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UMFK Professor to Visit France As Part of a Faculty Delegation On International Research and Exchange

May 12, 2006


University of Maine at Fort Kent Professor of e-Commerce, Anthony Gauvin, will be part of a University of Maine System (UMS) faculty delegation to visit France from May for ten days to help develop relationships in the area of student and faculty exchange and research.

The 14-member faculty delegation, representing a variety of UMS campuses and educational disciplines, will arrive in Paris on Monday, May 15. Following a one-day orientation in Le Mans, the delegation members will visit with Project Maine-France (PMF) partner universities in Le Mans, Angers, Lille, Nantes, Brest and Paris.

The delegation is the second phase of the PMF pilot initiative. Members of The Faculty Program Development Tour, as the delegation is formally referred known, will meet with French colleagues who share disciplinary specialties and research interests. The purpose of the trip is to take the PMF initiative to its next level by identifying opportunities for student and faculty exchange and research collaboration with partner institutions.

Other goals of the faculty delegation include:

  • Solidifying and celebrating Maine?s long-term relations with France
  • To further refine and expand those relationships
  • To identify potential new ventures and relationships
  • To lay the groundwork for a memoranda of understanding (new, renewed, and expanded) with our partner institutions in France

"I am optimistic about UMFK collaborations with Paris XII, especially in the areas of eCommerce, sustainable rural development, cultural, sport and eco-tourism and natural resource management. These areas fit well with my work and that of colleagues at UMFK," Gauvin said. "I believe that a faculty and student exchange program would bring great value to the UMFK community, especially since we have many bilingual and multilingual students, and Fort Kent is a bilingual community," Gauvin added.

Gauvin said he is especially curious at the use of eCommerce in France given the language and cultural restriction in the country. "I took a quick look at their master's level curriculum in eCommerce and found it to be a bit weak, technically. It compares to what I teach at the undergraduate level at UMFK. I believe that I may be able to help them 'beef up' the technical parts of their curriculum, particularly in the area of security and privacy, he added."

Last year a delegation of University of Maine education leaders, including UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost, visited four universities within a network of universities in the west of France known as the Le Réseau des Universités de l'Ouest Atlantique (RUOA). The network includes nine public, multidisciplinary institutions ranging from 9,000 to 40,000 students offering both undergraduate and graduate level degree programs.

Dr. Cost, University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph Westphal, and University of Southern Maine President Richard Pattenaude visited France for one week last fall concurrent with a trade mission organized by Maine Governor John Baldacci which included state lawmakers and business leaders. The UMS leaders signed agreements between the RUOA institutions and UMS establishing exchange opportunities for collaborative research and other forms of academic cooperation.

Funding for the faculty delegation is borne equally by the faculty member's home campus and UMS.