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FHSU expands academic and cultural reach





Fort Hays State University is extending its reach to Africa with the newest 2+2 agreement.

FHSU and International Institute for Higher Education in Morocco recently signed a transfer agreement and articulation guide, allowing IIHEM students to take the first two years at their home university in Morocco and the last two years at FHSU.

The international 2+2 program is similar to working domestically with community colleges, but students graduate with a dual degree.

Students will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in civil, industrial and software and network engineering from IIHEM and a bachelor of science degree in information systems engineering from FHSU.

"An FHSU degree will enable them to join a graduate program in the U.S. and gain experience in the U.S.," said Houssain Kettani, director of information systems engineering, "which is beneficial if they choose to go back to Morocco as that nation is moving slowly away from the French system towards the American system. If the students choose to remain in the U.S., they will reduce the shortage in engineering graduates that our nation faces."

Kettani visited several Moroccan universities in December in order to grow his department.

"(Kettani's) program needs more students," said Cynthia Elliott, assistant provost and dean of distance learning. "So the opportunity to bring these Moroccan students would be very beneficial to the program."

Elliott hopes this program will help diversify campus.

"Diversification is one of the goals of the university," she said. "This is our attempt to diversify and increase enrollment for information systems. Hopefully it will be a win-win agreement for Morocco and FHSU."

The program is set to begin in the fall semester, and first semester enrollment is predicted to be minimal.

"If we could start with three to five students, we will be very pleased," Elliott said. "It will be really small."

FHSU has 2+2 agreements with nine international universities.

"The idea is excellent, and we hope that it can be broadened to cover more programs at FHSU," Kettani said. "The success of the agreement however, will be measured in the number of students that will take advantage of it. That in turn will help us develop more agreements."