URBANA, Ill -- Representatives from the National Taiwan University visited the University of Illinois campus in early September to explore teaching and research collaboration opportunities.

At the opening symposium, Bao Ji Chen, NTU's dean of the College of Bioresources and Agriculture, which is NTU's equivalent to the U of I's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, pointed to the many similarities between the two institutions -- both having a similar size student body and number of faculty, as well as a similar approach to the division of departments.

"Sixty percent of our faculty received Ph.D. training in the United States, including two of our delegation members from the U of I," said Chen.

Mary Ann Lila, ACES interim associate dean for research, commented on the importance of seeking out opportunities to collaborate on the international level.

"As we are remembering the terrorist events that occurred in our country five years ago on September 11th, I am convinced that establishing these collaborative efforts is the way to promote harmony in the world."

Lila quoted Julius Caesar as saying "Travel cures superstitions," and Mark Twain as saying, "Travel is fatal to prejudices, bigotry, and small-mindedness."

She said, "I am convinced that reaching out to embrace opportunities in the global arena rather than drawing back is crucial to eliminating intolerance and realizing our common ground."

Lila serves as director of ACES Global Connect, the international arm of the College of ACES.

A faculty member in each of the NTU college's departments presented information on the size and scope of their department as well as the topics covered. Each speaker ended with an invitation to the University of Illinois to send students to study at NTU, pursue a post-doctoral program and continue to collaborate.

ACES Department of Agricultural and Biological and Engineering head K.C. Ting is a graduate of NTU. He reported that his department at the U of I is particularly interested in agricultural automation, energy, and environment. "NTU has a long history of excellence and aspires to further advance their goal of becoming a world premier university. Now is an opportune time for UIUC to be a partner with NTU in mutually beneficial activities," said Ting.

SOURCE: University of Illinois news release.