WPI Signs Academic Cooperative Agreements with Four Asian Universities

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, Mass. -- Realizing the value that a global perspective can give to students and faculty, WPI has signed academic cooperative agreements with four Asian universities. The agreements were signed by the presidents of each of the four universities and WPI President Edward Alton Parrish during a recent Asian trip. Two of the universities are in Thailand and two in the Republic of China.

The Asian universities are the National Taiwan University and Tatung Institute of Technology, both located in Taiwan and the Asian Institute of Technology and Chulalongkorn University, located in Thailand.

"The cooperation agreements could mean the exchange of students across many disciplines between WPI and the four universities," says WPI Provost John F. Carney III. "It will also mean that individual faculty from WPI can engage in research at Asian universities for up to one year and faculty from the four universities will come here. Joint research projects and joint courses of study are expected to be developed. "

An initial three-person team of Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) students will be selected by WPI professor Yi Hua "Ed" Ma of the Chemical Engineering Department for a project at the National Taiwan University beginning in January of 2000. Ma, an alumnus of National Taiwan University, says the WPI team will work on an environmental mudslide problem affecting the construction of residential building on hillsides. "In the future, I'm looking forward to Major Qualifying Projects in chemical engineering there," he says.

The agreements state that the development of academic cooperation will further "mutual interests in the fields of education and research and as a contribution to increased international cooperation." Agreement highlights are:

  • Institutions will cooperate in the exchange of information relating to their activities in teaching and research in fields of mutual interest.
  • Institutions will promote appropriate joint research projects and joint courses of study, with particular emphasis on internationally funded projects.
  • The exchange of undergraduate, master's and Ph.D students may take place for a period of normally one academic year or one term. Students will be accorded the rights and privileges of students in the host country.
  • Academic members may spend periods not normally excluding one year in the other institution.

WPI began an academic relationship with Chulalongkorn University in 1989 with a team of students completing an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP). The agreement with Chulalongkorn and the Asian Institute of Technology was facilitated by M.L. Birahhongse Kasemsri, His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary.

WPI, through its Global Perspective Program, is the most extensive global program of any technological university in the country. Each year, almost 400 students travel to centers around the world to complete projects sponsored by corporations, government, social service agencies, professional organizations, non profit and local, national and international groups.

Additional information about the universities

Chulalongkorn University
Bangkok, Thailand
Chulalongkorn University was founded in 1916 and became Thailand's first university. Since that time the university has grown steadily and remains the country's most prestigious university. Today it has 19 faculties, two graduate schools, two colleges, 13 research institutes, two centers, and three affiliated institutions. University graduates number about 6,000 students each year with degrees ranging from bachelor to doctorate.

Popularly known as Chula, the university has 20,000 students preparing for bachelor, master and doctorate degrees, and 2,500 full-time faculty members.

In recent years, increased collaboration with educational institutions and other organizations outside Thailand has led to an ever-growing number of agreements, currently with more than 50 institutions covering nearly all the world.

University president is Professor Thienchay Kiranandana.

Asian Institute of Technology (AIT)
Pathumthani, Thailand
AIT originated in 1959 to help meet the growing need for advanced engineering education in Asia. In November 1967, under its present name of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), the Institute became an autonomous international institution empowered to award degrees and diplomas.

Presently AIT offers advanced education in engineering, science, planning and management through a range of activities at levels and intensities from doctoral research to short-term training.

The Institute's 160-hectare campus is located 42 kilometers north of Bangkok, Thailand. Here, well over 1,000 students, mostly from Asia, and 200 faculty and international staff, foster advanced technological learning to meet the need for more and better trained personnel for key positions in private and public sectors throughout the region.

Institute president is Professor Charas Suwanwela.

National Taiwan University
The predecessor of National Taiwan University was Taihoku (Taipei) Imperial University, founded by the Japanese in 1928. Following Taiwan's retrocession to Chinese sovereignty, on Nov. 15, 1945, the R.O.C. government assumed the administration of Taihoku University, which was reorganized and renamed National Taiwan University.

The university includes eight colleges, 50 departments, 76 graduate institutes (63 of which offer Ph.D programs) and the evening division. There are 23,000 students.

As the only integrated higher educational institution in Taiwan the university is responsible for both advanced academic research and pedagogics advancement.

The university president is Chen Wei-Jao.

Tatung Institute of Technology (Tatung Tech)
Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China
Tatung Institute of Technology was formally founded in 1956 with funds donated by chairman S.C. Lin, founder and former chairman of the Tatung Company. Since 1956, Dr. T.S. Lin has served as professor, president and chairman of the Education-Industry Integration between Tatung Institute of Technology and Tatung Company. The Tatung's unique Education-Industry Integration Program has made an important contribution to the industrialization of the Republic of China on Taiwan. Tatung Tech student enrollment is 2,500 with a faculty of 37 professor, 78 associate professors, 4 assistant professors, and 71 instructors.

Students are given opportunities to work in the company or factory in order to receive practical training, together with what they have learned in class, effectively prepares them for future careers as engineers and business managers.

Professors engage in basic research and are invited by the company to help develop high quality products. Coperation between Tatung Tech and Tatung Company sets a model for education-industry integration in this country.

Emphasis is on theory and practice with a balance between professional and general education.