding, which began Oct. 1 and will run through the end of April 2024, will allow OIA to establish the Education Administration Leadership Summer Institute in collaboration with Oklahoma State University and the Global One Health Summer Institute (GOHi) at Ohio State University, during the summers of 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The university partners have worked with the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and Ethiopia's Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE) to design the summer institutes to prioritize and identify the needs of Ethiopian universities aligning with their national priority areas. The U.S. Embassy and MoSHE will identify and select 50 higher education administrators from Ethiopia to train on ways to improve academic leadership and to increase the retention among administrators trained in leadership, management and governance.

The initiative will be led by Sukant Misra, principal investigator of the grant and Texas Tech vice provost for international affairs. The training will be co-facilitated by experienced Ethiopian leaders who have demonstrated success in Ethiopian higher education. U.S. faculty, staff and guest experts will lead interactive sessions.

“This project addresses a critical need of Ethiopia's education sector,” Misra said. “The number of universities in Ethiopia has increased significantly in the last decade, but many of the higher education administrators lack experience and professional development opportunities to effectively lead the nation's ambitious higher education agenda. Our program will improve the management of the education system to increase institution performance and student achievement, one of the six priorities of Ethiopia's Education Sector Development Program.”

Texas Tech has worked with multiple Ethiopian institutions for several years, demonstrating an ability to develop and sustain long-term partnerships in the country while effectively administering leadership development programs. The OIA has hosted two cohorts of The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program, and the university has developed master's and doctoral engineering degrees with a group of Ethiopian universities, led by Jimma University.

Plans for this latest endeavor began in October 2019. Representatives from Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Ohio State, along with delegation members from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Indiana University, met with U.S. Embassy and MoSHE leadership to strategize how the U.S. universities could address specific needs within Ethiopian higher education.

The institute will be held over three summers under the leadership of the OIA's Reagan Ribordy, director for international programs, and Laura Bilbao, associate director of international grants and partnerships. Each summer will include three weeks of training in Ethiopia and the United States, with travel dependent on the global health situation at that time. Training will include experiential living and learning opportunities, real-world applications, team building, conflict resolution and interactive, professional and personal development with designated mentors.

Participants will assess their abilities to apply critical management skills to identify, understand and overcome the challenges of organizational change. They will learn to identify developmental priorities and opportunities for innovation on campus; how to support entrepreneurship and commercialization; and ways to improve government relations. They also will learn to evaluate the impact of new initiatives and alliances; how to create supportive environments for faculty and students; and understand diversity and inclusion in higher education leadership.

The first cohort will participate in the summer institute in 2021. The comprehensive, interactive training program will begin with 3-5 days of in-country virtual training workshops followed by seven days at Texas Tech.

While in Lubbock, participants will observe and analyze research management operations at Texas Tech, a Carnegie Tier One research institution, to learn best practices they can implement at their home institutions to enhance research management capacity. They also will explore interdisciplinary health and agricultural issues, like food safety, and their impact on higher education.

After visiting Texas Tech, participants will spend four days at Oklahoma State and four days at Ohio State before returning to Ethiopia to work on projects related to specific challenges they face at home.

In 2022, the second cohort will complete the institute, with top participants from the first cohort assisting in training the second group. Additionally, all participants from both cohorts will work with mentors assigned from the U.S. partner institutions, and all participants from the first cohort will report on the progress of their projects.

During the final summer in 2023, faculty from each U.S. university partner will offer training workshops at GOHi Addis Ababa for both cohorts and help university administrators establish a mentorship program within their respective institutions. Both cohorts will report on the progress of their projects and receive a certificate from the U.S. institutions, signed by MoSHE.

Misra said he looks forward to working with the other collaborators on the project.

“We are proud of our partnership with Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Ethiopia's Ministry of Science and Higher Education,” he said. “We are confident that the Education Administration Leadership Summer Institute will be a great success.”