Global Programs Advisory Committee (GPAC) Spring 2019 Meeting Minutes

Thursday, January 31st, 2019


Allen Davis, Leonard De La Fuente, Mark Dougherty,Henry Fadamiro, Valentina Hartarska, Xing Ping Hu, Tung-shi Huang, Gobena Huluka, Wayde Morse, Brenda Ortiz, Wilmer Pacheco, Alicia Powers, Kelly Pippin, Dennis Shannon, Mollie Smith, Karen Veverica Yifen Wang, Amy Wright

Introductions and Term of service

  • Yifen Wang called the meeting to order at 9:03 AM
  • New member introduction: Russell Muntifering (ANSC) and Mollie Smith (SFAAS)
  • Dennis Shannon’s (CSES) role as the GPAC chair ended in September 2018 according to the Bylaws; Yifen Wang (BSE) was elected as the new chair for an initial 1-year term with a possibility of extending for another year – unanimous approval.
  • Karen Veverica (SFAAS) will be retiring as of February 28, 2019; she will be working as an independent contractor for projects that are in her areas of expertise.
  • Updated Bylaws – unanimous approval; revision date: 01/31/2019.

New Business/Action Items

Study Abroad:

  • Valentina Hartarska (AERS), OGP and AU Abroad Office are working together to renew the 1:1 Exchange Agreement with FĂ©dĂ©ration des Ecoles SupĂ©rieures d’IngĂ©nieurs en Agriculture (« FESIA ») in France. Our French partner would like to broaden our current area of cooperation (1:1 exchange program) to a college level. As the faculty leader for this program, Valentina will gauge interest within the college later this year.
  • Wayde Morse (Forestry) just returned from his study abroad trip in Barcelona, Spain. This trip offers 6 credit hours and is a result of college collaboration.

Faculty Abroad:

Some faculty members have received partial travel support (dollar amount) from the Office of Global Programs last year (please refer to OGP’s report for more details); the college encourages and continues to support faculty travel abroad for research, education and outreach activities. Please email Kelly Pippin at kzp0025@auburn.eduif you would like to request travel support from the college.


3+2/3+1 Programs; College-level general MOU(s):

Refer to OGP’s Spring 2019 report (online) to find recently signed/renewed MOUs.


Working groups:

  • Wilmer Pacheco recently traveled to Cuba to conduct a training to local technical staff under the World Poultry Foundation funds. During his stay, he met with three Cuban governmental officials and developed a rapport with them. According to the Cuban officials, the process of getting an academic visa should be getting easier in the near future.
  • Kelly Pippin will be conducting interviews with Joseph Giambrone and Wilmer Pacheco in order to promote their work in Cuba on the OGP website.
  • Brenda Ortiz commented that the visa situation limits the type of works she can conduct/develop in Cuba.


Comments/updates from members:

  • On behalf of other GPAC members, Chair Yifen Wang requested clarification on the leadership and office structure of the OGP.
  • Brenda Ortiz and Valentina Hartarska commented that conducting international agricultural work requires additional time and energy, and advised that it is reasonable to count international works into a Faculty Activities Report as a reward to the time and energy dedicated to these activities. Yifen Wang furthered the conversation by giving an example of a China research project – if a grant is not transferred to Auburn University like the way USAID, NSF and FAS grants do, but only used to support AU faculty efforts overseas, is it reasonable for the department and college to count these international activities? Each Ag department might have their own opinion on this kind of situation. So, college should make it consistent.
  • Henry Fadamiro reinstated the rationale behind the current faculty performance evaluation – International activities should tag along or be incorporated to a faculty’s current teaching, research, extension and outreach assignments. If a faculty member receives a large grant, which requires a high level of engagement to international activities, he/she can request to adjust responsibilities within the department and the college, for example, increase research and decrease teaching.
  • Dennis Shannon gave further background on the history of Auburn University international engagement and a few pioneers from the College of Agriculture and the Provost Office who initiated and led international projects. Dennis stressed that in order to increase our college’s international profile, it is critical to have a leader who has the skill sets (and full time?)to go out and win projects and grants for us. Counting solely on faculty-led projects might not be enough. He also shared his earlier experience of working on USAID projects with the committee.
  • Valentina Hartarska commented that the culture of recognizing international work/activities might change as the departmental leadership changes, but it is important that this culture is adopted and nourished at the college and university levels.
  • Henry Fadamiro pointed out that it is true that departments may not value international activities the same way. From an administrative point of view, having a grant or fund coming to the university versus an individual faculty member getting funds to do overseas work are two different approaches.
  • Allen Davis commented that international works are often recognized and rewarded by SFAAS because of its history of international engagement and the nature of the work. We, as a college, still need to do more to increase our international activities profile, as we are responsible for letting younger generation recognize international works and its value. He also pointed out the fact that some international projects and activities do not result in an output for the university.
  • Brenda Ortiz and Valentina Hartarska wondered if GPAC, as an active group, could make recommendations to the college and the University for International activities to be recognized and rewarded. Raise these issues with the Committee for Strategic Internationalization at university level. (Valentina is a member of that committee.)