LSU AgCenter International Programs director David Picha, left, AgCenter Vice Chancellor John Russin, center, and Mendel University rector Ladislav Havel sign a memorandum of understanding.
News Release Distributed 08/14/14
BATON ROUGE, La. – A new exchange program will allow students and faculty from the LSU College of Agriculture and two universities in Slovakia and the Czech Republic to learn about agriculture in each other’s countries.
The cooperation is the result of a recent trip by a delegation of five from the LSU AgCenter and the college to Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic, and the Slovakia University of Agriculture in Nitra. The goal is to have exchanges promote both academic collaboration and cultural immersion, said AgCenter International Programs coordinator Ivana Tregenza.
These exchanges will be the first of their kind, said Leslie Blanchard, College of Agriculture assistant dean. While the AgCenter has research agreements with universities around the world, most of those connections do not include outreach to students.
The exchanges will last about two weeks. Initially, the curriculum will be general agriculture, but specialized tracks could be offered eventually, she said.
LSU agricultural education professor J.C. Bunch is planning to take a group of undergraduates to Slovakia next year, and groups from the two European universities will visit LSU in October.
These exchanges will help the AgCenter expand its reach in Eastern Europe, Tregenza said. The Czech and Slovakian universities offer a high level of research and academics, so the arrangement will be a true partnership, Tregenza said.
At LSU and the AgCenter, visitors will be able to experience Louisiana's culture, see crops like sugarcane that they may be unfamiliar with, and learn about the role of the Cooperative Extension Service in American agriculture.
Faculty at Mendel and SUA are particularly interested in learning how extension works and want to implement some of its principles, Tregenza said.
LSU students and AgCenter faculty will benefit from seeing the differences between American and European agriculture, she said.
David Picha, director of the AgCenter’s International Programs, and John Russin, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor, were also in the delegation.