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UW-Green Bay to host delegation from Peruvian university

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A five-person delegation from the Universidad Nacional de Tumbes in Tumbes, Peru, will arrive in Green Bay this Saturday afternoon (April 14) to begin a two-week stay hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

The visitors are faculty and administrators with the Tumbes institution, which is funding the trip in hopes of gaining insight on higher education in the United States, K-12 education in Wisconsin and this region’s relative success in tackling serious pollution and water-quality issues.

The visit also represents a deepening of ties between the Peruvian university and UW-Green since the schools’ leaders signed a partnership agreement in 2009.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Thomas K. Harden says the collaboration has been beneficial to both institutions. This time, the site visit is primarily a learning opportunity for the educators from Peru.

“They like our capabilities in the natural sciences and water resources,” says Harden, who visited the Tumbes campus earlier this academic year. “Their institution is not quite where we are in terms of having the facilities and technology, but they feel this visit will allow them to see what is possible, that they can lift their aspirations.”

Tumbes is a developing city of about 100,000 in northwest Peru near the Pacific Ocean and the border with Ecuador. UW-Green Bay faculty members who have visited say the Tumbes River, draining a major watershed in northern Peru, faces environmental challenges — pollution and municipal waste — not unlike those that affected Northeast Wisconsin’s Fox River decades ago.

The visitors, with campus interpreters, will attend a major water-resources conference, Green Innovations 2012, taking place Wednesday through Friday (April 18-20) at UW-Green Bay. Included will be tours and an overview of the Fox River cleanup project, Renard Island dredge disposal site, and the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District’s river and bay research vessel.

Later during their visit, the Tumbes delegation will travel to UW-Milwaukee for meetings at the School of Freshwater Studies before continuing on to UW-Madison to learn more about UW Sea Grant and related entities.

Another focus of interest will be K-12 education, especially in reading and the natural sciences. Prof. Diana Miranda Ynga of the Tumbes delegation, for example, will spend a morning at Forest Glen Elementary School in Suamico, an afternoon at the Green Bay offices of the Einstein Project science literacy initiative, and most of another day in Wausau meeting with educators associated with the Wisconsin State Reading Association.

Miranda Ynga is collaborating with Prof. Steven Kimball of the UW-Green Bay Education faculty on a series of bilingual books for young readers. With text in both Spanish and English, each book is intended for use in a learning-to-read curriculum, but the content is also topical and science-related so that children learn reading skills but also develop awareness, for example, of environmental issues in Peru.

UW-Green Bay faculty members including Profs. Derryl Block (Nursing), John Stoll (Public and Environmental Affairs), Kevin Fermanich (Natural Sciences) and Kimball (Education) in recent years have made visits to Tumbes. A joint online course in nursing and special teleconferences have created a “virtual travel course” and afforded students at either end a chance to better understand similarities and differences with regard to cultural perspectives, healthcare practices and related issues.

At least one day during their tightly scheduled visit is set aside for the Universidad Nacional de Tumbes faculty members to guest lecture at UW-Green Bay, sharing observations and answering questions in class sessions dealing with Spanish language, history and culture of their region, or their own areas of specialization. The delegation includes specialists in the fields of education, economics, nursing and environmental health, bio-technology and aquaculture.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Chancellor’s Office is helping to coordinate the itinerary and other details of the visit. Those with questions may contact (920) 465-2207.

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