Administration News

Khator receives honorary degree, forms partnership with international University

Khator Honorary Degree

Chancellor and President Renu Khator after receiving an honorary degree from Swensea University. Khator has also formed a partnership through a memorandum of understanding with the University of Zagreb this summer. | Photo courtesy of Kevin Sullivan

Swansea University, a research-led university and winner of UK’s ‘University of the Year’ in 2014, has awarded an honorary degree to University of Houston President Renu Khator.

Khator accepted the award during a graduation ceremony in Wales. Swansea University Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Mike Sullivan said Swansea honorary degrees “are bestowed purely on the basis of merit.”

“Renu has been acknowledged, through the D.Litt (Doctor of Letters), for her intellectual contributions to her discipline and for her success in promoting the University of Houston and its students to new heights,” Sullivan said.

Khator said in a news release that she was “doubly honored to receive this award from Swansea University.”

“It is certainly gratifying for me on a personal level, and it also salutes the collective accomplishments of the University of Houston, which I’ve been so fortunate to lead,” Khator said.

Recently, the University of Houston joined a group of Texas universities to become part of a large-scale partnership with Swansea University. During a visit to Texas, former First Minister of Wales and Chancellor of Swansea University Rhodri Morgan and Swansea University Vice Chancellor Richard Davies signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UH.

“We are very pleased to have entered an agreement with UH,” Sullivan said. “It will facilitate, on a whole institution basis, exchange opportunities for your students and ours to spend a semester or an academic year in their ‘sister’ institution.”

Sullivan said that each university would assist the other in conducting research.

“The idea is that the two universities will choose 10 to 20 research catalysts each from among their faculty,” Sullivan said. “These guys will get together and map out a strategy for joint applications for research grants, in areas around medicine and medical science, the arts and humanities and engineering.”

UH Vice Provost for Global Strategies and Studies Jaime Ortiz said the partnership between Swansea and UH is not new — the schools have been collaborating for several years now, but the MOU has been in the works since April.

“The MOU formalizes the relationship between UH and Swansea University to establish joint programs of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” Ortiz said. “It will create joint research activity and grant applications among members of faculty at both universities, and programs will be developed to encourage and facilitate staff mobility through exchange and sabbatical leave provisions.”

Ortiz said the two universities will work together to create “dual and joint Ph.D. programs” as well as “student mobility plans.”

Other members of the UH faculty have already initiated research-based exchanges.

UH College of Education professor Bernard Robin will present a lecture about the importance of digital storytelling in relation to the healthcare industry entitled “The Use of Digital Storytelling to Support Teaching and Learning (Including in Academic Healthcare Settings)”  in late July at Swansea University.

“I hope that sharing my work in digital storytelling with students and faculty at Swansea University will begin a dialogue about finding ways we might collaborate on future projects that will be beneficial to both of our universities,” Robin said.

UH Graduate School of Social Work Dean Ira Colby said Swansea University has been critical to the research the school is organizing.

“Swansea has organized the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People that focuses on developing the capacity for institutions and children and young people to access their rights,” Colby said. “The Observatory will conduct research, training and conduct policy advocacy around this theme.”

This is not the first time that UH has entered into such a partnership, Ortiz said.

“At all times, the University is assessing the desirability to establish MOUs and delineating the corresponding implementation agreements with institutions all around the world,” he said.

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