WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Dec. 21, 2020 — When the pandemic ends and global travel is again in full swing, West Liberty University will be ready with a new European exchange program.
Established through the College of Arts and Communication and WLU’s International Office, the partnership will create academic exchanges between the Jan Kochanowski University of Kielce (UJK) Poland and WLU.
“We are very excited to provide this experience for our faculty and students. When international travel becomes possible again, we intend to take full advantage of the mobility options between our two schools,” said Dr. Matthew Harder, dean of WLU’s College of Arts and Communication.
According to Dr. Martyna Matusiak, who was instrumental in obtaining the funding, the ERASMUS+ program in the European Union, will enable UJK and WLU to send faculty and students to-and-from each school over the next two years.
All travel and lodging expenses are covered by the grant. WLU Foundation assisted in obtaining the grant and will provide funding toward the international program.
“I want to thank Dr. Harder for helping us establish this partnership with UJK. We look forward to hosting artists and educators as well as providing travel opportunities for our faculty and students,” said Matusiak, who is a native of Poland.
A resident of Wheeling’s Woodsdale neighborhood, Matusiak is an associate professor of art and has been with WLU since 2012.
The arrangement began when she met one of UJK’s faculty members at a print-making conference last year and then went on to exhibit her own work at UJK last winter prior to COVID-19.
“Once the COVID hit, things slowed down but we are now pleased to announce the arrangement as we look forward to the future,” she said.
Also instrumental in the academic cultural exchange program is Mihaela Szabo, WLU’s international enrollment services director and international student advisor.
“Intercultural exchange programs are an important component of academics at the university level, and this new international partnership will provide our students, faculty and staff with unique firsthand opportunities for experiences and learning from a new culture,” said Szabo.
“Exchange participants have much to contribute to their host and home institution, they bring diversity, new perspectives, new skills, facilitate understanding, foster other international work and partnerships. We look forward to hosting faculty and students from Jan Kochanowski University and to share our West Liberty students and faculty with Poland,” Szabo said.
WLU has no students from Poland at this time but welcomed a visiting professor from Poland last spring who taught printmaking classes while Dr. Matusiak was on sabbatical. This type of exchange is one of the benefits of the new arrangement.
Details about the program will be released soon. Please contact Dr. Harder with questions: [email protected].